Treatment of Mycobacteriosis caused by Mycobacterium Avium ssp. Hominissuis in a Group of Captive Lowland Tapirs (Tapirus Terrestris)

Tapirs are a taxonomic group with a high susceptibility to mycobacterial diseases. However, successful therapy has only been documented sporadically. Here treatment of mycobacteriosis diagnosed in three, one male and two female, lowland tapirs (Tapirus terrestris) in a zoo in Germany is reported. Two of the animals showed chronic mild respiratory signs, and conventional therapy did not improve the condition. Culture of broncho-alveolar lavage (BAL) samples was positive for Mycobacterium avium ssp. hominissuis. Upon airway endoscopy, bronchial edema and increased mucus production were visible. Initially, all three infected tapirs received oral antimycobacterial therapy consisting of 5 mg/kg body weight isoniazid, 10 mg/kg rifampicin, and 10 mg/kg clarithromycin q24h. Based on therapeutic drug level monitoring, the doses of rifampicin were adjusted to 12 and 15 mg/kg in the females and the male, respectively. The treatment with all three drugs was continued for 11 mon. Six months into treatment, the clinical condition resolved, and repeated BAL samples of all three tapirs tested negative for mycobacteria by culture. Here the approach for a treatment protocol with minimal side effects suitable to control infections with nontuberculous mycobacteria in lowland tapirs is reported.



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