Ring-tailed lemur, Lemur catta
Born: ~February 2011
Arrival: 30 March 2014
Death: 27 September 2016
When Peanut was surrendered to the Prosimian Sanctuary she was critically ill with chylothorax, a condition in which fluid from the lymphatic system fills the chest cavity, compromising the heart and lungs. Veterinarians believe her condition was caused by trauma when Peanut attacked her owner’s husband and he defended himself by hitting her with a broom. Extensive treatment by EPF veterinarians, including two ultrasound guided thoracentesis procedures, saved her life.
Like all legitimate sanctuaries, we do not knowingly allow animal residents to reproduce; however, on July 1, 2016, Peanut unexpectedly gave birth to a female infant subsequently named “Oops”. This was the result of being misinformed about a male Ring-tailed lemur having been vasectomized. Despite the disappointment of having an accidental birth, we were delighted that Peanut was doing a fabulous job as a mother. Nursing and protecting an infant appropriately is often not observed in lemurs from the pet trade, most of which are hand-reared and thus don’t develop good maternal or social skills.
About a week after the birth of Oops, Peanut developed a recurrence of chylothorax. Thoracentesis was performed four times over two months, but Peanut was not recovering like she did in 2014. The fluid kept returning quicker each time it was drained.
On 18 Aug 16, CT scans indicated that Peanut’s chylothorax may be linked to her lactation, so it was decided to try stopping her lactation. While veterinarians worked to stabilize Peanut and run further diagnostics, Prosimian Sanctuary personnel took over the care of Peanut’s infant. Peanut had a chest tube in place so that the fluid could be drained every few hours. As her milk production slowed, so did the amount of fluid drawn out of her chest. After a 5 day hospital stay, she returned to the Prosimian Sanctuary.
Peanut continued to improve over the following 2 weeks, but then began to have respiratory issues again. Another exam revealed more fluid in her chest, which was removed once again. Peanut's prognosis became grave. The only treatment option left was an invasive and complex surgery to reroute her lymphatic system, which did not carry a high likelihood of success. With input from Peanut's multiple veterinarians, the difficult decision to euthanize her was made. The compassionate care we provide as lemur care professionals includes giving Prosimian Sanctuary residents a dignified and peaceful end without suffering.
Peanut's closest companion, Layla, became a foster mother for Oops, and they continue to reside together at the Prosimian Sanctuary.