Retrospective study of causes of animal mortality in Ljubljana Zoo 2005–2015
Zoos harbor large collections of diverse species, aiding in both conservation and education, as well as research in multiple scientific fields. However, the most common causes of death in zoo animals around the world remain unclear because few extensive reports or reviews are published on this topic. This information could greatly improve preventive veterinary medicine in zoologic gardens. This study provides a retrospective overview of the causes of death of animals from the Ljubljana Zoo in the years 2005-2015. During this period, a total of 353 animals were submitted for necropsy, of which 244 were mammals, 85 were birds, and 25 were reptiles. The causes of deaths were divided into infectious diseases (38%), dysfunctions of individual organs (20%), traumas (13%), parasitosis (7%), reproductive disorders (6%), metabolic disorders (3%), neoplastic disease (4%), and intoxications (4%). In some cases, the cause of death was unable to be determined (7%), most commonly because of autolysis of the body. The results of this retrospective study bring a general overview of the epizootiologic situation in the Ljubljana Zoo over an 11-yr period and valuable information to other zoos to optimize preventative plans and diagnostics.