The main goal of this project is to routinely monitor blood pressure values of bonobos using a finger cuff system. To date, there are no known reference range values for normal bonobo blood pressure. By collecting consistent blood pressure readings over a 2-year period, we hope to be able to use the dataset to establish normal reference range values for bonobos.

A second goal of this project is to monitor the blood pressure of bonobos that are receiving medication for suspected hypertension and heart disease. We expect to see a decline in blood pressure values in bonobos receiving cardiac medications. By monitoring changes in blood pressure values over time, we can assess the efficacy of the treatment plan and determine the best medication doses.

The proposed study is based on a pilot study at the Milwaukee County Zoo. The Milwaukee County Zoo (MCZ) began training bonobos for “awake” blood pressure monitoring in 2011. MCZ has been using a PetMap™ Graphic blood pressure monitoring device to collect finger blood pressures from their bonobos. Finger blood pressure measurement in bonobos has correlated well to arm and shin blood pressures taken while bonobos are under anesthesia, which shows that finger cuffs can be as accurate as the more standard cuff placement locations. Finger blood pressure measurements have been used to help identify bonobos at MCZ with elevated blood pressure readings and has also been used to help monitor bonobos on treatment with ACE-inhibitors.

Based on a few pilot cases at MCZ, the PetMap™ Graphic device has the potential to be a useful and reliable tool for monitoring blood pressure in bonobos. For this reason, the Great Ape Heart Project (GAHP) has expanded MCZ’s initial pilot work to all bonobo-holding institutions in the United States with funding support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (NLG: MG-30-15-0035-15).

To read our complete protocol: GAHP Bonobo BP Protocol 2016 (pdf)

Download our data collection form: Bonobo_BPSubmissionForm.doc

View our training video:

The video is also available on YouTube:

Read more about the PetMap™ Graphic Finger Cuff Device which is sold by CardioCommand: Pet Map Manual (pdf)