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Effects of Implanted Radiotransmitters on Captive Mourning Doves

John H. Schulz, Alex J. Bermudez, James L. Tomlinson, Jeffre D. Firman and Zhuoqiong He
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 62, No. 4 (Oct., 1998), pp. 1451-1460
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3802012
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3802012
Page Count: 10
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Effects of Implanted Radiotransmitters on Captive Mourning Doves
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Abstract

Previous mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) telemetry studies using transmitter glue attachment have found the technique to be relatively short term (<10 weeks), and that transmitter harnesses possibly have deleterious effects on doves. To improve attachment methods, we developed and refined surgical techniques for implanting subcutaneous and intra-abdominal radiotransmitters with external whip antennas in mourning doves, and we determined physiological and pathological responses to the transmitter implants. We used a captive colony of 200 wild-trapped mourning doves to develop and test procedures for subcutaneous implants (SC1), subcutaneous surgeries without implants (SC2), intra-abdominal implants (IA1), intra-abdominal surgeries without implants (IA2), and a control group without surgeries or implants (CNT); 20 males and 20 females were assigned to each experimental group. Surgeries for IA1 took less time (3.58 ± 0.17 min; x̄ ± SE; P < 0.001) than SC1 surgeries (4.36 ± 0.12 min). Heterophil:lymphocyte ratios showed that IA1 and IA2 doves had higher (P = 0.024) posttreatment changes compared with SC1, SC2, or CNT groups. At 4-6 days postsurgery, 153 of 160 (95.6%) doves with surgical treatments showed closed or healed surgical sites with no complications. At 14 days posttreatment, 34 (87%) SC1 implants were located in the thoracic inlet. Gross necropsy findings at 10 weeks postsurgery found that 36 of 39 (92%) SC1 and 36 of 39 (92%) IA1 implants showed little or no tissue response to the implants. Functioning transmitters began failing 2 weeks posttreatment, and 85% were not working at 10 weeks posttreatment. Our data suggest subcutaneous implants with external antennas were a better alternative compared to intra-abdominal implants with external antennas, but further testing is needed to compare subcutaneous implants to conventional attachment techniques.

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