Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) is a disease caused by dietary and husbandry mismanagement. MBD is associated with a lack of unfiltered sunlight (sunlight coming through a window is filtered) and inadequate vitamin D3 in the diet. Vitamin D3, commonly referred to as the sunshine vitamin, plays an important role in health. It is the only vitamin that can be made by the body from sunshine.
Callatrichids, like humans need sunlight to make and metabolize vitamin D.
Signs of the disease is pale face, reluctance to move, jump, climb, depression, loss of hair, angular bend in tails, bowed legs, rickets, tremors that will progress into seizures, paralysis and death.
One of the most important items to ensure the health of a marmoset is the proper lighting, which is UVA/UVB they need both, the UVA helps them absorb D3, the UVB helps them absorb calcium, mercury vapor lighting is the best, because most reptile lights are UVA or UVB NOT both.
Marms and Tams needs BOTH You can feed the best diet but without the right light to help metabolize that diet a marmoset or tamarin will NOT survive. The BEST I have found are all in one "160 watt - UVA/UVB Mercury Vapor Bulb". This bulb lasts 3 times longer then other bulbs, and are carefully tuned to ensure appetite, activity, calcium absorption and above all to prevent (MBD) metabolic bone disease.
Position lamp about 10" - 12" above a basking area and they will lay under the light and groom for hours!!
If your marmoset or tamarin already has MBD you can stabilize the disease with supplements and the right lighting but it will never go completely away. MBD is devastating on their little bodies, and they need extra care for life. A female affected by MBD should NEVER be bred, the chances of her having a viable pregnancy are very slim, the babies rob her of ALL the calcium she desperately needs, leaving her with brittle, weak bones that can easily break. The mom and babies will most likely not survive.
Herpes: Marmosets, as with all Callitrichids, appear to be extremely sensitive to the various forms of the herpes virus. As a result, these monkeys should be kept isolated from other primate species, which often carry their own form of the virus. They are extremely susceptible to herpes simplex, the common fever blister in humans, and it is FATAL to marmosets, they die a horrible slow and excruciatingly painful death, and there is nothing that can be done for them. Symptoms of herpes are frequently shown by sores around the mouth and in the mouth, diarrhea, loss of appetite, depression, dehydration, nasal discharge and swollen eyelids. Herpes viruses from cold sores around the mouth can survive for four hours on plastic, three hours on cloth and two hours on the skin.
If you or someone in your home are prone to fever blisters ( cold sores )or have the herpes virus. PLEASE DO NOT buy a marmoset, tamarin, or owl monkey. Being exposed to this virus is a death sentence for them. Squirrel monkeys carry the herpes virus and they should never be around marmosets, tamarins, or owl monkeys. But a squirrel monkey would be a good companion for a person with the herpes virus.
Marmoset monkeys are susceptible to wasting syndrome, a bodily invasion of the pancreatic worm Trichospirura leptostoma, which is transmitted through the household cockroach. For this reason, household sanitation is extremely important and cockroaches should never be fed to marmoset monkeys as a protein food source. Infection causes the marmoset's pancreas to malfunction, leading to malnutrition, diarrhea and dehydration. The most common symptoms of infection include chronic diarrhea, weight loss, hair loss at the base of the tail and paralysis of the hind legs and death.
Humans with HIV or other immune system suppressing diseases should probably not own primates due to the risk of transmission of a zoonotic disease to them by their pet. There is also the theoretical risk that the HIV virus may be transmitted to pet callitrichids, however at this time this has not been proven. Other human viruses may also occasionally cause disease in callitrichids (they are susceptible to arenaviruses, and possibly some rhinoviruses) (Col. Nancy Jaax, oral communication, May 2000). Other nonhuman primates, especially squirrel monkeys and spider monkeys may carry Herpes saimiri and Herpes ateles viruses which can be fatal to callitrichids.
Most vaccines that humans get are live viruses and are extremely dangerous to monkeys for several days. If you get vaccines do not handle, bottle feed, or prepare food for your monkey for atleast 4 days.