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Bay Lake, FL, United States

Clayton L.A.,National Aquarium | Andrew Stamper M.,Disneys Animals | Whitaker B.R.,National Aquarium | Hadfield C.A.,National Aquarium | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2012

Mycobacterium abscessus pneumonia was diagnosed antemortem in a 23-yr-old male Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). Clinical signs included lethargy, hyporexia, coughing, and bloody respiratory discharge. Diagnostic findings included neutrophilic leukocytosis, anemia, elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and repeated forceful exhaled breath (sputum) cytology, with acute inflammatory cells and acid-fast positive beaded rods. The bacteria were initially identified free in the sputum sample and subsequently were seen within neutrophils. A culture was positive for a rapidly growing, white, colony-forming organism confirmed as M. abscessus by polymerase chain reaction and DNA sequencing. Clinical signs initially resolved with multidrug therapy. Concurrent Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection complicated clinical management and contributed to terminal decline. The dolphin was euthanized 5 mo after initial diagnosis. Necropsy results demonstrated acid-fast positive bacteria in lung tissue and supported the diagnosis of M. abscessus pneumonia. Acid-fast stains and mycobacteria cultures should be considered when evaluating ill dolphins. © 2012 American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.

Marais H.J.,University of Pretoria | Hendrickson D.A.,Colorado State University | Stetter M.,Colorado State University | Penning M.,Disneys Animals | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2013

Several small, enclosed reserves in southern Africa are experiencing significant elephant population growth, which has resulted in associated environmental damage and changes in biodiversity. Although several techniques exist to control elephant populations, e.g., culling, relocation, and immunocontraception, the technique of laparoscopic vasectomy of free-ranging bull elephants was investigated. Bilateral vasectomies were performed in 45 elephants. Of these elephants, one died within 24 hr of recovery and two had complications during surgery but recovered uneventfully. Histologic examination confirmed the resected tissue as ductus deferens in all the bulls. Most animals recovered uneventfully and showed no abnormal behavior after surgery. Complications recorded included incisional dehiscence, 1 full-thickness and 2 partial-thickness lacerations of the large intestine, and initial sling-associated complications, for example, deep radial nerve paresis. One bull was found dead 6 weeks after surgery without showing any prior abnormal signs. Vasectomy in free-ranging African bull elephants may be effectively performed in their normal environment. The surgical procedure can be used as a realistic population management tool in free-ranging elephants without major anesthetic, surgical, or postoperative complications. © Copyright 2013 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.

Erlacher-Reid C.D.,Florida College | Norton T.M.,Georgia Sea Turtle Center | Harms C.A.,North Carolina State University | Thompson R.,Apple Inc | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2013

Intestinal or cloacal strictures that resulted in intestinal obstruction were diagnosed in six green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) from three rehabilitation facilities and two zoologic parks. The etiologies of the strictures were unknown in these cases. It is likely that anatomic adaptations of the gastrointestinal tract unique to the green sea turtle's herbivorous diet, paired with causes of reduced intestinal motility, may predispose the species to intestinal damage and subsequent obstructive intestinal disease. In aquarium-maintained green sea turtles, obesity, diet, reduced physical activity, chronic intestinal disease, and inappropriate or inadequate antibiotics might also be potential contributing factors. Clinical, radiographic, and hematologic abnormalities common among most of these sea turtles include the following: positive buoyancy; lethargy; inappetence; regurgitation; obstipation; dilated bowel and accumulation of oral contrast material; anemia; hypoglycemia; hypoalbuminemia; hypocalcemia; and elevated creatine kinase, aspartate aminotransferase, and blood urea nitrogen. Although these abnormalities are nonspecific with many possible contributing factors, intestinal disease, including strictures, should be considered a differential in green sea turtles that demonstrate all or a combination of these clinical findings. Although diagnostic imaging, including radiographs, computed tomography, or magnetic resonance imaging, are important in determining a cause for suspected gastrointestinal disease and identifying an anatomic location of obstruction, intestinal strictures were not successfully identified when using these imaging modalities. Lower gastrointestinal contrast radiography, paired with the use of oral contrast, was useful in identifying the suspected site of intestinal obstruction in two cases. Colonoscopy was instrumental in visually diagnosing intestinal stricture in one case. Therefore, lower gastrointestinal contrast radiography and colonoscopy should be considered in green turtles when gastrointestinal obstructions are suspected. Although partial strictures of the cloacal opening may be identified on gross examination and might be managed with appropriate medical treatment, surgical intervention or humane euthanasia are likely the only options for sea turtles once small or large intestinal strictures have formed. © 2013 American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.

Stutchbury B.J.M.,York University | Fraser K.C.,University of Manitoba | Silverio C.,York University | Kramer P.,York University | And 5 more authors.
Animal Behaviour | Year: 2016

In long-distance migrants, it has been hypothesized that re-pairing in spring is facilitated if, on the wintering grounds, formerly mated individuals maintain close proximity or occupy ecologically similar habitat, which then results in more synchronized spring migration schedules. For songbirds, pair members have long been thought to migrate independently, but only recently has it been possible to directly track start-to-finish migration to test this prediction. We used light-sensor geolocators to track paired versus nonpaired purple martins, Progne subis subis, that breed in North America and winter in South America. In 6 of 12 pairs, pair members departed on autumn migration within 4 days of each other, but pairs rarely occupied nearby stopover sites in Central America and were separated by an average of 560 km upon arrival in Brazil. Formerly paired birds were not significantly more similar in autumn or spring migration timing, or winter roost location, compared with nonpaired birds tracked from the same colonies and years. Formerly mated pairs who were closer together in Brazil, or who occupied regions with similar amounts of forest cover, did not have more synchronized spring migration schedules. Only 1 of 12 pairs that were tracked remated after migration. Intense competition for nesting cavities combined with disparate spring migration schedules of former pairs probably contributes to the high divorce rate. © 2016 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

Mylniczenko N.D.,Disneys Animals | Sullivan K.E.,Disneys Animals | Corcoran M.E.,Disneys Animals | Fleming G.J.,Disneys Animals | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2012

During routine health screens for black rhinoceroses (Diceros bicornis minor) in a captive setting, serum iron and ferritin were analyzed as well as total iron binding capacity and total iron saturation. Trends for ferritin and percent iron saturation showed steady increases since 2003 in four of four animals (three males; one female) with two animals (one male; one female) consistently showing higher elevations over conspecifics. The historical diet had been comprised of a commercial or in-house complete pelleted feed; several species of fresh browse, Bermuda grass, alfalfa and timothy hays, as well as enrichment and training items (apples, carrots, sweet potatoes, and a small amount of leafy greens and vegetables). In 2009, one of the three male rhinoceroses showed a threefold increase in ferritin and concurrently exhibited clinical signs of lethargy, decreased appetite, and disinterest in training. The lone female showed a twofold increase; she also became reproductively acyclic in the prior year. The male was immobilized for examination and phlebotomy. During the same time period, a new version of the complete pelleted feed, with a reduced amount of iron, was introduced. Subsequent to the diet change, the male's ferritin levels have consistently declined, and the female started cycling again. Even with these corrective steps to reduce iron levels, levels of iron saturation remained high, and ferritin levels were still above 1,500 ng/ml. Therapeutic phlebotomy was instituted via a rigorous training program that allowed phlebotomies over a 30-min time frame. This was possible because of a long-term training program for the animals, consistent training personnel, routine collection of samples on a monthly basis, and general comfort level of the animals in the restraint chute. The results of this integrated approach showed some significant improvements and an overall positive impact on the animals. © 2012 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.

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