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Jurczynski K.,Duisburg Zoo | Lyashchenko K.P.,Chembio Diagnostic Systems, Inc. | Scharpegge J.,Tiergarten Heidelberg | Fluegger M.,Tierpark Hagenbeck | And 4 more authors.
Aquatic Mammals

Since 2000, Heidelberg Zoo has been dealing with tuberculosis caused by Mycobacterium pin-nipedii within its collection of South American sea lions (Otaria flavescens). Recently, more cases became known all across Europe. Various diagnostic methods, including microscopy, PCR, and culture of sputum samples; three serological tests (ElephantTB STAT-PAK® assay, multianti-gen print immunoassay [MAPIA], and dual path platform assay [DPP]); and diagnostic imaging, were used to examine 14 animals. M. pinnipe-dii infection was strongly suspected antemortem based on the diagnostic results and was confirmed at necropsy in 10 sea lions. ElephantTB STAT-PAK® assay, MAPIA, and DPP test showed the diagnostic potential for rapid detection of this dis-ease in live sea lions. The highest sensitivity was achieved when applying more than one test. Source

Garcia A.R.,Seal Rehabilitation and Research Center | Contreras G.J.S.,Seal Rehabilitation and Research Center | Acosta C.J.,Seal Rehabilitation and Research Center | Lacave G.,Marine Mammal Veterinary Services | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine

In 2012, 543 harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) and 124 grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) were admitted to the Seal Rehabilitation and Research Centre in Pieterburen, The Netherlands. In 19 seals (3%), signs of infection in a hind flipper were observed. Initial treatment consisting of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs resolved the symptoms in 15 animals. In four harbor seals, estimated to be 3 to 4 mo old, a necrotizing infection developed that resulted in osteoarthritis of the tarsus or tibiotarsal joint or both. Bacterial culture revealed the presence of polymicrobial infection in three of the four animals. Treatment consisted of amputation of the hind flipper under general anesthesia combined with tumescent anesthesia in the operation field. Amputations were done at the diaphysis of the tibia and fibula. After resecting these bones, the flipper was discarded, leaving a good muscle-skin cuff to cover the edges of the bones and close the skin without tension. The estimated blood loss varied between <50 to 150 ml. Healing was uneventful, and both antibiotics and analgesics were gradually reduced according to the individual response. The seals did not show any functional impairment 1 mo postoperatively. After release to the sea, scrutinous revision of all radiographs showed signs of osteomyelitis in at least one animal in the proximal part of the tibia, also present preoperatively. It is concluded that tumescent anesthesia in seals may reduce perioperative blood loss and that a lower leg amputation is a surgically easy and clean approach for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the hind flipper of seals, giving good functional results (diving, catching fish, exiting a pool, and moving on land). © 2015 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians. Source

Rehtanz M.,Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution | Rehtanz M.,University of Louisville | Rehtanz M.,New York University | Ghim S.-J.,University of Louisville | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Diseases

Genital epithelial tumors of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus [Tt]) and Burmeister's porpoises (Phocoena spinipinnis) were formerly shown to be associated with papillomavirus (PV) infection. Papillomaviruses are highly prevalent viruses involved in the development of various tumor types in a wide range of animals, and so-called high-risk PVs contribute to malignant progression. In marine mammals, the incidence and prevalence of PV infection, transmission pathways, and persistence of infection are largely unknown. Using viruslike particles of bottlenose dolphin PV type 1 (TtPVl) as the antigen, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) studies were conducted to evaluate PV antibody prevalence in bottlenose dolphins. In total, sera obtained from 115 dolphins were examined. Fifty-one percent of captive dolphins (n = 18 of 35) and 90% of free-ranging dolphins (n = 72 of 80) were antibody positive. Higher ELISA reactivity was observed among males compared with females. Sexually immature dolphins appeared more likely to seroconvert with age. Besides determining their PV antibody prevalence, each animal was also assessed for the presence of orogenital tumors. Interestingly, the mean age of free-ranging dolphins with tumors (n=21) was 11.2 yr compared with 29.9 yr in captive dolphins with tumors (n=9). Results from the current study suggest PV infection in bottlenose dolphins is common, that the main route of PV transmission among them may be horizontal, and that orogenital neoplasia may develop in early life stages of certain freeranging bottlenose dolphins. © Wildlife Disease Association 2010. Source

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