DAO 121:249-256 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03061

Evaluation of anti-Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae IgG response in bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus to a commercial pig vaccine

Hendrik H. Nollens1,*, Luis G. Giménez-Lirola2, Todd R. Robeck3, Todd L. Schmitt1, Stacy DiRocco4, Tanja Opriessnig5

1Veterinary Services Department, SeaWorld of San Diego, 500 SeaWorld Drive, San Diego, CA 92109, USA
2Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50010, USA
3SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Reproductive Research Center, SeaWorld of San Diego, 500 SeaWorld Drive, San Diego, CA 92109, USA
4Veterinary Services Department, SeaWorld Orlando, 7007 SeaWorld Drive, Orlando, FL 32821, USA
5The Roslin Institute and The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH25 9RG, UK
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae is the causative agent of erysipeloid in humans and of erysipelas in various animals, including bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus, in which an infection has the potential to cause peracute septicemia and death. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of using an off-label porcine (ER BAC PLUS®, Zoetis) E. rhusiopathiae bactrin in a bottlenose dolphin vaccination program by determining the anti-E. rhusiopathiae antibody levels in vaccinated dolphins over a 10 yr period. Serum samples (n = 88) were analyzed using a modified fluorescent microbead immunoassay from 54 dolphins, including 3 individuals with no history of vaccination and 51 dolphins with an average of 5 vaccinations, 3 of which had previously recovered from a natural E. rhusiopathiae infection. A mean 311-fold increase in the immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody index was measured in a subsample of 10 dolphins 14 d after the first booster vaccination. Serum IgG antibody titers were influenced by number of vaccines received (r2 = 0.47, p < 0.05) but not by age, gender, history of natural infection, adverse vaccine reaction, vaccination interval or time since last vaccination. The commercial pig bacterin was deemed effective in generating humoral immunity against E. rhusiopathiae in dolphins. However, since the probability of an adverse reaction toward the vaccine was moderately correlated (p = 0.07, r2 = 0.1) with number of vaccines administered, more research is needed to determine the optimal vaccination interval.


KEY WORDS: Dolphin · Tursiops truncatus · Erysipelas · Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae · Vaccine · Prophylaxis


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Cite this article as: Nollens HH, Giménez-Lirola LG, Robeck TR, Schmitt TL, DiRocco S, Opriessnig T (2016) Evaluation of anti-Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae IgG response in bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus to a commercial pig vaccine. Dis Aquat Org 121:249-256. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03061

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