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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 132:221-227 (2019)  -  DOI:

First report of ranavirus mortality in a common snapping turtle Chelydra serpentina

Christina M. McKenzie1,2,*,**, Morgan L. Piczak3,**, Heindrich N. Snyman4, Tomy Joseph4, Chantal Theijin5, Patricia Chow-Fraser3, Claire M. Jardine1,2

1Department of Pathobiology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada
2Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative - Ontario/Nunavut, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada
3Department of Biology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4K1, Canada
4Animal Health Centre - British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, Abbotsford, British Columbia V3G 2M3, Canada
5Hobbitstee Wildlife Refuge, Jarvis, Ontario N0A 1J0, Canada
*Corresponding author:
**These authors contributed equally

ABSTRACT: An adult male snapping turtle with marked palpebral edema and multifocal skin ulceration was found alive in a marsh in southern Ontario in summer 2017. The turtle was transported to a rehabilitation facility and died 4 d after arrival. The carcass was submitted to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative for post-mortem examination. Gross lesions included ulcerative conjunctivitis, necrotizing stomatitis, and splenomegaly. Microscopically, this corresponded to multisystemic fibrinonecrotizing vasculitis and severe fibrinous splenic necrosis. Liver tissue tested positive for frog virus 3-like ranavirus and negative for herpesvirus via polymerase chain reaction. The gross and microscopic lesions were consistent with previous reports of ranavirus infection in turtles and were severe enough to have been the cause of death in this case. This is the first report of morbidity and mortality in a common snapping turtle with a ranavirus infection, and the first reported case of ranavirus infection in a reptile in Canada. Ranaviruses are considered to be an emerging infectious disease in chelonians as they are increasing in distribution, prevalence, and host range.

KEY WORDS: Chelydra serpentina · FV3 · Ranavirus · Reptile · Snapping turtle

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Cite this article as: McKenzie CM, Piczak ML, Snyman HN, Joseph T, Theijin C, Chow-Fraser P, Jardine CM (2019) First report of ranavirus mortality in a common snapping turtle Chelydra serpentina. Dis Aquat Org 132:221-227.

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