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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 142:55-61 (2020)  -  DOI:

Pulmonary hair embolism in a rescued free-ranging Eurasian otter Lutra lutra in Kinmen, Taiwan

Wen-Ta Li1,*, Yi-Lun Chiang2,4, Ting-Yu Chen3, Chiao-Ling Lai3

1Department of Pathology, Fishhead Labs, LLC, 5658 SE Pine Ave, Stuart, FL 34997, USA
2Kinmen Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation Association, No. 63, Oucuo, Jincheng Township, Kinmen County 893017, Taiwan
3Taipei Zoo, No. 30, Sec. 2, Xinguang Rd., Wenshan Dist., Taipei City 116208, Taiwan
4Present address: Wildone Wildlife Conservation Association, No. 26, Ln. 91, Yongde St., Gushan Dist., Kaohsiung City 804054, Taiwan
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Eurasian otters Lutra lutra are listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List and are imperiled by habitat loss, water pollution, and poaching. Harassment and attacks by stray animals are also recognized threats to the health of wild Eurasian otters. Pulmonary hair embolism is a possible complication in animals with deep traumatic injury, but to date no cases have been reported in wildlife. A free-ranging, adult male Eurasian otter was rescued due to severe emaciation and multiple bite wounds. The otter died 3 d after rescue and was necropsied. Grossly, a 1.5 × 1.5 × 1.5 cm firm nodule was observed in the left cranial lung lobe. Histologically, a fragment of hair shaft surrounded by multinucleated foreign body giant cells was observed in a medium-sized vein, and extensive eosinophilic infiltration was noted in the adjacent vascular wall and lung parenchyma. Based on the gross and histological findings, the pulmonary lesion was consistent with eosinophilic pneumonia and vasculitis induced by hair embolism. The presence of well-formed multinucleated foreign body giant cells and eosinophils may imply a late stage of foreign body reaction, and thus the presumptive source of hair embolism is an animal bite. This is the first report of pulmonary hair embolism associated with animal bite in a rescued free-ranging Eurasian otter.

KEY WORDS: Eurasian otter · Lutra lutra · Eosinophilic pneumonia · Hair embolism · Stray animals

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Cite this article as: Li WT, Chiang YL, Chen TY, Lai CL (2020) Pulmonary hair embolism in a rescued free-ranging Eurasian otter Lutra lutra in Kinmen, Taiwan. Dis Aquat Org 142:55-61.

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