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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 94:83-88 (2011)  -  DOI:

Antemortem diagnosis of a ventricular septal defect in a California sea lion Zalophus californianus

Sophie E. Dennison1,2,*, William Van Bonn2, Marjorie Boor2,3, James Adams3, Nicola Pussini2, Terry Spraker4, Frances M. D. Gulland2

1Consultant Veterinary Radiologist, Marine Mammal Radiology, San Francisco, California 94107, USA
2The Marine Mammal Center, 2000 Bunker Road, Sausalito, California 94965, USA
3Cardiovascular Associates of Marin and San Francisco, Larkspur, California 94939, USA
4Colorado State University Diagnostic Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80526, USA

ABSTRACT: A yearling California sea lion Zalophus californianus stranded in poor body condition, and on physical examination a heart murmur was audible bilaterally. The sea lion was diagnosed with a left-to-right shunting membranous ventricular septal defect (VSD) using B-mode, color-flow Doppler and continuous-wave Doppler echocardiography. A left-to-right intracardiac shunting lesion was confirmed during cardiac angiographic computed tomography. The VSD defect was verified during the necropsy examination. On histologic examination concurrent mild multifocal myocarditis with focal mild ventricular free-wall myocardial necrosis were identified. A specific cause for the myocarditis and myocardial necrosis was not found, and association with the VSD and resultant myocardial dysfunction was presumed. This is the first report of the antemortem diagnosis of a VSD in a marine mammal and the first report of a VSD in a California sea lion.

KEY WORDS: Echocardiography · Congenital defect · Cardiac disease · Heart disease · Ultrasound

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Cite this article as: Dennison SE, Van Bonn W, Boor M, Adams J, Pussini N, Spraker T, Gulland FMD (2011) Antemortem diagnosis of a ventricular septal defect in a California sea lion Zalophus californianus. Dis Aquat Org 94:83-88.

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