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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 97:167-170 (2011)  -  DOI:

First case of erysipelas in a free-ranging bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) stranded in the Mediterranean Sea

Mar Melero1,*, Consuelo Rubio-Guerri1, Jose Luis Crespo1, Manuel Arbelo2, Ana Isabel Vela1, Daniel García-Párraga3, Eva Sierra2, Lucas Domínguez1, José Manuel Sánchez-Vizcaíno

1VISAVET Center and Animal Health Department, Veterinary School, Complutense University of Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
2Unit of Histology and Veterinary Pathology, Institute for Animal Health, Veterinary School, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 35416 Canary Islands, Spain
3Veterinary Department, Oceanographic Aquarium of the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, 46023 Valencia, Spain

ABSTRACT: An adult female bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) stranded alive and subsequently died several minutes later on the Mediterranean coast of Spain on 14 July 2010. Clinical examination revealed foam through the blowhole and rales upon lung auscultation. On venipuncture, the blood was abnormally dense and dark. Hematological and biochemical abnormalities included dehydration, leukocytosis (48600 leukocytes µl−1) characterized by neutrophilia (48200 neutrophils µl−1), and elevated bilirubin (4.38 mg dl−1), alanine aminotransferase (382.3 U l−1), aspartate aminotransferase (1449.3 U l−1), lactate dehydrogenase (1631.3 U l−1), and creatine kinase (404.7 U l−1). The most relevant findings of the gross examination were rhomboid-shaped skin lesions, stable froth in the trachea, pulmonary congestion, abnormally thick and rough pleura with adhesions, edematous and congestive superficial cervical and tracheobronchial lymph nodes, red-tinged urine, and severe brain congestion. Histopathology of the kidney, lung, skin, and brain revealed multisystemic intravascular bacterial emboli. Samples of skin, brain, and lung were cultured on Columbia blood agar under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions, and pure and heavy bacterial cultures were obtained from skin and brain samples. The microorganism isolated was Gram-positive, catalase-negative, facultatively anaerobic, and rod-shaped. The isolates were identified as Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae by the API Coryne biochemical system. Based on the gross and microscopic findings, a diagnosis of acute E. rhusiopathiae septicemia was made. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of E. rhusiopathiae septicemia in a free-ranging bottlenose dolphin.

KEY WORDS: Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae · Septicemia · Diamond-shaped skin lesions · ­Bottlenose dolphin · Tursiops truncatus

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Cite this article as: Melero M, Rubio-Guerri C, Crespo JL, Arbelo M and others (2011) First case of erysipelas in a free-ranging bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) stranded in the Mediterranean Sea. Dis Aquat Org 97:167-170.

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