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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI:

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

    Wen-Ta Li*, Yi-Lun Chiang, Ting-Yu Chen, Chiao-Ling Lai

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Eurasian otters Lutra lutra are listed as near threatened on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and are greatly threatened by habitat loss, water pollution, and poaching. Harassment and attack 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 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 x 1.5 x 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.