[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Similar to humans, bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) can develop metabolic syndrome and associated high ferritin. While fish and fish-based fatty acids may protect against metabolic syndrome in humans, findings have been inconsistent. To assess potential protective factors against metabolic syndrome related to fish diets, fatty acids were compared between two dolphin populations with higher (n = 30, Group A) and lower (n = 19, Group B) mean insulin (11 ± 12 and 2 ± 5 μIU/ml, respectively; P < 0.0001) and their dietary fish. In addition to higher insulin, triglycerides, and ferritin, Group A had lower percent serum hepta-decanoic acid (C17:0) compared to Group B (0.3 ± 0.1 and 1.3 ± 0.4%, respectively; P < 0.0001). Using multivariate stepwise regression, higher percent serum C17:0, a saturated fat found in dairy fat, rye, and some fish, was an independent predictor of lower insulin in dolphins. Capelin, a common dietary fish for Group A, had no detectable C17:0, while pin-fish and mullet, common in Group B's diet, had C17:0 (41 and 67 mg/100g, respectively). When a modified diet adding 25% pinfish and/or mullet was fed to six Group A dolphins over 24 weeks (increasing the average daily dietary C17:0 intake from 400 to 1700 mg), C17:0 serum levels increased, high ferritin decreased, and blood-based metabolic syndrome indices normalized toward reference levels. These effects were not found in four reference dolphins. Further, higher total serum C17:0 was an independent and linear predictor of lower ferritin in dolphins in Group B dolphins. Among off the shelf dairy products tested, butter had the highest C17:0 (423mg/100g); nonfat dairy products had no detectable C17:0. We hypothesize that humans' movement away from diets with potentially beneficial saturated fatty acid C17:0, including whole fat dairy products, could be a contributor to widespread low C17:0 levels, higher ferritin, and metabolic syndrome.
PLoS ONE 07/2015; 10(7):e0132117. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0132117 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective-To evaluate annual survival and mortality rates and the longevity of a managed population of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Design-Retrospective cohort study. Animals-103 bottlenose dolphins at the US Navy Marine Mammal Program (MMP). Procedures-Population age structures, annual survival and crude mortality rates, and median age at death for dolphins > 30 days old were determined from 2004 through 2013. Results-During 2004 through 2013, the annual survival rates for MMP dolphins ranged from 0.98 to 1.0, and the annual crude mortality rates ranged from 0% to 5%, with a mean of 2.7%. The median age at death was 30.1 years from 2004 through 2008 and increased to 32 years from 2009 through 2013. The maximum age for a dolphin in the study was 52 years. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance-Results indicated that the annual mortality rates were low and survival rates were high for dolphins in the MMP from 2004 through 2013 and that the median age at death for MMP dolphins during that time was over 10 years greater than that reported in free-ranging dolphins. These findings were likely attributable to the continually improving care and husbandry of managed dolphin populations.
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 04/2015; 246(8):893-8. DOI:10.2460/javma.246.8.893 · 1.56 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A geriatric, female bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) with a history of bilateral nephrolithiasis was diagnosed with mild azotemia on a routine blood sample. In addition to long-term oral hydration therapy, she was receiving oral potassium citrate and citric acid treatment in an effort to decrease her risk of further stone formation. Ultrasound examination detected a partial ureteral stone obstruction with dilation of the left ureter and left renal collecting duct. Medical therapy was initiated and included low-dose tamsulosin, increased oral hydration, and tramadol, resulting in ~10 cm of stone movement within the ureter before stalling. An attempt to increase the tamsulosin dose was followed by two episodes consistent with fainting. Daily open-ocean swimming was added to the plan, resulting in further stone movement but not passage. Medical management was discontinued and the animal was prepared for surgical management under general anesthesia. Midazolam sedation was administered for patient preparation, followed by propofol induction for endotracheal intubation and maintenance on sevoflurane. The surgeons performed ureteroscopy and relieved the stone obstruction with laser lithotripsy. Following cessation of anesthesia and subsequent extubation, the animal was recovered in shallow water and monitored closely. Upon return to the ocean, medical management was reinitiated to facilitate passage of small stone fragments left behind by lithotripsy. She was restarted on oral potassium citrate and citric acid combination therapy with no evidence of adverse effects. General anesthesia was a key factor in the successful procedural outcome, as was involvement of surgical urologists and expert nephrologists in case management. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Deming for their technical support. Dr. Mark Xitco, Brigitta Swenberg, and the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program training staff provided critical support for case management. Funding for urine physicochemistry and evaluation of medical treatment was provided by the Office of Naval Research Award #N00014110203.
International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine; 04/2015
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coccidioidomycosis in a bottlenose dolphin was first reported in 1998. 1 In 2009, a 26-year-old female bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) was diagnosed with pulmonary coccidioidomycosis. 2 To date, the disease has been successfully managed with input from Coccidioides immitis experts at the University of California-Davis, the University of Arizona, and the University of Texas. Initial treatment of the 168-kg dolphin consisted of voriconazole (1000 mg PO once weekly) and terbinafine (1000 mg PO SID). Five months into treatment, the dolphin developed signs consistent with toxicity, including tremors, premature ventricular contractions, ventricular bigeminy, and elevated hepatic enzymes. 3 After medications were discontinued and blood drug levels decreased, signs of toxicity resolved. Once clinically stable, voriconazole was reinitiated at 200 mg PO once weekly and gradually increased. The animal's ability to exercise, dive, and transport out of the water was examined. Exercise and diving intolerance was not observed, and the dolphin was consistently stable out of the water. The animal has since deployed and been transported by aircraft without complication. Clinical progression is regularly monitored with bloodwork, ultrasound, serology, blood drug levels, and serial CT scans. Currently, C. immitis titers are favorably low at 1:2 (originally 1:64). CT scan results from December 2014 showed static chronic pulmonary parenchymal disease and marginal lymphadenopathy with no evidence of progression or dissemination. Current management includes voriconazole (600 mg PO once weekly) with a target trough drug level of ~ 2–3 µg/mL and annual CT scans. Marginal lymph node sampling is being considered to rule out chronic active disease. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS We would like to thank our colleagues at the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program and the National Marine Mammal Foundation. We are grateful for the numerous veterinarians, physicians, veterinary technicians, trainers and support staff that have aided with the diagnosis, treatment and care of this animal. We would like to especially thank
International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine, Chicago, IL; 04/2015
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In 2006, an adult female bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) was diagnosed with a ventral cervical abscess caused by Candida glabrata, as previously described. 1 The abscess was medically managed with intermittent ultrasound-guided fluid aspiration, lavage, intralesional antifungals such as caspofungin, and systemic oral voriconazole for 6 years. In 2012, the animal developed a significant inflammatory hemogram and inspiratory stridor. A secondary, multilobulated abscess was identified with ultrasound caudal to the previous lesion. A computed tomography (CT) scan with contrast revealed significant soft tissue swelling with multiple non-enhancing foci and patchy mineralization, dorsal and caudal to the hyoid, as well as dorsal displacement and reduced air space surrounding the larynx. Surgery was performed under general anesthesia. The dolphin was positioned in dorsal recumbency to facilitate a 12-cm longitudinal ventral midline incision. Intraoperative ultrasound aided identification of surgical landmarks and the abscess cavity. Debridement of all necrotic tissue to healthy margins was completed. A round Jackson-Pratt drain was placed with an external drain bulb secured to a pectoral fin strap. Tension-relieving stents and simple interrupted sutures were used to close the incision. The drain was removed five days later, and the skin sutures were gradually removed over the next five weeks. A 5-month postoperative contrast CT scan revealed a static degree of soft tissue thickening and dorsal larynx displacement. There was progressive dystrophic mineralization but no convincing evidence of non-enhancing foci (i.e., fluid). At 1 year post-surgery, the animal is clinically normal. Routine monitoring includes monthly CBC and chemistry panels with intermittent ultrasonographic reassessment of the lesion. Although a multilobulated mass is still present, there has been no recurrence of fluid accumulation and additional aspirations have not been required. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors wish to thank the US Naval Medical Center San Diego for their ongoing medical and diagnostic support that aids in the excellent veterinary care of our patients. Finally, the authors thank all of the veterinarians, technicians, trainers, and records office personnel that were instrumental in facilitating the care of this animal.
International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine, Chicago, IL; 04/2015
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to investigate the pharmacokinetics of meloxicam in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Ten adult bottlenose dolphins were used for the study. Each animal received a single oral dose of meloxicam at 0.1 mg/kg. Two to seven serial blood samples were collected per animal, at one of fourteen time points between T = 0 and T = 240 hr. Complete blood count and serum chemistry analysis were performed prior to drug administration, as well as at the final time point for each individual. Plasma drug concentrations were determined by high-pressure liquid chromatography. No adverse hematological, biochemical or clinical changes were noted during the study period. After oral administration, a peak plasma concentration of 1.03 microg/mL was achieved at approximately 11 hr. This suggests that a single oral dose of 0.1 mg/kg provides a peak plasma level similar to what is considered therapeutic in other species. However, the elimination of meloxicam in cetaceans was slower than in other species, with an elimination half-life of almost 70 hr, and detectable drug concentrations up to 7 days. A single oral dose of 0.1 mg/kg appears safe for use in this species, but caution in repeated dosing must be used, due to the prolonged elimination, until multi-dose pharmacokinetic studies are determined.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 09/2014; 45(3):594-9. DOI:10.1638/2013-0281R1.1 · 0.42 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose:
Nephrolithiasis has been increasingly reported in bottlenose dolphins, with all cases to date being ammonium urate nephrolithiasis.
Materials and Methods:
A case-control study was conducted in dolphins with and without evidence of nephrolithiasis, aiming to identify biomarkers and risk factors associated with stone formation in a managed population. Dolphins were sampled in both fasting and postprandial states in order to study the effect of dietary factors on serum and urinary biochemistry. Urine was continuously collected over a 6-hr period via catheter and divided into three 2-hour collections, with a bolus fish meal given after completion of the first collection. Blood was sampled at the beginning of the fasting period and end of the postprandial period.
There were no significant differences in serum and urine chemistries and acid base profiles between dolphins with and without stones, at baseline or postprandially, suggesting that case and control animals in this study represent a continuum of stone risk. In analyses combining the case and control dolphins in a single cohort, we noted significant postprandial increases in urinary uric acid, sulfate and net acid excretion, accompanied by increased urinary ammonium excretion and a commensurate rise in urine pH. The supersaturation index of ammonium urate increased postprandially by more than twofold.
These findings suggest that dolphins are susceptible to ammonium urate nephrolithiasis at least in part because a high dietary load of acid and purines results in a transient but marked increase in the urinary supersaturation of the sparingly soluble ammonium urate salt.
The Journal of urology 07/2014; 192(1). DOI:10.1016/j.juro.2014.01.008 · 4.47 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Electrocardiography (ECG) was performed on captured free-ranging bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) during a health assessment exercise and compared with that of a Navy collection of dolphins habituated to handling out of water in order to assess possible cardiovascular impacts of capture and handling. Six-lead recordings (I, II, III, aVr, aVl, and aVf) in the frontal plane and direct thorax leads were collected from both groups, with a modified base-apex lead additionally employed with the Navy collection dolphins. Measured and calculated parameters included amplitudes of P, R, S, and T waves and total QRS complex; T:S and T:QRS ratios; heart rate; durations of P wave; QRS complex, PR, QT, and RR intervals; maximum minus minimum RR interval; ST segment elevation-depression; and mean electrical axis (MEA). Physiologically minor but statistically significant differences were detected in S wave amplitude, PR interval, QRS duration, and MEA. The PR interval, QRS duration, and S wave amplitude were slightly greater and the MEA oriented slightly rightward in wild postcapture dolphins compared to Navy collection dolphins. There were no differences in heart rate or maximum minus minimum RR interval, which serves as a proxy for the expected sinus arrhythmia of dolphins. The base-apex lead resulted in greater QRS amplitude than lead II, as expected for the category B ventricular activation of dolphins. The left-side direct thorax lead was more consistent than that of the right side. Clinically, ECG was a useful adjunct to auscultation and thoracic palpation for monitoring heart rate and rhythm and generated a record for archiving. Safe capture and handling protocols in place, under which dolphins are immediately returned to the water at progressive signs of distress, may make cardiovascular decompensation less likely to be detected by ECG. It appears that the dolphin cardiovascular system compensates suitably well to capture, as measured by ECG under the conditions of this study.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 12/2013; 44(4):972-81. DOI:10.1638/2013-0093.1 · 0.42 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In humans, ammonium urate (AU) nephrolithiasis is rare in the Western hemisphere and more common in Japan and developing countries. Among a variety of risk factors, insulin resistance has been associated with urate nephrolithiasis in people. Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) are susceptible to AU nephrolithiasis, and it is believed that some populations are more likely to develop nephrolithiasis compared to others. In an effort to better understand population-based risk factors for AU nephrolithiasis in dolphins and their comparative value to humans, sonographic evaluation was performed on dolphins from a managed collection in San Diego Bay, CA (n = 40) and dolphins from a free-ranging, nearshore population in Sarasota Bay, FL (n = 39) to look for evidence of nephrolithiasis. While 14 (35%) of San Diego Bay dolphins evaluated for the study had sonographic evidence of nephrolithiasis, none of the Sarasota Bay dolphins had evidence of disease. Presence or absence of stones was confirmed by computed tomography in a subset of the San Diego collection (n = 10; four dolphins with stones, six without stones). Age was identified as a risk factor, as dolphins with stones in the San Diego collection were significantly older than dolphins without stones (25.4 vs. 19.1 years, respectively; P = 0.04). Additionally, San Diego dolphins included in the study were significantly older than Sarasota Bay dolphins (21.3 vs. 13.8 years, respectively; P = 0.008). In addition to the previously reported risk factors of hypocitraturia and hyperinsulinemia in bottlenose dolphins, other potential factors include geographic location, managed vs. free-ranging status, prey species, and feeding schedules.
Frontiers in Endocrinology 10/2013; 4:145. DOI:10.3389/fendo.2013.00145
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Similar to people with metabolic syndrome, bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) can have a sustained postprandial hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia, dyslipidemia, and fatty liver disease. A panel of potential postprandial blood-based indicators of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome were compared among 34 managed collection dolphins in San Diego Bay, CA, USA (Group A) and 16 wild, free-ranging dolphins in Sarasota Bay, FL, USA (Group B). Compared to Group B, Group A had higher insulin (2.1 ± 2.5 and 13 ± 13 μIU/ml), glucose (87 ± 19 and 108 ± 12 mg/dl), and triglycerides (75 ± 28 and 128 ± 45 mg/dl) as well as higher cholesterol (total, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and very low density lipoprotein cholesterol), iron, transferrin saturation, gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), alanine transaminase, and uric acid. Group A had higher percent unmodified adiponectin. While Group A dolphins were older, the same blood-based differences remained when controlling for age. There were no differences in body mass index (BMI) between the groups, and comparisons between Group B and Group A dolphins have consistently demonstrated lower stress hormones levels in Group A. Group A dolphins with high insulin (greater than 14 μIU/ml) had higher glucose, iron, GGT, and BMI compared to Group A dolphins with lower insulin. These findings support that some dolphin groups may be more susceptible to insulin resistance compared to others, and primary risk factors are not likely age, BMI, or stress. Lower high-molecular weight adiponectin has been identified as an independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes in humans and may be a target for preventing insulin resistance in dolphins. Future investigations with these two dolphin populations, including dietary and feeding differences, may provide valuable insight for preventing and treating insulin resistance in humans.
Frontiers in Endocrinology 10/2013; 4:136. DOI:10.3389/fendo.2013.00136
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic inflammation has been associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes (T2D) in humans. Postmortem hepatic and splenic tissue from a 46-year-old geriatric male bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) with insulin resistance (chronic hyperinsulinemia with hyperglycemia), chronic inflammation (white blood cell count greater than 12,000 cells/μL), and mild fatty liver disease was evaluated for elevated pro-inflammatory mediators. Cytokine mRNA expression in postmortem hepatic and splenic tissue, as determined by real-time PCR, included an array of cytokines: TGF-β, TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-4, IL-10, IL-12p40, IL-13, and IL-18. Values from this dolphin were compared to a younger reference dolphin with no known chronic metabolic perturbations or inflammation. Levels of TGF-β, TNF-α, and IL-4 were higher in the case dolphin's liver compared to that of the reference dolphin. In the case dolphin's spleen, IL-10 and IFN-γ mRNA was upregulated while IL-4 was less than the reference dolphin. IL-18 and IL-13 were upregulated in both tissues. Fluorescent immunohistochemistry (IHC) utilized the following antibodies: anti-porcine IL-6, anti-bovine IFN-γ, IL-4, and IL-10, anti-human TGF-β, anti-ovine IL-1β, and anti-dolphin IL-8. Fluorescent IHC in spleen from the case dolphin revealed staining of IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, and TGF-β throughout the tissue. IL-10 and IFN-γ were seen to predominate in areas surrounding the follicles of splenic tissue. This is the first characterization of cytokine levels in dolphin hepatic and splenic tissue. While there are limitations to a case study, this report of inflammatory biomarkers in tissues of a dolphin with insulin resistance and fatty liver disease are similar to those observed in human patients.
Frontiers in Endocrinology 10/2013; 4:134. DOI:10.3389/fendo.2013.00134
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract Context: Firestorms negatively affected air quality throughout San Diego County during 2003 and 2007, including the San Diego Bay, which houses the Navy's bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Objective: To assess the potential impact of the 2003 and 2007 fires on dolphin health. Materials and methods: Hematology and serum chemistry values were evaluated retrospectively among Navy dolphins the year and month before; during; and the month after the 2003 and 2007 fires. Results: Both 2003 and 2007 fires were associated with lower calcium either during or the month post-fire compared to the control periods. During and the month following the 2003 fire, dolphins had higher serum carbon dioxide compared to the control periods. Dolphins during and the month following the 2007 fire had lower absolute or percent neutrophils and higher chloride. The 2007 fire was also associated with increased percent eosinophils during the fire and higher percent monocytes and bilirubin the month following the fire compared to the control periods. Discussion and conclusion: Consistent with what has been previously reported in humans and other animals, this study supports that fire smoke inhalation may have mild effects on dolphin physiology, including calcium homeostasis, lung function and immune response.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In order to develop complementary health management strategies for marine mammals, we used culture-based and culture-independent approaches to identify gastrointestinal lactobacilli of the common bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus.
We screened 307 bacterial isolates from oral and rectal swabs, milk, and gastric fluid, collected from 38 dolphins in the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program, for potentially beneficial features. We focused our search on lactobacilli and evaluated their ability to modulate TNF secretion by host cells and inhibit growth of pathogens. We recovered Lactobacillus salivarius strains which secreted factors that stimulated TNF production by human monocytoid cells. These L. salivarius isolates inhibited growth of selected marine mammal and human bacterial pathogens. In addition, we identified a novel Lactobacillus species by culture and direct sequencing with 96.3% 16S rDNA sequence similarity to Lactobacillus ceti.
Dolphin-derived L. salivarius isolates possess features making them candidate probiotics for clinical studies in marine mammals.
This is the first study to isolate lactobacilli from dolphins, including a new strain of L. salivarius, with potential for veterinary probiotic applications. The isolation and identification of novel Lactobacillus spp. and other indigenous microbes from bottlenose dolphins will enable the study of the biology of symbiotic members of the dolphin microbiota and facilitate the understanding of the microbiomes of these unique animals. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This brief communication describes the clinical presentation, antemortem diagnosis, and successful treatment of a pulmonary abscess associated with a Brucella sp. in a 27-yr-old female bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). Ultrasound revealed a 3-cm diameter hypoechoic mass deep to the pleural lining in the left lung field. Multiple ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspirates were performed and tested for bacterial and fungal etiology. All cultures were negative, but the infectious agent was identified by MicroSEQ analysis in two samples and confirmed with real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification using known Brucella sp. primers. Amikacin was infused into the abscess and was followed by an oral doxycycline and rifampin protocol. Follow-up diagnostic imaging, including radiographs and computed tomography, revealed a resolved lesion with minimal mineralization within the affected lung fields. Brucellosis should be considered for pulmonary disease in dolphins, and personnel who interact with marine animals should use caution to prevent zoonotic brucellosis.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 06/2013; 44(2):495-9. DOI:10.1638/2012-0195R.1 · 0.42 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A 31-year-old male bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) presented with a 3-day history of blepharospasm and decreased behavioral participation. CBC and serum chemistry showed mild inflammation with evidence of infection. Pulmonary ultrasound revealed a 2.7 cm hypoechoic mass with focal consolidation in the mid-cranial right lung field. Using ultrasound guidance, a percutaneous fine needle aspirate of the mass was performed as previously described,1 yielding 3 cc of purulent material. Cytologic examination revealed severe septic, suppurative inflammation with intracellular Gram-positive cocci. A methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus was confirmed by culture and PCR, with susceptibility to multiple antibiotics. Right-sided pleural effusion developed ventrocaudal to the abscess and follow-up percutaneous drainage of the pleural effusion yielding approximately 300 cc of fluid was also performed. Various intravenous and oral broad-spectrum antibiotics were administered with minimal clinical and hematologic improvements seen. After consulting with infectious disease specialists at the Naval Medical Center San Diego, intravenous ertapenem was administered once daily for 19 days. Additional supportive care included oral and IV fluids, mineral and vitamin supplementation, prophylactic oral antifungal therapy, and short course low-dose prednisolone for appetite stimulation. When the clinical and hematologic presentation improved, the animal was switched to Augmentin XR® (1000 mg amoxicillin/62.5 mg clavulanic acid) for 2 weeks. Follow-up ultrasound and CT scan showed resolution of the abscess. Aggressive IV antibiotic therapy is a valuable tool and should be considered as a viable treatment option when managing critical cases in cetaceans.
International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine, Sausalito, CA; 04/2013
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A routine pregnancy ultrasound examination of a 30-yr-old, multiparous, common bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, detected an approximately 16-wk (gestational age) fetus with an omphalocele, an abdominal wall defect at the base of the umbilical cord. Throughout the pregnancy, ultrasound allowed for identification of the omphalocele contents, which included a portion of the liver and intestinal loops. The maximum diameter of the omphalocele was 11.4 cm at an estimated 51-wk gestation. Color Doppler was utilized to study the blood flow within the omphalocele as well as diagnose an associated anomaly of the umbilical cord, which contained three vessels instead of four. Gross necropsy and histopathology confirmed the ultrasound diagnoses. This is the first report of an omphalocele in a T. truncatus fetus, and the first report of a fetal and umbilical cord anomaly diagnosed with ultrasound in a cetacean.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 03/2013; 44(1):87-92. DOI:10.2307/23361455 · 0.42 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Marine-origin Brucella infections and serologic evidence of exposure have been documented in multiple cetacean species. A dolphin-specific indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was developed to screen bottlenose dolphin sera for anti-Brucella antibodies. A total of 131 serum samples collected over a 2 to 18 yr period from 6 bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus with confirmed Brucella infections were analyzed for the presence and magnitude of antibody titers against marine-origin Brucella to compare individual antibody responses to various disease manifestations. Additionally, an epidemiologic serologic survey of a managed population of 64 bottlenose dolphins was performed to evaluate for the presence of antibodies and to determine whether there were any clinical pathology predictors for exposure or infection. The serologic results revealed that the dolphins with Brucella-associated abortions were seronegative for 7 to 18 yr until after the abortion and maintained positive titers for several years, with 2 of 3 animals returning to seronegative status. In contrast, the dolphins with Brucella-associated pulmonary or bone lesions maintained persistent positive titers for 2 to 18 yr. The population serosurvey revealed no significant differences in antibody levels among males and females, and dolphins between the ages of 17 and 25 yr were 6.8 times more likely to be Brucella antibody positive compared to those that were younger or older. Seropositive dolphins did not have significant inflammation compared to seronegative dolphins but were more likely to have higher levels of aspartate aminotransferase and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase. Among 16 dolphins that tested seropositive, 13 (81.3%) had previously been seropositive for at least 3 to 5 yr.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bottlenose dolphins can have iron overload (that is, hemochromatosis), and managed populations of dolphins may be more susceptible to this disease than are wild dolphins. Serum iron, total iron-binding capacity (TIBC), transferrin saturation, and ferritin were measured in 181 samples from 141 dolphins in 2 managed collections and 2 free-ranging populations. Although no iron indices increased with age among free-ranging dolphins, ferritin increased with age in managed collections. Dolphins from managed collections had higher iron, ferritin, and transferrin saturation values than did free-ranging dolphins. Dolphins with high serum iron (exceeding 300 μg/dL) were more likely to have elevated ferritin but not ceruloplasmin or haptoglobin, demonstrating that high serum levels of iron are due to a true increase in total body iron. A time-series study of 4 dolphins with hemochromatosis that were treated with phlebotomy demonstrated significant decreases in serum ferritin, iron, and TIBC between pre- and posttreatment samples; transferrin saturation initially fell but returned to prephlebotomy levels by 6 mo after treatment. Compared with those in managed collections, wild dolphins were 15 times more likely to have low serum iron (100 μg/dL or less), and this measure was associated with lower haptoglobin. In conclusion, bottlenose dolphins in managed collections are more likely to have greater iron stores than are free-ranging dolphins. Determining why this situation occurs among some dolphin populations and not others may improve the treatment of hemochromatosis in dolphins and provide clues to causes of nonhereditary hemochromatosis in humans.
Comparative medicine 12/2012; 62(6):508-15. · 0.74 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lung disease is common among wild and managed populations of bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus. The purpose of the study was to apply standardized techniques to the ultrasound evaluation of dolphin lungs, and to identify normal and abnormal sonographic findings associated with pleuropulmonary diseases. During a 5 yr period (2005 to 2010), 498 non-cardiac thoracic ultrasound exams were performed on bottlenose dolphins at the Navy Marine Mammal Program in San Diego, California, USA. Exams were conducted as part of routine physical exams, diagnostic workups, and disease monitoring. In the majority of routine exams, no abnormal pleural or pulmonary findings were detected with ultrasound. Abnormal findings were typically detected during non-routine exams to identify and track disease progression or resolution; therefore, abnormal results are overrepresented in the study. In order of decreasing prevalence, abnormal sonographic findings included evidence of alveolar-interstitial syndrome, pleural effusion, pulmonary masses, and pulmonary consolidation. Of these findings, alveolar-interstitial syndrome was generally nonspecific as it represented several possible disease states. Pairing ultrasound findings with clinical signs was critical to determine relevance. Pleural effusion, pulmonary masses, and pulmonary consolidation were relatively straightforward to diagnose and interpret. Further diagnostics were performed to obtain definitive diagnoses when appropriate, specifically ultrasound-guided thoracocentesis, fine needle aspirates, and lung biopsies, as well as radiographs and computed tomography (CT) exams. Occasionally, post mortem gross necropsy and histopathology data were available to provide confirmation of diagnoses. Thoracic ultrasound was determined to be a valuable diagnostic tool for detecting pleural and pulmonary diseases in dolphins.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess the regenerative properties and potential therapeutic value of adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) in the bottlenose dolphin, there is a need to determine whether an adequate adipose depot exists, in addition to the development of a standardized technique for minimally invasive adipose collection. In this study, an ultrasound-guided liposuction technique for adipose collection was assessed for its safety and efficacy. The ultrasound was utilized to identify and measure the postnuchal adipose depot and aid in the guidance of the liposuction cannula during aspiration. Liposuction procedures from 6 dolphins yielded 0.9-12.7 g of adipose. All samples yielded sufficient nucleated cells to initiate primary cell cultures, and at passage 2, were successfully differentiated into adipogenic, chondrogenic, neurogenic, and osteogenic cell lineages. The cultured dolphin cells expressed known stem-cell-associated CD markers, CD44 and CD90. Ultrasound-guided liposuction proved to be a safe and minimally invasive procedure that resulted in the successful isolation of ASCs in bottlenose dolphins. This is the first article that conclusively establishes the presence of stem cells in the dolphin.
Stem cells and development 04/2012; 21(16):2949-57. DOI:10.1089/scd.2012.0039 · 3.73 Impact Factor