Stephen Raverty

Stephen Raverty
Ministry of Health, British Columbia

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

About

137
Publications
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2,054
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Publications

Publications (137)
Article
Cetaceans have massive vascular plexuses (retia mirabilia) whose function is unknown. All cerebral blood flow passes through these retia, and we hypothesize that they protect cetacean brains from locomotion-generated pulsatile blood pressures. We propose that cetaceans have evolved a pulse-transfer mechanism that minimizes pulsatility in cerebral a...
Article
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Mucorales infections are increasing in frequency and are a One Health pathogen of concern. In humans and domestic animals, risk factors include being immunocompromised, elevated circulating serum iron, contaminated open wounds, or metabolic diseases such as ketoacidosis or uncontrolled diabetes. Mucormycosis was first identified in 2012 in Pacific...
Article
Abandoned harbour seal pups (Phoca vitulina) are frequently recovered by rehabilitation centres and often require intensive nursing, gavage feeding and swallowing rehabilitation prior to anticipated release. Seal upper aerodigestive tract (UAT) histology descriptions relevant to deglutition are limited, impacting advances in rehabilitation practice...
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Cryptococcus gattii is a fungal pathogen that primarily affects the respiratory and nervous systems of humans and other animals. C. gattii emerged in temperate North America in 1999 as a multispecies outbreak of cryptococcosis in British Columbia (Canada) and Washington State and Oregon (USA), affecting humans, domestic animals, and wildlife. Here...
Article
Sarcocystis spp. are protozoan parasites that cause a spectrum of lesions in various hosts. Hepatic sarcocystosis and encephalitis have been described in captive American black bears (Ursus americanus) and polar bears (Ursus maritimus), and in a free-ranging grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis), but have not previously been reported in free-rangi...
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Cetacean morbillivirus (CeMV) is a global threat to cetaceans. We report a novel morbillivirus from a Fraser’s dolphin ( Lagenodelphis hosei ) that stranded in Maui, Hawaii in 2018 that is dissimilar to the beaked whale morbillivirus previously identified from Hawaii and to other CeMV strains. Histopathological findings included intranuclear inclus...
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As part of an ongoing investigation of harbor seal ( Phoca vitulina ) mortalities within Puget Sound, Washington State, United States, between October 2007 and July 2008, 25 seal cases were submitted for histopathology and ancillary diagnostic testing, including additional attempted virus isolation. In vitro granular and refractile cytopathic effec...
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Postmortem data for harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardsii) in the Salish Sea were analyzed for epidemiologic trends in congenital diseases. Cleft palate, cleft lips, or both (n=8) and cardiac defects (n=5) were the most common congenital abnormalities, followed by cases with multiple defects (n=4). No temporal trends or spatial clusters of cases...
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Documenting human impacts on marine mammals is critical for understanding and mitigating harm. Although propeller strike injuries in small marine mammals are often debilitating and fatal, little is known about the occurrence or demographics of these types of injuries in pinniped populations. Using data of stranded harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) in t...
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Whaling has decimated North Atlantic right whales Eubalaena glacialis (NARW) since the 11th century and southern right whales E. australis (SRW) since the 19th century. Today, NARWs are Critically Endangered and decreasing, whereas SRWs are recovering. We review NARW health assessment literature, NARW Consortium databases, and efforts and limitatio...
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The seal picornavirus 1, species Aquamavirus A, is currently the only recognized member of the genus Aquamavirus within the family Picornaviridae. The bear picornavirus 1 was recently proposed as the second species in the genus under the name aquamavirus B. Herein, we determined the complete genomes of two novel pinniped picornaviruses, the harbor...
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Effective 'valving' in the upper aerodigestive tract (UAT) is essential to temporarily separate the digestive and respiratory pathways. Marine mammals are largely dedicated to feeding underwater, and in many cases swallowing prey whole. In seals, little work has been done to explore the anatomy and function of the upper aerodigestive tract in the c...
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Retrospective analysis of diagnostic findings from 30 marine-foraging river otter ( Lontra canadensis) carcasses opportunistically acquired between 2003 and 2013 revealed trauma as the most common cause of mortality (47%). Within this focal population, causes of trauma included vehicular, gunshot, and one case of suspect intraspecific aggression. O...
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The harbor seal (Phoca vitulina richardii) population in the Salish Sea has been at equilibrium since the mid-1990s. This stable population of marine mammals resides relatively close to shore near a large human population and offers a novel opportunity to evaluate whether disease acts in a density-dependent manner to limit population growth. We con...
Article
Guadalupe fur seals (GFS), Arctocephalus philippii townsendi, an U.S. Endangered Species Act threatened pinniped, have recently reappeared in their historic range along the western seaboard of the continental United States. Starting 2005 through 2016, 169 GFSs stranded in Washington and Oregon, involving two designated unusual mortality events. The...
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Animal-borne electronic instruments (tags) are valuable tools for collecting information on cetacean physiology, behaviour and ecology, and for enhancing conservation and management policies for cetacean populations. Tags allow researchers to track the movement patterns, habitat use and other aspects of the behaviour of animals that are otherwise d...
Poster
Despite extensive research on the morphology of the cetacean respiratory system (reviewed in Piscitelli et al., 2013), there is still considerable mystery of how this system has mechanically adapted to a strictly aquatic environment and to withstand both rapid and extreme pressure changes associated with ventilation and diving. In this study, we sh...
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Approximately 5,000 Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardii) reside year-round in San Juan County (SJC), Washington (USA) in the center of the binational Salish Sea. We retrospectively analyzed total cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), mercury (Hg), magnesium (Mg), manganese (Mn), lead (Pb), selenium (Se), and zinc (Zn) in livers of dead s...
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Accounts of killer whale (Orcinus orca) predation on marine mammals in the Canadian Arctic are relatively uncommon. Although second-hand reports of killer whale predation events in the Arctic are more common in recent years, these observations are generally poorly documented and the outcome of attacks are often unknown. On 12 August 2016, a floatin...
Conference Paper
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Through consultations with veterinarians and experts, NOAA Fisheries in the U.S. and Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in Canada worked closely with many partners and authorized an emergency response, which resulted in the first-ever attempt to provide veterinary care for a free-ranging SRKW (J50).
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Killer whales (Orcinus orca) occur seasonally in the eastern Canadian Arctic during the summer months. Increasing killer whale sightings throughout the region, and incursions into areas where they have not historically been observed, have been linked with declining sea ice, which has raised questions about the potential ecological impacts of a grea...
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Carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were disposed directly into the Saguenay River of the St. Lawrence Estuary (SLE) by local aluminum smelters (Quebec, Canada) for 50 years (1926–1976). PAHs in the river sediments are likely etiologically related to gastrointestinal epithelial cancers observed in 7% of 156 mature (>19‐year old) ad...
Article
A free-ranging juvenile California sea lion ( Zalophus californianus) stranded on the coast of Vancouver, British Columbia, with signs of lethargy and emaciation in April 2016. An asymmetrical skull with a prominent superficial cervical lymph node was found on initial assessment. Fine-needle aspirates and biopsies of the lymph node were consistent...
Article
Respiratory disease is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in cetaceans, which are also threatened by environmental degradation caused by crude oil spills. Following oil spills, cetaceans at the water surface may inhale droplets of oil containing toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which could potentially alter respiratory immu...
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A sphincter on the inferior vena cava can protect the heart of a diving mammal from overload when elevated abdominal pressures increase venous return, yet sphincters are reported incompetent or absent in some cetacean species. We previously hypothesized that abdominal pressures are elevated and pulsatile in fluking cetaceans, and that collagen is d...
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Each spring, most Bowhead Whales (Balaena mysticetus) of the Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort (BCB) population migrate to the Canadian Beaufort Sea and Amundsen Gulf for summer feeding. Occasionally, Inuvialuit hunters and others observe beachcast (stranded) or adrift Bowhead Whale carcasses. From 1987 to 2016, 26 such occurrences were recorded. Most (65%)...
Article
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We evaluated harbor porpoise ( Phocoena phocoena L., 1758) strandings in the Salish Sea to determine calving seasonality (1980-2015). A total of 443 strandings were analyzed, of which 134 were calves and 53 neonates. Stranded calves were reported every month, but peaked in July, August, and September. Based on fetal size and an estimated fetal grow...
Article
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Peribullar sinuses of harbour porpoises Phocoena phocoena are parasitized with high prevalence by the nematode Stenurus minor. The effect of S. minor on the hearing ability of this species is still undetermined. Here, we review the occurrence of S. minor in the inner ear of harbour porpoises recovered from strandings in the North and Baltic Seas. I...
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In the Salish Sea, the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) is a high trophic indicator of ecosystem health. Three major threats have been identified for this population: reduced prey availability, anthropogenic contaminants, and marine vessel disturbances. These perturbations can culminate in significant morbidity and mortality, usuall...
Article
Streptococcus phocae is a pathogen of marine mammals, although its pathogenicity remains poorly understood. Recovery of this bacterium from asymptomatic carriers suggests that it is an opportunistic pathogen. We investigated the role of S. phocae in naturally occurring disease and its significance as a pathogen based on postmortem investigations. B...
Article
Internal pressures change throughout a cetacean's body during swimming or diving, and uneven pressures between the thoracic and abdominal compartments can affect the cardiovascular system. Pressure differentials could arise from ventral compression on each fluke downstroke or by a faster equilibration of the abdominal compartment with changing ambi...
Article
An approximately 10-yr-old adult female whitespotted bamboo shark (Chiloscyllium plagiosum) presented with a smooth, white, irregular, ulcerated, and expansile lesion on the left lateral aspect of the maxillary rostrum. The lesion had short periods of abrupt and rapid proliferation and then remained static for several months. Cytology and culture w...
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Anesthesia and surgery in cetaceans have inherent risks and have rarely been utilized as viable treatment options. This report represents the first known multidisciplinary team approach to emergency laparotomy in a compromised, 22-yr-old, female Pacific white-sided dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens). The inciting clinical signs and ancillary diag...
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Assessment of the impact of noise over-exposure in stranded cetaceans is challenging, as the lesions that lead to hearing loss occur at the cellular level and inner ear cells are very sensitive to autolysis. Distinguishing ante-mortem pathology from post-mortem change has been a major constraint in diagnosing potential impact. Here, we outline a me...
Article
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Neoplasia affecting a variety of tissues has been documented in many fish species. However, there are few reports of neoplasia in the common clownfish, Amphiprion ocellaris. An adult female clownfish in a public display aquarium was diagnosed with a locally invasive tubular carcinoma. The tumour was characterised by well-differentiated tubules supp...
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Cryptococcosis has been reported in marine mammals in the northeastern Pacific with increasing frequency in the last 15 yr. Although a variety of cetaceans have been diagnosed with cryptococcosis, Cryptococcus gattii has not been reported in pinnipeds. We document C. gattii VGIIa in a harbor seal ( Phoca vitulina ) pup and in an unrelated adult. Bo...
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An unusual mortality event (UME) involving primarily common bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus of all size classes stranding along coastal Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, USA, started in early 2010 and continued into 2014. During this northern Gulf of Mexico UME, a distinct cluster of perinatal dolphins (total body length <115 cm) stranded...
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There is increasing public interest in the overall health of the marine environment. Harbor porpoises Phocoena phocoena have a coastal distribution, and stranded animals function as sentinels for population and ecosystem health. The goal of this retrospective study was to join datasets from the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific coasts of Canada...
Article
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In July 2013, a stranded harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) died giving birth to conjoined fetuses. The twins were joined at the abdomen and thoracolumbar spine with the vertebral axis at 180°. The cause of this unique anomaly-a first for this species-was not identified.
Conference Paper
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Streptococcus phocae is a known pathogen of marine mammals; however, recovery of this bacterium from healthy and asymptomatic animals commonly occurs. This study investigates the role of S. phocae in naturally acquired disease, and its significance in post-mortem bacteriological testing, neither of which has been well established. Post-mortem inves...
Conference Paper
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An adult female Pacific white sided dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens) presented with an abrupt change in demeanor Sunday, May 24, 2015. She was inappetant and unresponsive to trainers, with no observed defecations. She did not respond to oral fluids or antibiotics and within 3 days had developed peritoneal effusion and severe, progressive fluid...
Article
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In 2006, a marked increase in harbor porpoise Phocoena phocoena strandings were reported in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, resulting in the declaration of an unusual mortality event (UME) for Washington and Oregon to facilitate investigation into potential causes. The UME was in place during all of 2006 and 2007, and a total of 114 porpoises str...
Article
Between 1998 and 2008, 15 cases of segmental to diffuse hemorrhagic to necrohemorrhagic enterocolitis were diagnosed in neonatal and weaned juvenile harbor seals ( Phoca vitulina ) presented from the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre for rehabilitation. Based on a combination of gross pathology, histopathology, bacterial isolation, and...
Article
Sarcocystis neurona is an important cause of protozoal encephalitis among marine mammals in the northeastern Pacific Ocean. To characterize the genetic type of S. neurona in this region, samples from 227 stranded marine mammals, most with clinical or pathological evidence of protozoal disease, were tested for the presence of coccidian parasites usi...
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The endangered Cook Inlet (Alaska, USA) stock of beluga whales Delphinapterus leucas declined 47% between 1994 and 1998, from an estimated 653 whales to 347 whales, with a continued decline to approximately 312 in 2012. Between 1998 and 2013, 164 known dead strandings were reported by the National Marine Fisheries Service. Only 38 of these animals,...
Conference Paper
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Since the late 1990s, cryptococcosis has been an emerging disease of humans and animals in the Pacific Northwest. Since first being discovered on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, the incidence of Cryptococcus gattii in western Canada is now among the highest worldwide. 1 C. gattii has been documented in a variety of wildlife and domestic species...
Article
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Marine mammals are repeatedly exposed to elevated extra-thoracic pressure and alveolar collapse during diving and readily experience alveolar expansion upon inhalation-a unique capability as compared to terrestrial mammals. How marine mammal lungs overcome the challenges of frequent alveolar collapse and recruitment remains unknown. Recent studies...
Article
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We report a fatal diphenhydramine poisoning of a 10-year-old, male poodle-cross dog with pre-existing conditions and suspected co-ingestion of ethanol. This case illustrates that diphenhydramine overdose can be fatal in certain circumstances and that analytical toxicology may play an important role in animal death investigations.
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During an ongoing physiological ecology study on pups and adult female northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris, Gill, 1866) on the mainland rookery at Año Nuevo State Reserve (California), an opportunity was afforded to collect fresh dead pups for parasitology and necropsy. The investigation was undertaken to delineate the causes of death...
Conference Paper
There are 29 putative populations of beluga worldwide with 5 distinct groups in Alaska and 7 in Canada. There are healthy robust, diminished but stable, and declining beluga populations throughout their ranges. These animals are predominantly circumpolar, subsistence hunted in Canada, Alaska, Russia and Greenland and integral to the natural history...
Article
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Cetaceans possess diverse adaptations in respiratory structure and mechanics that are highly specialized for an array of surfacing and diving behaviors. Some of these adaptations and air management strategies are still not completely understood despite over a century of study. We have compiled the historical and contemporary knowledge of cetacean l...
Article
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In 1994 a novel Brucella sp., later named B. pinnipedialis, was identified in stranded harbor seals (Phoca vitulina). This Brucella sp. is a potential zoonotic pathogen and is capable of causing disease in domestic animals. Serologic, microbiologic, and pathologic data collected from live captured and stranded harbor seals were used to better descr...