Factors associated with keratopathy in captive pinnipeds

Carmen M. H. Colitz 1All Animal Eye Care Inc and Jupiter Pet Emergency and Specialty Center, 505 Commerce Way, Jupiter, FL 33458.

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William J. A. Saville 2Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Michael T. Walsh 3Aquatic Animal Health Program, Department of Comparative, Diagnostic, and Population Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610.

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Ed Latson 4Central Park Aquatic Health, 2715 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14214.
1All Animal Eye Care Inc and Jupiter Pet Emergency and Specialty Center, 505 Commerce Way, Jupiter, FL 33458.
2Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.
3Aquatic Animal Health Program, Department of Comparative, Diagnostic, and Population Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610.
4Central Park Aquatic Health, 2715 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14214.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE To identify factors associated with keratopathy in captive pinnipeds and to provide guidance for preventive measures.

ANIMALS 319 captive pinnipeds (229 otariids [sea lions and fur seals], 74 phocids [true seals], and 16 odobenids [walrus]) from 25 facilities.

PROCEDURES Descriptive data collected from questionnaires completed by facilities and from medical records and physical examinations of pinnipeds were compiled and evaluated. Variables were assessed with χ2 tests of homogeneity to determine potential association with keratopathy, and variables with values of P ≤ 0.25 were inserted into the multivariable logistic regression model.

RESULTS Results indicated that variables associated with significantly increased odds of keratopathy in captive pinnipeds included lighter or reflective pool color (OR, 2.11; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.20 to 3.97), pool water salinity < 29 g/L (OR, 3.48; 95% CI, 1.89 to 6.56), and history of eye disease (OR, 3.30; 95% CI, 1.85 to 5.98), trauma (OR, 3.80; 95% CI, 1.72 to 8.89), and having been tested for leptospirosis (OR, 3.83; 95% CI, 1.54 to 10.26). However, odds of keratopathy decreased with UV index ≤ 6 (OR, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.2 to 0.72) and age < 20 years (OR, 0.32; 95% CI, 0.15 to 0.66).

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Findings indicated that odds of keratopathy in pinnipeds could be reduced by maintenance of pool water salinity ≥ 29 g/L and reduction of UV radiation exposure (eg, with adequate shade structures and use of darker, natural colors). Because UV radiation exposure is cumulative, even small attempts to reduce lifetime exposure to it could help control keratopathy in pinnipeds.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To identify factors associated with keratopathy in captive pinnipeds and to provide guidance for preventive measures.

ANIMALS 319 captive pinnipeds (229 otariids [sea lions and fur seals], 74 phocids [true seals], and 16 odobenids [walrus]) from 25 facilities.

PROCEDURES Descriptive data collected from questionnaires completed by facilities and from medical records and physical examinations of pinnipeds were compiled and evaluated. Variables were assessed with χ2 tests of homogeneity to determine potential association with keratopathy, and variables with values of P ≤ 0.25 were inserted into the multivariable logistic regression model.

RESULTS Results indicated that variables associated with significantly increased odds of keratopathy in captive pinnipeds included lighter or reflective pool color (OR, 2.11; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.20 to 3.97), pool water salinity < 29 g/L (OR, 3.48; 95% CI, 1.89 to 6.56), and history of eye disease (OR, 3.30; 95% CI, 1.85 to 5.98), trauma (OR, 3.80; 95% CI, 1.72 to 8.89), and having been tested for leptospirosis (OR, 3.83; 95% CI, 1.54 to 10.26). However, odds of keratopathy decreased with UV index ≤ 6 (OR, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.2 to 0.72) and age < 20 years (OR, 0.32; 95% CI, 0.15 to 0.66).

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Findings indicated that odds of keratopathy in pinnipeds could be reduced by maintenance of pool water salinity ≥ 29 g/L and reduction of UV radiation exposure (eg, with adequate shade structures and use of darker, natural colors). Because UV radiation exposure is cumulative, even small attempts to reduce lifetime exposure to it could help control keratopathy in pinnipeds.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Appendix S1 (PDF 131 kb)
    • Supplementary Table S1 (PDF 221 kb)

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Colitz (chcolitz@gmail.com).

†Deceased.

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