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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association



A 19-year-old male bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) presented with inappetence and avoidant behavior.


Ultrasound revealed a large-volume left-sided pleural effusion, which was consistent with chronic nonchylous lymphatic effusion and mild chronic hemorrhage by cytology. Computed tomography identified ipsilateral rib fractures, atelectasis, nodular pleuritis, marginal lymph node enlargement, and suspected dilation of the thoracic duct and internal thoracic veins. Fifteen lipids were significantly higher in serum of the dolphin as compared with controls (n = 3) using nontargeted lipidomics.


A series of thoracentesis procedures were performed. Follow-up CT demonstrated marked reduction in pleural effusion with persistence of thoracic duct dilation and mass-like areas of pleural thickening. Ultrasonographic resolution of pleural effusion occurred 14 months after presentation; however, recrudescence was noted 5 months later. Over a total of 24 months, 21.52 L of pleural effusion was removed. Despite the presence of pleural effusion, the patient was clinically stable during this time and quality of life was considered good on the basis of continuous animal welfare evaluations. Humane euthanasia was elected following acute clinical decline 27 months after initial diagnosis. Necropsy confirmed severe pleural effusion, chronic severe pleural fibrosis with chronic hemorrhage, and mediastinal fibrosis with entrapped lymph nodes and thymic tissue.


Pleuritis and effusion were suspected sequelae of previous rib fractures. To our knowledge, this is the first report of nonchylous lymphatic pleural effusion with repeated pleural drainage and diagnostic imaging for clinical management in a bottlenose dolphin.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine risk factors for lens luxation and cataracts in captive pinnipeds in the United States and the Bahamas.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—111 pinnipeds (99 California sea lions [Zalophus californianus], 10 harbor seals [Phoca vitulina], and 2 walruses [Odobenus rosmarus]) from 9 facilities.

Procedures—Eyes of each pinniped were examined by a veterinary ophthalmologist for the presence of cataracts or lens luxations and photographed. Information detailing husbandry practices, history, and facilities was collected with a questionnaire, and descriptive statistical analyses were performed for continuous and categorical variables. Odds ratios and associated 95% confidence intervals were estimated from the final model.

Results—Risk factors for lens luxation, cataracts, or both included age ≥ 15 years, history of fighting, history of ocular disease, and insufficient access to shade.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Diseases of the lens commonly affect captive pinnipeds. Access to UV-protective shade, early identification and medical management of ocular diseases, and prevention of fighting can limit the frequency or severity of lens-related disease in this population. An extended life span may result from captivity, but this also allows development of pathological changes associated with aging, including cataracts.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association