To characterize physical examination, plasma biochemical, and ultrasonographic findings in aquarium-housed, managed semiwild, and wild southern stingrays (Hypanus americanus) with and without reproductive disease.
Southern stingrays from aquarium (n = 48), lagoon (managed semiwild; 34), and wild (12) habitats.
Limited, opportunistic prosections were performed of presumed anatomically normal wild southern stingrays and compared with findings for aquarium-housed stingrays with reproductive disease. Ultrasonographic video data from both groups were used to assign a score (1 to 5) indicating increasing severity of ovarian and uterine reproductive disease. Plasma total 17β-estradiol, estrone, progesterone, and testosterone concentrations were measured with enzyme immunoassays validated for use in southern stingrays.
Ultrasonographic ovarian scores were significantly correlated with uterine scores. No reproductive disease was detected in semiwild or wild stingrays, but 65% (31/48) of aquarium-housed stingrays had developing or advanced reproductive disease (ie, ultrasonographic ovarian or uterine score of 4 or 5). Significant correlations were identified between ovarian and uterine disease status and plasma concentrations of all steroid hormones except testosterone.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Findings suggested that ultrasonography and plasma hormone concentrations may be useful in the identification of reproductive disease and determination of disease severity in southern stingrays.