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.
The anti-GnRH immunotherapeutic product Improvest was administered to intact male large flying foxes (Pteropus vampyrus) under managed care for androgen mitigation, leading to a decrease in agonistic behaviors, falls, and injuries from conspecific attention.
12 males were included in this study.
Eleven bats received subcutaneous (SC) Improvest interscapular, and 1 animal received Improvest SC in its leg. Assessments included clinical presentation, treatment, behavior, and urine and fecal glucocorticoid metabolites and testosterone (T5) concentrations.
Eleven of the 12 bats developed reactions, which included facial edema, localized irritation, swelling of the head and neck, and pruritus with varying degrees of skin ulceration and subsequent necrosis. Three of the animals required extensive treatments, and the 1 animal who received the injection in its leg was unaffected. Posttreatment, fecal glucocorticoid metabolite and/or T5 values were at or below the nonbreeding season baseline for 3 successive breeding seasons, and there was a reduction in agonistic interactions, falls, and injuries.
A behavioral characteristic of this species is to focus on areas of irritation that exacerbated the extent of the skin wounds. Some cases required medical, surgical, and behavioral intervention. Large flying foxes may be particularly sensitive to this immunotherapeutic when given subcutaneously in the interscapular region. Despite this reaction, the positive long-term effects on behavior and multiyear reduction of hormones suggest that the use of this immunotherapeutic warrants further investigation, although the results should be taken into consideration with other factors such as handling, treatments, chronicity of lesions.