Procedure—Praziquantel was administered orally as
a single dose (25 and 50 mg/kg) to 2 groups of turtles;
a multiple-dose study was then performed in which 6
turtles received 3 doses of praziquantel (25 mg/kg,
PO) at 3-hour intervals. Blood samples were collected
from all turtles before and at intervals after drug
administration for assessment of plasma praziquantel
concentrations. Pharmacokinetic analyses included
maximum observed plasma concentration (Cmax),
time to maximum concentration (Tmax), area under the
plasma praziquantel concentration-time curve, and
mean residence time (MRTt).
Results—Large interanimal variability in plasma praziquantel
concentrations was observed for all dosages.
One turtle that received 50 mg of praziquantel/kg
developed skin lesions within 48 hours of administration.
After administration of 25 or 50 mg of praziquantel/
kg, mean plasma concentrations were below
the limit of quantification after 24 hours. In the multiple-
dose group of turtles, mean plasma concentration
was 90 ng/mL at the last sampling time-point (48
hours after the first of 3 doses). In the single-dose
study, mean Cmax and Tmax with dose were not significantly
different between doses. After administration
of multiple doses of praziquantel, only MRTt was significantly
increased, compared with values after
administration of a single 25-mg dose.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Oral administration
of 25 mg of praziquantel/kg 3 times at 3-hour
intervals may be appropriate for treatment of loggerhead
sea turtles with spirorchidiasis. (Am J Vet Res 2003;64:304–309)
Objective—To develop mouse monoclonal and rabbit
polyclonal antibodies against immunoglobulin of
Argentine boa constrictors and to demonstrate the
ability of these reagents to detect antibody responses
in boa constrictors by use of an ELISA and western
Procedure—Boa constrictors were immunized with
2,4-dinitrophenylated bovine serum albumin (DNP-BSA).
Each snake received biweekly inoculations of
250 µg of DNP-BSA (half SC, half IP) for a total of 6
inoculations followed by monthly inoculations for 3
months. Preimmune blood samples were collected.
Subsequently, blood was collected immediately prior
to each booster inoculation. Anti-DNP antibodies
were isolated from immune plasma samples by affinity
chromatography. Affinity-purified boa anti-DNP
immunoglobulin was used for production of polyclonal
and monoclonal antibodies. An ELISA and western
blot analysis were used to monitor immune responses,
for purification of boa anti-DNP immunoglobulin,
and for assessment of polyclonal and monoclonal
Results—A 6-fold increase in optical density (OD405)
of immune boa plasma, compared with preimmune
plasma, was detected by the polyclonal antibody, and
a 12- and 15-fold increase was detected by monoclonal
antibodies HL1787 and HL1785, respectively,
between weeks 4 and 8. Results of western blot
analysis confirmed anti-DNP antibody activity in
immunized boa plasma and in affinity column eluates.
Polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies detected specific
anti-DNP antibody responses in immunized boas.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Polyclonal
and monoclonal antibodies recognized boa constrictor
immunoglobulin. These antibodies may be useful in
serologic tests to determine exposure of snakes to
pathogens. (Am J Vet Res 2003;64:388–395)
Objective—To describe the gross cross-sectional
anatomy of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and evaluate
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for detection
of internal tumors in green turtles with cutaneous
Animals—3 dead green turtles, 1 healthy green turtle,
and 8 green turtles with cutaneous fibropapillomatosis.
Procedures—Gross cross-sectional anatomy of a
dead turtle was described. Each live turtle underwent
a complete physical examination, and dorsoventral
whole-body survey radiographic views were obtained.
Magnetic resonance imaging was performed in dorsal
and transverse planes. Radiographs and magnetic
resonance images were examined for evidence of
internal nodules. Results were compared with
necropsy findings in 5 of 8 turtles.
Results—Nodules in the lungs of 2 turtles were
detected via radiography, whereas pulmonary nodules
were detected in 5 turtles via MRI. No other visceral
nodules were detected via radiography; however,
masses in the stomach and adjacent to the bladder
and kidneys were detected in 1 turtle via MRI. Other
extrapulmonary abnormalities observed at necropsy
were not detected on MR images.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—MRI may be
valuable for detection of internal tumors in green turtles
with cutaneous fibropapillomatosis. Nodules
were more apparent in the lungs than in other organs.
Results of MRI may serve as prognostic indicators for
sea turtles undergoing assessment, treatment, and
rehabilitation. Clinical application may be limited by
cost and availability of MRI technology. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;225:1428–1435)
Objective—To determine reference intervals for concentrations of plasma total protein (TP) and electrophoretogram fractions (ELFs) for healthy, wild loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) and green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and to assess relationships between TP and ELF concentrations and health status, body size, body mass, and water temperature.
Animals—437 healthy and 35 ill Atlantic loggerhead sea turtles and 152 healthy and 3 ill Atlantic green turtles.
Procedures—Free-ranging turtles were captured from a nuclear power plant intake canal in southern Florida. Plasma samples were obtained from all turtles. Plasma TP and ELF concentrations were measured, and reference intervals were calculated. Wilcoxon rank-sum tests were used to compare TP and ELF values between healthy and ill loggerhead sea turtles. Spearman rank correlations were evaluated between concentrations of TP and ELFs and carapace length, body mass, and water temperature.
Results—Reference intervals for TP concentrations were 2.2 to 5.2 g/dL and 2.0 to 5.4 g/dL for loggerhead sea turtles and green turtles, respectively. Except for γ-globulin, concentrations of ELFs were significantly higher in healthy than in ill loggerhead sea turtles. There was a positive correlation between TP, α-globulin, β-globulin, and γ-globulin concentrations and water temperature in loggerhead sea turtles and between only TP and α-globulin concentrations and water temperature in green turtles.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Reference intervals for concentrations of TP and ELFs for healthy, free-ranging loggerhead sea turtles and green turtles can be used in combination with other diagnostic tools to assess health status of sea turtles.
Objective—To identify risk factors that may predispose
California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) to
development of cutaneous poxvirus nodules during
hospitalization in a rehabilitation center.
Design—Retrospective case-control study.
Animals—90 California sea lions admitted to a rehabilitation
Procedure—Hospital records of 275 stranded
California sea lions admitted to the rehabilitation center
between January 1 and December 31, 2002, were
reviewed. All California sea lions (n = 18) that developed
≥ 1 cutaneous poxvirus nodule during hospitalization
were classified as cases. Seventy-two
California sea lions that did not develop poxvirus
lesions during hospitalization were randomly selected
(control group). The frequencies of various exposure
factors prior to admission, at admission, and during
hospitalization for cases and control sea lions were
compared by use of logistic regression.
Results—California sea lions that had previously been
admitted to the rehabilitation center were 43 times as
likely to develop poxvirus lesions as sea lions admitted
for the first time; those with high band neutrophil
counts (> 0.69 × 103 bands/μL) at admission were 20
times less likely to develop poxvirus lesions than sea
lions with counts within reference limits.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest
that sea lions with a history of prior hospitalization
or band neutrophil counts within reference limits
at admission were more likely to develop poxvirus
lesions during hospitalization. Sea lions with histories
of hospitalization should be kept in quarantine and
infection control measures implemented to help prevent
disease transmission to attending personnel and
other hospitalized animals. (J Am Vet Med Assoc
Objective—To determine blood cell morphologic
characteristics and hematologic and plasma biochemical
reference ranges for iguanas housed in a warm
indoor and outdoor environment with regular exposure
to direct sunlight.
Animals—51 clinically normal iguanas (18 males, 25
females, and 8 juveniles) housed in 3 Florida locations.
Procedure—Blood was collected from the coccygeal
or ventral abdominal vein. Any samples that
had obvious hemolysis or clot formation were not
used. Leukocyte counts were determined manually;
other hematologic values were obtained by use
of a commercially available cell counter. Plasma
biochemical values were determined by use of a
spectrophotometric chemistry analyzer. Blood
smears were stained with Wright-Giemsa and cytochemical
stains for morphologic and cytochemical
Results—Hematologic ranges were generally higher
in this study than previously reported. Thrombocytes
were variable in appearance between individuals and
sometimes difficult to distinguish from lymphocytes
on a Wright-Giemsa preparation. Concentrations of
calcium, phosphorus, total protein, globulins, and cholesterol
were significantly higher, and the
albumin:globulin ratio was significantly lower, in
healthy gravid females than in male or nongravid
female iguanas. Nongravid females had significantly
higher calcium and cholesterol concentrations, compared
with males. The calcium:phosphorus ratio was
> 1 in all iguanas. Gravid females had a calcium phosphorus
product ranging between 210 and 800. Intracytoplasmic
inclusions were identified within the erythrocytes
of some iguanas.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Hematologic
ranges for iguanas in this study are higher than those
reported for iguanas. Sex and age of the iguana
should be considered when evaluating biochemical
values. Healthy ovulating and gravid females may
have significantly increased electrolyte and protein
concentrations, but maintain a calcium:phosphorus
ratio > 1. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:915–921)
Objectives—To characterize protein composition of
shell scute of desert tortoises and to determine
whether detectable differences could be used to
identify healthy tortoises from tortoises with certain
Animals—20 desert tortoises.
Procedures—Complete postmortem examinations
were performed on all tortoises. Plastron scute proteins
were solubilized, scute proteins were separated
by use of sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel
electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), and proteins were analyzed,
using densitometry. Two-dimensional immobilized
pH gradient-PAGE (2D IPG-PAGE) and
immunoblot analysis, using polyclonal antisera to
chicken-feather β keratin and to alligator-scale β keratin,
were conducted on representative samples. The
14-kd proteins were analyzed for amino acid composition.
Results—The SDS-PAGE and densitometry revealed
7 distinct bands, each with a mean relative protein
concentration of > 1%, ranging from 8 to 47 kd, and
a major protein component of approximately 14 kd
that constituted up to 75% of the scute protein. The
2D IPG-PAGE revealed additional distinct 62- and 68-
kd protein bands. On immunoblot analysis, the 14-,
32-, and 45-kd proteins reacted with both antisera.
The 14-kd proteins had an amino acid composition
similar to that of chicken β keratins. There was a substantial
difference in the percentage of the major 14-
kd proteins from scute of ill tortoises with normal
appearing shells, compared with 14-kd proteins of
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The major
protein components of shell scute of desert tortoises
have amino acid composition and antigenic features
of β keratins. Scute protein composition may be
altered in tortoises with certain systemic illnesses.
( Am J Vet Res 2001;62:104–110)
Objective—To characterize retroviruses isolated from
boid snakes with inclusion body disease (IBD).
Animals—2 boa constrictors with IBD and 1 boa
exposed to an affected snake.
Procedure—Snakes were euthanatized, and tissue
specimens and blood samples were submitted for
virus isolation. Tissue specimens were cultured with
or without commercially available viper heart cells and
examined by use of transmission electron
microscopy (TEM) for evidence of viral replication.
Reverse transcriptase activity was determined in
sucrose gradient-purified virus. Western blotting was
performed, using polyclonal antibodies against 1 of
the isolated viruses. Specificity of the rabbit anti-virus
antibody was evaluated, using an immunogold-labeling
Results—3 viruses (RV-1, RV-2, and RV-3) were isolated.
The isolates were morphologically comparable
to members of the Retroviridae family. Reverse transcriptase
activity was high in sucrose gradient fractions
that were rich in virus. Polyclonal antibody
against RV-1 reacted with proteins of similar relative
mobility in RV-1 and RV-2. By use of immunogold
labeling, this antibody also recognized virions of both
RV-1 and RV-2.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—A retrovirus
was isolated from boid snakes with IBD or exposed
to IBD. Western blot analysis of viral proteins indicated
that viruses isolated from the different snakes
were similar. Whether this virus represents the
causative agent of IBD is yet to be determined. The
isolation of retroviruses from boid snakes with IBD is
an important step in the process of identifying the
causative agent of this disease. (Am J Vet Res