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Abstract

CASE DESCRIPTION

A 12-year-old sexually intact male zoo-managed Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) was evaluated for a 3-day history of vomiting, hyporexia, and lethargy. Radiographs were supportive of gastrointestinal obstruction, and an exploratory laparotomy was performed.

CLINICAL FINDINGS

Diffuse tan foci were present on the liver parenchyma, and the tiger became icteric throughout the procedure. Hepatic histopathology and immunohistochemistry resulted in a diagnosis of leptospirosis. Serum microagglutination testing for Leptospira spp antibody titers were positive for L kirschneri serovar Grippotyphosa, rising from 1:400 to 1:3,200 in 2 days.

TREATMENT AND OUTCOME

The tiger was treated with antimicrobials, ursodiol, and mirtazapine, and increased biosecurity measures were instituted. Free-ranging wildlife on grounds were trapped, euthanized, and submitted for necropsy to screen for disease vectors. The tiger’s urine was intermittently opportunistically collected from the enclosure and remained PCR assay negative for Leptospira spp until being positive once again on day 595. Although the tiger was without clinical signs at that time, antimicrobial therapy and increased biosecurity protocols were instituted a second time until urinary Leptospira shedding was confirmed to have stopped. By 1,071 days after initial presentation, the tiger remained nonclinical, with no additional urinary shedding episodes.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

While domestic and nondomestic free-ranging felids have been reported as subclinical Leptospira spp carriers, this report indicates the clinical importance of leptospirosis when a tiger presents with generalized gastrointestinal signs and icterus. Due to the zoonotic potential, biosecurity measures are necessary. This patient had a clinically successful outcome with antimicrobial therapy and supportive care.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To retrospectively evaluate the prevalence and clinical progression of wobbly hedgehog syndrome (WHS) and concurrent incidence of neoplasia in a cohort of African pygmy hedgehogs (Atelerix albiventris).

ANIMALS

49 hedgehogs.

CLINICAL PRESENTATION AND PROCEDURES

Medical records of hedgehogs from 7 institutions across the US over a 20-year period (2000 to 2020) were retrospectively reviewed. Inclusion criteria were hedgehogs of any sex or age with postmortem CNS histopathology consistent with WHS. Collected data included sex, age at onset and euthanasia, major histopathologic findings, reported neurologic clinical signs, and treatments administered.

RESULTS

24 males and 25 females were included. Fifteen of 49 (31%) individuals had subclinical WHS with no reported antemortem neurologic clinical signs. In neurologically affected (clinical) hedgehogs (n = 34), the mean ± SD age at onset was 3.3 ± 1.5 years with a median (range) time from onset to euthanasia of 51 days (1 to 319 days). In neurologically affected hedgehogs, the most commonly reported clinical signs were ataxia (n = 21) and pelvic limb paresis (16) and the most commonly administered treatment was meloxicam (13). Overall, 31 of 49 (63%) hedgehogs had a concurrent histopathologic diagnosis of neoplasia outside of the CNS.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

The prognosis for hedgehogs with WHS is poor. No treatment had a significant effect on survival time, and neoplasia was a common comorbidity in the current cohort. A small but clinically relevant subset of neurologically normal hedgehogs had a histopathologic diagnosis of WHS.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To describe the clinical features, histopathologic lesions, and outcome of cardiovascular disease in central bearded dragons.

ANIMALS

54 bearded dragons.

METHODS

Retrospective evaluation of captive bearded dragons with antemortem imaging or postmortem diagnosis of cardiovascular disease from 2007 to 2022 from 6 hospitals.

RESULTS

The total prevalence of cardiovascular disease was 3.3% (54/1,655). Physical examination findings were available in 46 cases with change in mentation being the most common finding (n = 28/46 [60.9%]), followed by dehydration (17/46 [37%]), palpable coelomic mass (13/46 [28.3%]), dyspnea (10/46 [21.7%]), and sunken eyes (10/46 [21.7%)]. Doppler auscultation revealed an arrhythmia in 5/34 (14.7%) animals. Diagnostic imaging was only performed on 21 animals, and 10 (47.6%) had cardiovascular abnormalities described. In total, 84 cardiovascular diagnoses were found in 54 animals. The most common diagnosis was myocarditis (n = 14) followed by aneurysms (11), pericardial effusion (9), atherosclerosis (7), epicarditis (7), and myocardial degeneration/necrosis (7). Overall, 62 causes of death were identified in 52 cases, with cardiovascular disease being the most common (n = 18/52 [34.5%]). Only 3/54 animals were diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Animals with aneurysms were more likely to die to due cardiovascular disease compared to other types of cardiovascular diagnoses (OR, 43.75; 95% CI, 4.88 to 392.65; P < .001).

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Diagnosis of cardiovascular disease in bearded dragons is challenging given the inconsistent clinical presentation; however, it should remain a differential in animals with nonspecific signs of illness. Antemortem diagnostics are recommended in suspected cases, including diagnostic imaging. Of the cardiovascular diseases described, aneurysms most often contributed to clinical demise.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research