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  • Author or Editor: Natalie D. Mylniczenko x
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Abstract

Objective—To evaluate differences in Hct between 2 venipuncture sites in captive and free-ranging sharks.

Animals—32 healthy adult captive sharks (Carcharhinus melanopterus, Carcharhinus plumbeus, Stegastoma fasciatum, Orectolobus japonicus, and Triaenodon obesus) and 15 captured free-ranging adult sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus and Carcharhinus acronotus).

Procedures—Blood samples were collected from the caudal tail artery followed by collection from the sinus located immediately caudal to the cranial dorsal fin. The Hct was determined for each sample and results were compared. Additionally, results for sharks that were highly active and used aerobic metabolism were compared with results for sharks that were less active and tolerant of anaerobic conditions.

Results—Mean Hct for all sharks was significantly less (8% less) in blood samples obtained from the cranial dorsal fin sinus, compared with the Hct for samples obtained from the caudal tail artery. When compared on the basis of metabolic class, sharks that were more tolerant of anaerobic conditions had lower Hct values and smaller differences between the 2 venipuncture sites.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Hct values were significantly lower in blood samples collected from the cranial dorsal fin sinus compared with values for samples collected from the caudal tail artery. It is important to recognize this difference when evaluating hematologic variables in sharks and when establishing reference ranges for Hcts for shark populations. Sharks that were more active and relied on aerobic metabolism had higher Hct values than did anaerobic-tolerant sharks, and the difference in Hct values between venipuncture sites was more pronounced.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

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.

ANIMALS

12 males were included in this study.

PROCEDURES

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.

RESULTS

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.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

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.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

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.

ANIMALS

Southern stingrays from aquarium (n = 48), lagoon (managed semiwild; 34), and wild (12) habitats.

PROCEDURES

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.

RESULTS

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.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To establish an echocardiographic technique and 2-dimensional reference parameters for southern stingrays (Hypanus americanus). A second objective was to compare echocardiographic measurements obtained from animals of different sex, size, environment, handling technique, and position.

ANIMALS

84 presumed healthy, wild, semiwild, and aquarium-housed southern stingrays.

PROCEDURES

Animals, anesthetized and manually restrained, were positioned in dorsal recumbency, and echocardiography was performed. A subset of this population was also imaged in ventral recumbency for comparison.

RESULTS

Echocardiography was feasible, and reference parameters were established for this species. While some standard measurements could not be assessed due to body habitus, all valves, chambers, and the conus were clearly visualized in the majority of animals. Statistical significance was reached for some variables when comparing animals from different environments and handling methods, but these differences were not considered clinically relevant. The data were therefore separated into 2 subsets of echocardiographic reference parameters based on disc width since some of the measurements were dependent on body size. This approach mostly separated the sexes due to strong sexual dimorphism.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Limited information is available regarding cardiac disease in elasmobranchs; most of the available information on cardiac physiology focuses on a few shark species. Two-dimensional echocardiography is a noninvasive tool utilized to evaluate cardiac structure and functionality. Southern stingrays are one of the most commonly displayed elasmobranchs in public aquaria. This article expands on the growing body of information regarding veterinary care in elasmobranchs and provides clinicians and researchers with another diagnostic modality to utilize in screening for health/disease.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To establish reference ranges for critical care blood values measured in wild and aquarium-housed elasmobranchs by use of a point-of-care (POC) blood analyzer and to compare values on the basis of species category (pelagic, benthic, or intermediate) and phlebotomy site.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—66 wild and 89 aquarium-housed elasmobranchs (sharks and rays).

Procedures—Aquarium-housed elasmobranchs were anesthetized for sample collection; wild elasmobranchs were caught via hook and line fishing, manually restrained for sample collection, and released. Blood was collected from 2 sites/fish (dorsal sinus region and tail vasculature) and analyzed with the POC analyzer. Reference values of critical care blood analytes were calculated for species most represented in each population. Values were compared on the basis of species categorization (pelagic, intermediate, or benthic) and collection site.

Results—Oxygen saturation and circulating concentrations of lactate and glucose were significantly different among aquarium-housed pelagic, intermediate, and benthic species. Lactate concentration was significantly different among these categories in wild elasmobranchs. Significant differences were detected between samples from the 2 collection sites for all blood analytes. In both study populations, pH and lactate values were infrequently < 7.2 or > 5 mmol/L, respectively.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Brevity of handling or chemical restraint may have reduced secondary stress responses in fish because extreme variations in blood analyte values were infrequent. Sample collection site, species categorization, acclimation to handling, and restraint technique should be considered when assessing values obtained with the POC analyzer used in this study for blood analytes and immediate metabolic status in elasmobranchs.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association