CASE DESCRIPTION 10 large felids at 8 facilities were determined or suspected to have developed gastric dilatation with or without enterotoxemia over a 20-year period. Four felids were found dead with no premonitory signs.
CLINICAL FINDINGS 4 felids (2 male snow leopards [Uncia uncia], 1 male Amur tiger [Panthera tigris altaica], and 1 male Sumatran tiger [Panthera tigris sumatrae]) were found dead or died before they could be evaluated. Six felids had hematemesis (1 male and 1 female African lion [Panthera leo] and 1 male jaguar [Panthera onca]) or abdominal distention and signs of lethargy with or without vomiting (1 male African lion, 1 male Malayan tiger [Panthera tigris jacksoni], and 1 female Sumatran tiger). Gastric dilatation was radiographically and surgically confirmed in the male Malayan and female Sumatran tigers and the jaguar.
TREATMENT AND OUTCOME In 3 felids with an antemortem diagnosis, the gastric dilatation resolved with decompressive laparotomy but then recurred in 1 felid, which subsequently died. Three others died at various points during hospitalization. Although Clostridium perfringens type A was recovered from 3 of the 5 felids for which microbial culture was performed, and 2 felids had a recent increase in the amount fed, no single factor was definitively identified that might have incited or contributed to the gastric dilatation.
CLINICAL RELEVANCE Gastric dilatation was a life-threatening condition in the large felids of this report, causing sudden death or clinical signs of hematemesis, abdominal distention, or vomiting. Even with rapid diagnosis and surgical decompression, the prognosis was poor. Research is needed into the factors that contribute to this emergent condition in large felids so that preventive measures might be taken.
Objective—To evaluate serial blood gas values and lactate concentrations in 3 fish species undergoing surgery and to compare blood lactate concentrations between fish that survived and those that died during the short-term postoperative period.
Design—Prospective cohort study.
Animals—10 yellow perch, 5 walleye pike, and 8 koi.
Procedures—Blood samples were collected from each fish at 3 time points: before anesthesia, during anesthesia, and immediately after surgery. Blood gas values and blood lactate concentrations were measured. Fish were monitored for 2 weeks postoperatively.
Results—All walleye and koi survived, but 2 perch died. Blood pH significantly decreased in perch from before to during anesthesia, but increased back to preanesthesia baseline values after surgery. Blood Pco2 decreased significantly in perch from before anesthesia to immediately after surgery, and also from during anesthesia to immediately after surgery, whereas blood Pco2 decreased significantly in koi from before to during anesthesia. Blood Po2 increased significantly in both perch and koi from before to during anesthesia, and also in koi from before anesthesia to immediately after surgery. For all 3 species, blood lactate concentrations increased significantly from before anesthesia to immediately after surgery. Blood lactate concentration (mean ± SD) immediately after surgery for the 8 surviving perch was 6.06 ± 1.47 mmol/L, which was significantly lower than blood lactate concentrations in the 2 nonsurviving perch (10.58 and 10.72 mmol/L).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—High blood lactate concentrations following surgery in fish may be predictive of a poor short-term postoperative survival rate.