Paramyxoviruses (PMVs) are well documented as a cause of respiratory disease in snakes, but they have only been documented in tortoises in a very few cases. This study describes a leopard tortoise (Geochelone pardalis babcocki) with lethargy and respiratory disease. Examination of tracheal swabs for bacteria resulted in strong growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Morganella morganii. Despite antibiotic therapy, the animal died. Gross pathology noted severe diffuse consolidation of the lungs. Fourteen different tissue samples were collected for virological examinations. Viruses commonly detected in tortoises (herpesviruses, picorna-like viruses, and ranaviruses) or recently reported in chelonians (adenoviruses) could not be detected in the samples by virus isolation or by molecular methods (polymerase chain reaction [PCR]). The samples were tested by reverse transcriptase-PCR for PMVs, and cloaca, heart, liver, and small intestine were found to be positive. Sequence analysis of the PMV amplicons revealed that the tortoise was coinfected with at least two different squamatid PMV species and not with a chelonian host-specific PMV. The contribution of these viruses to the observed clinical signs and pathology is unknown.
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