A 12-yr-old female free-ranging Florida panther (Felis concolor coryi) was found dead in good flesh. The panther had a ruptured thoracoabdominal aneurysm and 0.5 L of unclotted blood in its thorax. Intimal plaques 6.0 × 3.0 × 3.0 cm and 4.0 × 3.0 × 1.0 cm were present in the thoracic and abdominal aorta extending below the bifurcation of the renal arteries. Histologic examination revealed necrohemorrhagic aortitis with a mixed inflammatory infiltrate of lymphocytes, macrophages, and neutrophils. Death was almost certainly due to exsanguination and hypovolemic shock secondary to the ruptured aneurysm, and the aortitis with the resultant aneurysm may have been secondary to an infectious or a toxic process. This is the first reported death of a free-ranging mammal from a ruptured aortic aneurysm.
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Vol. 31 • No. 2