Anesthesia and surgery in cetaceans have inherent risks and have rarely been utilized as viable treatment options. This report represents the first known multidisciplinary team approach to emergency laparotomy in a compromised, 22-yr-old, female Pacific white-sided dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens). The inciting clinical signs and ancillary diagnostics were consistent with a mechanical ileus. Although no torsion or obstruction was apparent during surgery, severe enteritis and peritonitis were noted. Postoperatively, the animal was maintained on aggressive medical management with continuous supportive care until succumbing 3 days later with clinical pathology indicative of terminal sepsis and profound inflammation. Postmortem findings included generalized vascular stasis and segmental intestinal volvulus with infarction. To the authors' knowledge, this is one of the most-complex surgical and anesthetic procedures performed in a cetacean. Though the outcome was unsuccessful, this case represents the aquatic veterinary community's collective advances in the ability to treat cetaceans under human care.
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