Pathologic examination of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) from the Hawaiian Islands (USA) was performed to determine the primary cause of mortality. Lesions were associated with fibropapillomatosis (FP) and/or spirorchidiasis (SP) in 16 of 17 green turtles examined. Gross lesions included moderate to severe emaciation, lobulated fibropapillomas of different size classes, serous atrophy of fat, and edema of subcutaneous tissue and muscle. Anasarca, hydropericardium and pulmonary edema were common findings. The neoplastic lesions observed in the gastrointestinal tract, lungs, liver, and kidneys of 29% of turtles examined were histologically characterized as fibromas. A generalized thickening and hardening of major vessels and thrombosis with partial or complete lumen occlusion were observed in turtles with FP and SP. Histologically, lymphoplasmocytic endarteritis was observed in vessels of turtles with both conditions. Multifocal granulomas were associated with trematode ova in the parenchyrna of most organs of all turtles with FP and SP. Spirorchidiasis and FP were considered the primary causes of mortality in the turtles examined. Further studies should focus on the pathogenic interaction of both conditions and their synergism as debilitating and fatal diseases in this threatened species.
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Vol. 34 • No. 1