Ostium secundum atrial septal defects (ASDs) were observed in six (3 M, 3 F) of 33 (20 M, 13 F) (18%) Florida panthers (Puma concolor coryi) necropsied by veterinary pathologists between 1985 and 1998. A seventh ASD was found in a female panther necropsied in the field and is included in the pathological description but not the prevalence of ASDs in Florida panthers. One panther (FP205) with severe ASD also had tricuspid valve dysplasia (TVD). Atrial septal defects and/or TVD are believed to have caused or contributed to the deaths of three (9%) Florida panthers in this study. Mean diameter ± SD of ASDs was 9.0 ± 4.7 mm (range 3 to 15 mm). Gross pathological changes attributed to ASDs/TVD in severely affected panthers (ASD ≥ 10 mm) (n = 4) included mild right ventricular dilatation (n = 3) and hypertrophy (n = 2), mild to severe right atrial dilatation (n = 2), and acute pulmonary edema (n = 3). Panthers with mild ASDs (ASD ≤ 5 mm) (n = 3) had no other detectable gross pathological changes associated with the ASDs. Histological examination of lungs of three panthers with severe ASDs revealed mild to moderate dilatation with fibrosis and smooth muscle atrophy of the tunica media of medium to large caliber arteries (n = 2), interstitial and/or pleural fibrosis (n = 2), perivascular fibrosis (n = 1), and acute to chronic edema (n = 3). Twenty-six necropsied panthers were examined one or more times while living; medical records were retrospectively evaluated. Antemortem radiographic, electrocardiographic, and echocardiographic examinations were performed on two panthers with severe ASDs (FP20 and FP205). Thoracic radiographic abnormalities in both included right heart enlargement, and in FP205 (severe ASD and TVD), mild pulmonary overperfusion. Electrocardiographic examination of FP205 revealed a right ventricular hypertrophy pattern, while FP205 had a normal electrocardiogram. Echocardiographic examination of FP20 revealed marked right atrial dilatation; a bubble contrast study indicated regurgitation across the tricuspid valve. Echocardiographic abnormalities in FP20 included right atrial and ventricular dilatation, atrial septal drop-out, and severe tricuspid regurgitation; non-selective angiography revealed significant left to right shunting across the ASD. All panthers with severe ASDs ausculted (n = 3) had systolic right or left-sided grade I–V/VI murmurs loudest at the heart base. All male panthers with ASDs (n = 3) (100%) and 9 of 17 (53%) male panthers without ASDs in this study were cryptorchid.
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