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1 December 2002 SAKSENAEA VASIFORMIS AND APOPHYSOMYCES ELEGANS ZYGOMYCOTIC INFECTIONS IN BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS (TURSIOPS TRUNCATUS), A KILLER WHALE (ORCINUS ORCA), AND PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHINS (LAGENORHYNCHUS OBLIQUIDENS)
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Abstract

During a 10-yr period, a killer whale (Orcinus orca), two Pacific white-sided dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens), and two bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), all housed at SeaWorld of Texas from 1991 to 2001, were infected with fungi from the class Zygomycetes. In four out of five cases, the fungi were identified as either Saksenaea vasiformis or Apophysomyces elegans. All fungi in the class Zygomycetes aggressively invade the vascular system. Death occurred within 23 days after the initial clinical signs. The primary site of infection involved the s.c. tissue and skeletal musculature. In one case, infection originated in the placenta and uterus of a periparturient animal. All cases exhibited systemic spread of the organisms, including two to the central nervous system. The fifth and most recent case, a bottlenose dolphin, was treated with liposomal nystatin, an antifungal formulation with reduced nephrotoxicity. This animal initially responded to therapy; however, 14 days after cessation of therapy, fungal growth reoccurred. Thus, the animal was euthanatized 39 days after the initial clinical signs. This drug represents a promising treatment option if combined with early disease detection and aggressive tissue resection.

T. R. Robeck and L. M. Dalton "SAKSENAEA VASIFORMIS AND APOPHYSOMYCES ELEGANS ZYGOMYCOTIC INFECTIONS IN BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS (TURSIOPS TRUNCATUS), A KILLER WHALE (ORCINUS ORCA), AND PACIFIC WHITE-SIDED DOLPHINS (LAGENORHYNCHUS OBLIQUIDENS)," Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 33(4), 356-366, (1 December 2002). https://doi.org/10.1638/1042-7260(2002)033[0356:SVAAEZ]2.0.CO;2
Received: 1 November 2001; Published: 1 December 2002
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