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1 March 2008 Lungworm Infection in Three Loggerhead Sea Turtles, Caretta caretta
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Although lungworms are known to infect many mammalian species and a few are known to infect snakes, lizards, and birds, previously none were known to infect chelonians. This study documents the first three known cases of lungworms in loggerhead sea turtles, Caretta caretta. It is unlikely that the lungworms were the primary cause of illness in any of the cases, and they may be only contributory or even incidental. Changes observed in the two cases that died included tracheal and bronchial epithelial hyperplasia and goblet cell hyperplasia. Lesions caused directly by the parasites seem to be restricted to the upper respiratory tree (trachea and main bronchi), but changes in the lungs themselves may be caused by the debris produced by the worms. Although neither case was successfully treated for the lungworms prior to death, it would appear that oxfendazole may be an effective treatment and has been used in the third case that is still undergoing rehabilitation.

Charles A. Manire, Michael J. Kinsel, Eric T. Anderson, Tonya M. Clauss, and Lynne Byrd "Lungworm Infection in Three Loggerhead Sea Turtles, Caretta caretta," Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 39(1), 92-98, (1 March 2008).
Received: 10 August 2007; Published: 1 March 2008

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