Publications by authors named "Ellen Bronson"

39 Publications

PHARMACOKINETICS OF PRIMAQUINE PHOSPHATE AFTER A SINGLE ORAL ADMINISTRATION TO AFRICAN PENGUINS ().

J Zoo Wildl Med 2021 Apr;52(1):75-80

Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, Baltimore, MD 21217, USA.

Primaquine is an 8-aminoquinolone drug commonly used for the chemoprophylaxis and treatment of avian malarial infections in managed penguin populations worldwide. Little is known about its pharmacokinetic properties in avian species. The objective of this study was to describe the disposition of primaquine phosphate after a single oral dose in 15 healthy African penguins (). A single tablet containing 26.3 mg of primaquine phosphate (equivalent to 15 mg primaquine base) was administered orally to each bird in a herring fish. Blood samples were collected prior to drug administration and at predetermined timepoints through 144 hr postadministration. Plasma was analyzed for drug concentration by high-performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet detection. Mean maximum plasma concentration of primaquine phosphate was 277 ± 96 ng/ml at approximately 3.1 hr following oral administration. The mean disappearance half-life was 3.6 ± 1.6 hr. Plasma concentrations were below detectable limits in all but one penguin by 36 hr. A single oral administration of 26.3 mg of primaquine phosphate in African penguins resulted in a pharmacokinetic profile comparable to those attained in human studies. These results suggest that a dosing interval similar to human regimens may be of potential use in the prevention and treatment of avian malaria in penguins. Additional clinical studies are needed to determine the efficacy and safety of this regimen.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1638/2020-0172DOI Listing
April 2021

Field Anesthesia of the Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) in Bolivia.

J Wildl Dis 2021 Mar 31. Epub 2021 Mar 31.

Department of Zoology, NHB 390, MRC 108, Smithsonian Institution, P.O. Box 37012, Washington, DC 20013-7012, USA.

Fifteen maned wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus) were anesthetized a total of 43 times as part of a long-term ecology and health study in a remote region of northeastern Bolivia. We administered tiletamine-zolazepam (TZ) to wolves in box traps or free-ranging, from blinds or on foot, at a mean dosage of 4.6 mg/kg intramuscularly. Detailed anesthetic information was recorded in 24 of these events in 11 wolves (six males, five females), and wolves were monitored closely post procedure with very high frequency or global positioning system telemetry collars. Anesthetic induction was smooth and rapid in all cases, with a mean 6.4 min from injection to recumbency. Vital parameters were stable during the majority of procedures. As expected with this drug combination, recovery was long (mean time to standing 163 min [range: 80-235 min]) but smooth, and animals were monitored in most cases in box traps until stable for release. One case of apnea and prolonged recovery is reported. In two cases, wolves recovered normally but were found to move minimally in the 2.5-4 d postprocedure before resuming normal movements. Overall, TZ provided safe, stable immobilization of free-ranging maned wolves in remote and extreme field conditions, although postanesthesia monitoring via telemetry is recommended.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7589/JWD-D-20-00033DOI Listing
March 2021

THE RADIOGRAPHIC AND ENDOSCOPIC ANATOMY AND DIGESTIVE MECHANISMS OF CAPTIVE AFRICAN PENGUINS ().

J Zoo Wildl Med 2020 Jun;51(2):371-378

Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland 21217, USA.

The anatomy of the avian gastrointestinal (GI) tract is uniquely suited to each species' dietary requirements. African penguins () are charismatic and popular exhibit animals. As their prevalence grows, there is a need to understand their unique digestive tract to diagnose abnormalities. Reference material specific to the digestive tract of piscivores is scant, and knowledge of the GI tract of a healthy penguin is based on information from other birds. The purpose of this study is to determine the normal gross anatomy, transit time, and histopathologic structures of the penguin GI tract. Twelve clinically healthy penguins were selected for this study from the colony at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, which, at the time of this study, consisted of 55 birds. All penguins underwent a barium contrast study, and radiographic images were obtained until the entire GI tract was empty. Approximately 2 wk later, each penguin was anesthetized, and an endoscopic evaluation of the anterior GI tract was performed. Time from barium administration to defecation ranged from 17 to 70 min, and on average, barium clearance was 17.6 hr (range, 5-36 hr). Fluid from the ventriculus had an average pH of 2.75 and contained a mixed bacterial population. Koilin presence and thickness appreciated on endoscopy did not correspond with the thickness determined on histopathology. The results of this study provide a comparative baseline to use during diagnostic workups and help guide treatment decisions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1638/2019-0076DOI Listing
June 2020

PARAMETERS FOR IDENTIFYING FAILURE OF PASSIVE TRANSFER IN SITATUNGA ().

J Zoo Wildl Med 2020 Jun;51(2):259-264

Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, Baltimore, MD 21217, USA.

Failure of passive transfer of immunity (FPT) leads to increased calf morbidity and mortality and requires intensive, time-sensitive, and often expensive management for nondomestic ruminants. Without species-specific information with which to make informed decisions, neonatal data from domestic ruminants are often extrapolated to nondomestic zoo-housed species. To date, there have been no studies evaluating FPT in sitatunga (). The goal of the present study was to establish parameters to characterize adequate passive transfer in sitatunga calves and compare them to published reference intervals in other species. Medical records of 22 sitatunga calves (12 female, 10 male) were reviewed. Seventeen of these calves were defined as "healthy," having survived at least 60 days without colostrum administration or a plasma transfusion. Calf weight, serum glucose, serum gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), total protein (TP), globulin concentrations, and results of a zinc sulfate turbidity test (ZSTT) were noted where possible. Mean birth weight of healthy calves at 24 hr was 4.5 kg (range: 3.76.5 kg, = 12). The mean blood glucose in healthy calves was 152 mg/dl (range: 80-182, = 16), mean serum TP concentration was 5.9 g/dl (range: 4.9-7.5, = 16), mean serum globulin concentration was 3.3 g/dl (range: 1.7-4.7, = 17), and mean serum GGT concentration was 466 U/L (range: 91-1901, = 16). A ZSTT was performed for 10 healthy calves, resulting in four negative ZSTT results despite having no clinical signs of FPT and the calves having been observed nursing before testing. Sitatunga appear to have lower values for normal FPT parameters than those developed for domestic cattle. This study illustrates the difficulty of cross-species comparisons, as even closely related species can vary greatly in biologic parameters.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1638/2019-0199DOI Listing
June 2020

FACTORS AFFECTING ABNORMAL MOLTING IN THE MANAGED AFRICAN PENGUIN () POPULATION IN NORTH AMERICA.

J Zoo Wildl Med 2020 Jan;50(4):917-926

Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland 21217, USA.

Abnormal molting, including partial or incomplete molt, arrested molt cycle, or inappropriate frequency of molt, is a primary concern for the managed African penguin () population and is documented across institutions. To identify factors associated with increased odds of abnormal molts and characterize intervention opportunities, a comprehensive survey evaluating numerous husbandry and medical parameters was created. Survey results represent 45 North American African penguin holding facilities and 736 unique animals. Of these individuals, 135 (18.3%) demonstrated an abnormal molt over the 5-yr study period (2012-2017). Increased odds ratios for abnormal molt included biologic (age, sex, etc.), geographic (elevation, latitude), and husbandry (exhibit design, diet, etc.) variables. The mean age of affected animals was 15.2 yr (1-45 yr, = 135) compared with 9.92 yr (4 mo-38 yr, = 601) for unaffected animals. In addition, although statistically insignificant, males were overrepresented in the affected cohort compared with a near even distribution among unaffected animals. Identified factors with increased odds for abnormal molting included advanced age and facilities using freshwater pools. Normally molting penguins were more commonly found with saltwater pool access and natural lighting exposure. Anecdotal medical intervention attempts are discussed, although further research is needed to define their use. Of attempted interventions, subcutaneous 5.4-mg melatonin implants placed in anticipation of environmental molting cues showed the most promise at inducing catastrophic molt, with 14 of 17 (82.3%) of affected individuals molting normally following this treatment. Survey analysis indicated that abnormal molt is a complex, multifactorial process, and modifiable factors that may predispose animals to abnormally molt exist. Addressing these factors in future exhibit design may mitigate the prevalence of this condition. Despite these efforts, it is likely that medical interventions will be required to aid in the treatment of abnormal molting in this species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1638/2019-0080DOI Listing
January 2020

FATAL RANAVIRUS INFECTION IN A GROUP OF ZOO-HOUSED MELLER'S CHAMELEONS ().

J Zoo Wildl Med 2019 Sep;50(3):696-705

Department of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA,

A group of five juvenile Meller's chameleons () experienced 100% mortality over a period of 1 mo due to ranavirus infection. The index case was found dead without premonitory signs. The three subsequent cases presented with nonspecific clinical signs (lethargy, decreased appetite, ocular discharge) and were ultimately euthanatized. The final case died after initially presenting with skin lesions. Postmortem examination revealed thin body condition in all five animals and mild coelomic effusion and petechiae affecting the tongue and kidneys of one animal. Microscopically, all animals had multifocal necrosis of the spleen, liver, and kidney; four of five animals had necrosis of the nasal cavity; and two of five had necrosis of adrenal tissue, bone marrow, and skin. Numerous basophilic intracytoplasmic inclusions were present in the liver of all animals and nasal mucosa of three of the five animals. Consensus polymerase chain reaction for herpesvirus and adenovirus were negative, whereas ranavirus quantitative polymerase chain reaction was positive. Virus isolation followed by whole genome sequencing and Bayesian phylogenetic analysis classified the isolates as a strain of frog virus 3 (FV3) most closely related to an FV3 isolate responsible for a previous outbreak in the zoo's eastern box turtle () group. This case series documents the first known occurrence of ranavirus-associated disease in chameleons and demonstrates the potential for interspecies transmission between chelonian and squamate reptiles.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1638/2018-0044DOI Listing
September 2019

APPLICATION OF 3-HYDROXYBUTYRATE MEASUREMENT AND PLASMA PROTEIN ELECTROPHORESIS IN THE DIAGNOSIS OF ASPERGILLOSIS IN AFRICAN PENGUINS ( SPHENISCUS DEMERSUS).

J Zoo Wildl Med 2018 Sep;49(3):696-703

New alternative laboratory means are needed to improve the options for antemortem diagnosis of avian aspergillosis. In this study, 3-hydroxybutyrate was measured in plasma samples collected from a cohort of African penguins ( Spheniscus demersus) maintained under human care. Results were interpreted in combination with those of protein electrophoresis and compared with anti- Aspergillus antibody and galactomannan antigen detection. Overall, 3-hydroxybutyrate levels were found significantly increased in Aspergillus-diseased cases versus the control penguin group ( P = 0.002). Mean absolute concentration of β-globulins was increased >20% in samples from infected birds, and α2-globublins were also found to be significantly increased versus clinically normal controls ( P < 0.001 and P = 0.001 respectively). Of note, the α2-globulins were also significantly increased versus penguins with inflammatory (non-aspergillosis) diseases ( P = 0.001). The specificity of 3-hydroxybutyrate, β-globulins, and α2-globulins for aspergillosis was 78.6%, 79.6%, and 92.2%, respectively. Using these measures in tandem resulted in high specificity (>90%) and negative predictive value (≥80%). In contrast, anti- Aspergillus antibody and galactomannan antigen did not distinguish between infected cases and controls ( P > 0.05). This study demonstrates that basic testing in tandem with the new biomarker 3-hydroxybutyrate may provide reliable evidence for the diagnosis of aspergillosis in penguins.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1638/2017-0172.1DOI Listing
September 2018

ENVIRONMENTAL FUNGAL LOADS IN AN INDOOR-OUTDOOR AFRICAN PENGUIN ( SPHENISCUS DEMERSUS) EXHIBIT.

J Zoo Wildl Med 2018 Sep;49(3):542-555

Aspergillosis continues to be one of the most important causes of disease in captive penguins. As such, designing exhibits and holding areas that minimize the risk of aspergillosis is of great interest; however, very little has been published regarding this topic. The goal of this study was to assess total fungal spore loads as well as the loads of Aspergillus spp. encountered in multiple indoor and outdoor microenvironments around the exhibit for a large colony of African penguins ( Spheniscus demersus). Air samples were collected via impaction at the microenvironments on a monthly basis over a 1-yr period. Results of this study indicated seasonal trends in both total fungal spore loads as well as Aspergillus spp. loads, with the lowest levels encountered during January through April. During the warmer, more humid spring, summer, and fall months when outdoor microenvironments experienced the highest fungal loads, the air-handling system and the pleated filters used indoors are thought to have reduced the fungal loads in the indoor microenvironments compared with the outdoor microenvironments. Additionally, surrounding planting beds were thought to contribute to the higher total fungal loads and Aspergillus spp. loads in the outdoor microenvironments. Results of this study are useful in understanding the factors that contribute to Aspergillus spp. loads in areas that house penguins, and can be used in guiding design, construction, and landscaping of penguin enclosures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1638/2017-0119.1DOI Listing
September 2018

Translational proteomic study to address host protein changes during aspergillosis.

PLoS One 2018 24;13(7):e0200843. Epub 2018 Jul 24.

University of Miami, Division of Comparative Pathology, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, United States of America.

Aspergillosis is a fungal disease due to Aspergillus molds that can affect both humans and animals. As routine diagnosis remains difficult, improvement of basic knowledge with respect to its pathophysiology is critical to search for new biomarkers of infection and new therapeutic targets. Large-scale proteomics allows assessment of protein changes during various disease processes. In the present study, mass spectrometry iTRAQ® (isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation) protocol was used for direct identification and relative quantitation of host proteins in diseased fluids and tissues collected from an experimental rat model challenged with Aspergillus, as well as in blood obtained from naturally-infected penguins. In all, mass spectrometry analysis revealed that proteome during aspergillosis was mostly represented by proteins that usually express role in metabolic processes and biological process regulation. Ten and 17 proteins were significantly ≥4.0-fold overrepresented in blood of Aspergillus-diseased rats and penguins, respectively, while five and 39 were negatively ≥4.0-fold depleted within the same samples. In rat lungs, 33 proteins were identified with positive or negative relative changes versus controls and were quite different from those identified in the blood. Except for some zinc finger proteins, kinases, and histone transferases, and while three pathways were common (Wnt, cadherin and FGF), great inter-species variabilities were observed regarding the identity of the differentially-represented proteins. Thus, this finding confirmed how difficult it is to define a unique biomarker of infection. iTRAQ® protocol appears as a convenient proteomic tool that is greatly suited to ex vivo exploratory studies and should be considered as preliminary step before validation of new diagnostic markers and new therapeutic targets in humans.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0200843PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6057647PMC
January 2019

CAUSES OF MORTALITY IN CAPTIVE PANAMANIAN GOLDEN FROGS ( ATELOPUS ZETEKI) AT THE MARYLAND ZOO IN BALTIMORE, 2001-2013.

J Zoo Wildl Med 2018 Jun;49(2):324-334

  The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is home to the largest captive assurance population of the critically endangered Panamanian golden frog ( Atelopus zeteki). With the ongoing extinction that is occurring worldwide in amphibians, the need for amphibian captive assurance populations is growing, and few mortality reviews on amphibian species exist. Necropsy and histopathologic examination of animals that die in captivity can help identify population-level disease problems, direct research needs in amphibian medicine and husbandry, and improve the success of captive breeding programs. This study reviews postmortem findings from 406 frogs, greater than 1 yr of age, which died in this population from 2001 to 2013. Frogs were categorized by age and sex, and the cause of mortality was determined. Dermatitis associated with filamentous-type fungal organisms was the most common cause of mortality in both age and sex categories and accounted for one-third of frog deaths in this study (36.0%; n = 146 out of 406 frogs). Other major causes of mortality included renal disease, gastrointestinal disease, septicemia, and a previously undescribed myopathy condition associated with a tetany syndrome. Increased mortality of frogs occurred during the breeding season, highlighting the need for further research into methods to minimize mortality during this time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1638/2016-0250.1DOI Listing
June 2018

PUSTULAR DERMATITIS CAUSED BY IMPETIGO IN RED-TAILED MONKEYS ( CERCOPITHECUS ASCANIUS).

J Zoo Wildl Med 2018 Mar;49(1):206-209

Impetigo is a bacterial infection of the superficial layer of the epidermis with crusting or bullae caused by Streptococcus spp., Staphylococcus spp., or both. A 14-yr-old red-tailed monkey ( Cercopithecus ascanius) presented with recurrent scabbing and ulceration under the nares over an 8-yr period. Repeated cultures and biopsy samples led to a presumptive diagnosis of impetigo, later confirmed on necropsy. Multiple antibiotic regimens were employed with varying success during multiple episodes, while lesions resolved on their own at other times. This condition has not been previously reported in a nonhuman primate, although it is not uncommon in humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1638/2012-0293R1.1DOI Listing
March 2018

CLINICAL EFFECT OF HEMOPARASITE INFECTIONS IN SNOWY OWLS ( BUBO SCANDIACUS).

J Zoo Wildl Med 2018 Mar;49(1):143-152

Vector-borne hemoparasites are commonly found in avian species. Plasmodium spp., the causative agent of avian malaria, are intraerythrocytic parasites that can cause signs ranging from subclinical infection to severe acute disease. In raptor species, most hemoparasites are associated with subclinical infection and are generally not treated when seen on blood evaluation. This case series reviews five cases of hemoparasite infection in snowy owls ( Bubo scandiacus). These animals were infected with a variety of hemoparasites, including Plasmodium, Haemoproteus, and Leukocytozoon spp. Death of one of these birds due to hemoparasite burden led to a change in the monitoring for and treatment of subclinical hemoparasitic infections in this species. Three subsequently infected snowy owls have been treated with primaquine and chloroquine. The birds that were treated survived infection, and parasite burdens in peripheral blood diminished. Postulated reasons for increased morbidity and mortality associated with hemoparasitic infections in captive snowy owls, as opposed to other raptor species, include stress, concurrent disease, novel pathogen exposure, and elevated environmental temperatures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1638/2017-0042R.1DOI Listing
March 2018

THE PHARMACOKINETICS OF TOPICAL ITRACONAZOLE IN PANAMANIAN GOLDEN FROGS (ATELOPUS ZETEKI).

J Zoo Wildl Med 2017 Jun;48(2):344-351

Chytridiomycosis is caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and is one of the primary causes of the global decline in amphibian populations and specifically of the Panamanian golden frog ( Atelopus zeteki ). Itraconazole has been demonstrated to be an effective treatment for chytridiomycosis by inhibiting cytochrome P450, a major enzyme important for the structure of B. dendrobatidis zoospores' plasma membranes. However, anecdotal reports of toxicity in this and other amphibian species have been reported at the 0.01% concentration. This study is the first to determine pharmacokinetics of 0.01% and 0.001% itraconazole in the Panamanian golden frog. Frogs were bathed 10 min, euthanized, and skin, liver, and heart were collected at 0, 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 24, and 36 hr. Itraconazole concentrations were measured using high performance liquid chromatography, and the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of itraconazole (0.032 μg/ml) for B. dendrobatidis was used to determine whether therapeutic concentrations were attained. Itraconazole was detected in all tissues at both concentrations, indicating systemic absorption. At the 0.01% itraconazole bath, itraconazole concentrations in all tissues exceeded the MIC at all time points, and the lack of decline until the end of the study at 36 hr precluded determining a disappearance half-life. With the 0.001% bath, itraconazole exceeded the MIC and declined with a disappearance half-life that markedly varied (14.1-1,244 min). This study augments the growing literature base on chytridiomycosis and seeks to aid in further experimental attempts to find the most-optimal treatment protocol for this disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1638/2015-0218R2.1DOI Listing
June 2017

EPIDEMIOLOGIC EVALUATION OF ELEPHANT ENDOTHELIOTROPIC HERPESVIRUS 3B INFECTION IN AN AFRICAN ELEPHANT (LOXODONTA AFRICANA).

J Zoo Wildl Med 2017 Jun;48(2):335-343

This epidemiologic study follows a 5-yr-old male African elephant ( Loxodonta africana ) during an episode of hemorrhagic disease (HD) due to elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus 3B (EEHV3B) utilizing data from complete blood counts, electrophoresis and acute phase protein analysis, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of multiple body fluids during and after the clinical episode. The elephant presented with sudden onset of marked lethargy and inappetence followed by hypersalivation, hyperemia of the conjunctivae and focally on the tongue, and swellings on the head and ventrum. A moderate leukocytopenia with band neutrophilia, lymphopenia, monocytopenia, and thrombocytophilia was followed by a rise in all three cell types by day 10. Moderate increases in serum amyloid A and C-reactive protein were noted in the first weeks of illness. Conventional PCR of whole blood yielded a strong positive result for EEHV3B. Quantitative PCR revealed moderate viremia, which slowly returned to undetectable levels by day 35 of treatment. EEHV3B was shed in trunk wash samples starting at day 22 for 10 days at moderate levels, and then at low levels for up to 8.5 mo. All three female herd mates shed low levels of EEHV3B in trunk washes intermittently starting from day 28 of the calf's illness until over 7 mo afterward. The majority of saliva samples from the calf over the 8.5-mo period were also positive for EEHV3B. A subfraction of saliva samples from a female herdmate was positive from days 127-190 following disease onset in the calf. Four elephant gammaherpesviruses were detected sporadically from the calf and female herdmates during this same time period. Treatment was started at the onset of clinical signs and consisted of rectal and oral fluids and oral famciclovir. This is the first case of EEHV3B HD in an elephant species and the first thorough epidemiologic evaluation of EEHV HD in an African elephant.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1638/2016-0063R.1DOI Listing
June 2017

PIGMENTED VILLONODULAR SYNOVITIS IN A RETICULATED GIRAFFE (GIRAFFA CAMELOPARDALIS).

J Zoo Wildl Med 2017 Jun;48(2):573-577

: A 17-yr-old, female, captive-born reticulated giraffe ( Giraffa camelopardalis ) presented with acute-onset lameness of the right metacarpophalangeal (fetlock) joint. Despite multiple courses of treatment, the lameness and swelling progressively worsened over a 3.5-yr period, and the giraffe was euthanized. At necropsy, gross and microscopic changes in the right, front fetlock and associated flexor tendon sheath included villous synovial hyperplasia and the formation of discrete pigmented nodules within synovial membranes. Histologically, the nodules were composed of abundant, fibrous connective tissue with heavy macrophage infiltration, hemosiderin deposition, and distinctive, multinucleated cells that resembled osteoclasts. These findings were consistent with pigmented villonodular synovitis (PVNS), a rare condition affecting both humans and animals. Although the pathophysiology of PVNS is poorly understood, lesions exhibit features of both neoplastic and reactive inflammatory processes. This case report represents, to the authors' knowledge, the first description of PVNS in a nondomestic ungulate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1638/2016-0133R.1DOI Listing
June 2017

CLINICAL MANAGEMENT OF THIRD PHALANX FRACTURES IN LESSER (TRAGELAPHUS IMBERBIS) AND GREATER KUDU (TRAGELAPHUS STREPSICEROS).

J Zoo Wildl Med 2017 Mar;48(1):171-178

Two greater kudu ( Tragelaphus strepsiceros ) and one lesser kudu ( T. imberbis ) from two zoological institutions presented with overgrown front hooves, and were diagnosed with fractures of the third phalanges in the affected digits. Both greater kudu had milder lamenesses at diagnosis, and were managed conservatively with hoof trims, stall rest, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Ongoing management through regular hoof trims led to improvement and eventual resolution of lameness. The more severely lame lesser kudu received hoof blocks on the front claws not associated with fractured phalanges. This therapy was well tolerated and resulted in resolution of lameness immediately after application. Radiographic evidence of healing was present 8 wk posttherapy. Diagnosis of these fractures was greatly aided by radiographic views obtained at a 45° oblique angle with the claws distracted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1638/2016-0126.1DOI Listing
March 2017

RANAVIRUS EPIZOOTIC IN CAPTIVE EASTERN BOX TURTLES (TERRAPENE CAROLINA CAROLINA) WITH CONCURRENT HERPESVIRUS AND MYCOPLASMA INFECTION: MANAGEMENT AND MONITORING.

J Zoo Wildl Med 2016 Mar;47(1):256-70

Frog virus 3 (FV3) and FV3-like viruses are members of the genus Ranavirus (family Iridoviridae) and are becoming recognized as significant pathogens of eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina) in North America. In July 2011, 5 turtles from a group of 27 in Maryland, USA, presented dead or lethargic with what was later diagnosed as fibrinonecrotic stomatitis and cloacitis. The presence of FV3-like virus and herpesvirus was detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in the tested index cases. The remaining 22 animals were isolated, segregated by severity of clinical signs, and treated with nutritional support, fluid therapy, ambient temperature management, antibiotics, and antiviral therapy. Oral swabs were tested serially for FV3-like virus by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and tested at day 0 for herpesvirus and Mycoplasma sp. by conventional PCR. With oral swabs, 77% of the 22 turtles were FV3-like virus positive; however, qPCR on tissues taken during necropsy revealed the true prevalence was 86%. FV3-like virus prevalence and the median number of viral copies being shed significantly declined during the outbreak. The prevalence of herpesvirus and Mycoplasma sp. by PCR of oral swabs at day 0 was 55% and 68%, respectively. The 58% survival rate was higher than previously reported in captive eastern box turtles for a ranavirus epizootic. All surviving turtles brumated normally and emerged the following year with no clinical signs during subsequent monitoring. The immediate initiation of treatment and intensive supportive care were considered the most important contributing factors to the successful outcome in this outbreak.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1638/2015-0048.1DOI Listing
March 2016

Detection of Quiescent Infections with Multiple Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesviruses (EEHVs), Including EEHV2, EEHV3, EEHV6, and EEHV7, within Lymphoid Lung Nodules or Lung and Spleen Tissue Samples from Five Asymptomatic Adult African Elephants.

J Virol 2015 Dec 30;90(6):3028-43. Epub 2015 Dec 30.

Viral Oncology Program, Bunting-Blaustein Cancer Research Building, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Unlabelled: More than 80 cases of lethal hemorrhagic disease associated with elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHVs) have been identified in young Asian elephants worldwide. Diagnostic PCR tests detected six types of EEHV in blood of elephants with acute disease, although EEHV1A is the predominant pathogenic type. Previously, the presence of herpesvirus virions within benign lung and skin nodules from healthy African elephants led to suggestions that African elephants may be the source of EEHV disease in Asian elephants. Here, we used direct PCR-based DNA sequencing to detect EEHV genomes in necropsy tissue from five healthy adult African elephants. Two large lung nodules collected from culled wild South African elephants contained high levels of either EEHV3 alone or both EEHV2 and EEHV3. Similarly, a euthanized U.S. elephant proved to harbor multiple EEHV types distributed nonuniformly across four small lung nodules, including high levels of EEHV6, lower levels of EEHV3 and EEHV2, and a new GC-rich branch type, EEHV7. Several of the same EEHV types were also detected in random lung and spleen samples from two other elephants. Sanger PCR DNA sequence data comprising 100 kb were obtained from a total of 15 different strains identified, with (except for a few hypervariable genes) the EEHV2, EEHV3, and EEHV6 strains all being closely related to known genotypes from cases of acute disease, whereas the seven loci (4.0 kb) obtained from EEHV7 averaged 18% divergence from their nearest relative, EEHV3. Overall, we conclude that these four EEHV species, but probably not EEHV1, occur commonly as quiescent infections in African elephants.

Importance: Acute hemorrhagic disease characterized by high-level viremia due to infection by members of the Proboscivirus genus threatens the future breeding success of endangered Asian elephants worldwide. Although the genomes of six EEHV types from acute cases have been partially or fully characterized, lethal disease predominantly involves a variety of strains of EEHV1, whose natural host has been unclear. Here, we carried out genotype analyses by partial PCR sequencing of necropsy tissue from five asymptomatic African elephants and identified multiple simultaneous infections by several different EEHV types, including high concentrations in lymphoid lung nodules. Overall, the results provide strong evidence that EEHV2, EEHV3, EEHV6, and EEHV7 represent natural ubiquitous infections in African elephants, whereas Asian elephants harbor EEHV1A, EEHV1B, EEHV4, and EEHV5. Although a single case of fatal cross-species infection by EEHV3 is known, the results do not support the previous concept that highly pathogenic EEHV1A crossed from African to Asian elephants in zoos.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JVI.02936-15DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4810643PMC
December 2015

EXPERIMENTAL CHALLENGE STUDY OF FV3-LIKE RANAVIRUS INFECTION IN PREVIOUSLY FV3-LIKE RANAVIRUS INFECTED EASTERN BOX TURTLES (TERRAPENE CAROLINA CAROLINA) TO ASSESS INFECTION AND SURVIVAL.

J Zoo Wildl Med 2015 Dec;46(4):732-46

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore experienced an outbreak of Frog virus-3 (FV3)-like ranavirus during the summer of 2011, during which 14 of 27 (52%) of its captive eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina) survived. To assess survival, immunity, and viral shedding, an experimental challenge study was performed in which the surviving, previously infected turtles were reinfected with the outbreak strain of FV3-like ranavirus. Seven turtles were inoculated with virus intramuscularly and four control turtles received saline intramuscularly. The turtles were monitored for 8 wk with blood and oral swabs collected for quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). During that time, one of seven (14%) inoculated turtles and none of the controls (0%) died; there was no significant difference in survival. Clinical signs of the inoculated turtles, except for the turtle that died, were mild compared to the original outbreak. Quantitative PCR for FV3-like ranavirus on blood and oral swabs was positive for all inoculated turtles and negative for all controls. The turtle that died had intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies in multiple organs. Three inoculated and two control turtles were euthanized at the end of the study. No inclusion bodies were present in any of the organs. Quantitative PCR detected FV3-like ranavirus in the spleen of a control turtle, which suggested persistence of the virus. The surviving five turtles were qPCR-negative for FV3-like ranavirus from blood and oral swabs after brumation. Quantitative PCR for Terrapene herpesvirus 1 found no association between ranavirus infection and herpesvirus loads. In conclusion, previously infected eastern box turtles can be reinfected with the same strain of FV3-like ranavirus and show mild to no clinical signs but can shed the virus from the oral cavity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1638/2015-0022.1DOI Listing
December 2015

SUSPECTED LYME BORRELIOSIS IN A CAPTIVE ADULT CHIMPANZEE (PAN TROGLODYTES).

J Zoo Wildl Med 2015 Jun;46(2):423-6

An 18-yr-old female captive-born chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) presented with an intermittent history of inappetence, lethargy, and lower limb stiffness. No notable abnormalities were found on exam or complete blood cell count and serum biochemistry analysis. Serologic testing was strongly positive via indirect fluorescent antibody testing and Western blot for Borrelia burgdorferi. Treatment with doxycycline was initiated, and a clinical response was seen within 1 wk. Convalescent serum exhibited an eightfold increase in titer. Serologic testing was performed on several conspecifics with banked serum; while some low positive titers were present and presumed indicative of past exposure, no titer was elevated to the extent of the affected chimpanzee during its course of disease. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of suspected Lyme borreliosis in a great ape species, and the case originates from an area of the United States with a high incidence of human borreliosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1638/2014-0231R.1DOI Listing
June 2015

IDENTIFICATION OF MYCOBACTERIUM GENAVENSE IN A DIANA MONKEY (CERCOPITHECUS DIANA) BY POLYMERASE CHAIN REACTION AND HIGH-PERFORMANCE LIQUID CHROMATOGRAPHY.

J Zoo Wildl Med 2015 Jun;46(2):339-44

A 25-yr-old Diana monkey (Cercopithecus diana) with a 1.5-yr history of chronic colitis and diarrhea was found to have disseminated granulomatous disease with intralesional acid fast bacilli. Bacilli were identified as Mycobacterium genavense by polymerase chain reaction, sequencing of the 16S-23S ribosomal RNA intergenic spacer (ITS) gene, and mycolic acid analysis by high-performance liquid chromatography. Mycobacterium genavense is a common cause of mycobacteriosis in free-ranging and captive birds. In addition, recognition of opportunistic infection in human immunodeficiency virus-positive patients is increasing. Disease manifestations of M. genavense are similar to Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) and include fever, wasting, and diarrhea with disseminated disease. Similar clinical signs and lesions were observed in this monkey. Mycobacterium genavense should be considered as a differential for disseminated mycobacterial disease in nonhuman primates as this agent can mimic MAC and related mycobacteria.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1638/2013-0246R2.1DOI Listing
June 2015

Health assessment of free-living eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina) in and around the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore 1996-2011.

J Zoo Wildl Med 2015 Mar;46(1):39-51

Health data for free-living eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina) at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore were analyzed. One hundred and eighteen turtles were captured on or near zoo grounds over the course of 15 yr (1996-2011), with recapture of many individuals leading to 208 total evaluations. Of the 118 individuals, 61 were male, 50 were female, and 7 were of undetermined sex. Of the 208 captures, 188 were healthy, and 20 were sick or injured. Complete health evaluations were performed on 30 turtles with physical examination records, complete blood counts (CBCs), and plasma biochemistry profiles. Eight animals were sampled more than once, yielding 40 total samples for complete health evaluations of these 30 individuals. The 40 samples were divided into healthy (N=29) and sick (N=11) groups based on clinical findings on physical examination. Samples from healthy animals were further divided into male (N=17) and female (N= 12) groups. CBC and biochemistry profile parameters were compared between sick and healthy groups and between healthy males and females. Sick turtles had lower albumin, globulin, total protein (TP), calcium, phosphorous, sodium, and potassium than healthy animals. Sick turtles also had higher heterophil to lymphocyte ratios. Healthy female turtles had higher leukocyte count, eosinophil count, total solids, TP, globulin, cholesterol, calcium, and phosphorous than healthy males. Banked plasma from all 40 samples was tested for antibodies to Mycoplasma agassizii and Mycoplasma testudineum via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. One sample from a clinically healthy female was antibody positive for M. agassizii; none were positive for M. testudineum. This study provides descriptive health data for eastern box turtles and CBC and biochemistry profile information for T. carolina carolina at and near the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. It also reports low serologic evidence of exposure to mycoplasmosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1638/2014-0066R.1DOI Listing
March 2015

Identification of a novel herpesvirus in captive Eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina).

Vet Microbiol 2015 Feb 13;175(2-4):218-23. Epub 2014 Dec 13.

Zoological Medicine Service, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, P.O. Box 100126, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA.

Herpesviruses are significant pathogens of chelonians which most commonly cause upper respiratory tract disease and necrotizing stomatitis. Herpesvirus infection was identified in two populations of captive Eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina) using histopathology and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with DNA sequencing. Necrotizing lesions with eosinophilic to amphophilic intranuclear inclusion bodies were identified in the tissues of one hatch-year individual in January 2013, which was herpesvirus positive by PCR. A separate captive group of adults had an observed herpesvirus prevalence of 58% using PCR in July 2011. In these cases, a novel herpesvirus, Terrapene herpesvirus 1 (TerHV1), was identified and serves as the first herpesvirus sequenced in the genus Terrapene. Similar to the other herpesviruses of the Order Testudines, TerHV1 clusters with the genus Scutavirus of the subfamily Alphaherpesvirinae.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2014.11.029DOI Listing
February 2015

Air sac nematode Monopetalonema alcedinis in a Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) in Maryland, USA.

J Wildl Dis 2014 Oct;50(4):938-41

1  Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, 1876 Mansion House Drive, Baltimore, Maryland 21217, USA.

Sporadic and geographically widespread reports of parasites affecting the Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) have been published but few have described details of the pathology. A female, adult kingfisher was found dead in a heavily wooded area of a zoo in Maryland, USA. At necropsy, numerous sexually dimorphic, 4.4-40.5-cm adult Monopetalonema alcedinis nematodes were found tightly wound within the coelomic cavity between organs and completely filling the caudal thoracic and abdominal air sacs. Abundant, 30-60-µm diameter, larvated, thick-walled ova were found in the bronchi and parabronchi, within the mesentery, and in the serosa of multiple coelomic organs. Monopetalonema alcedinis is a characteristic member of the superfamily Diplotriaenoidea, a group of nematodes occurring in birds and reptiles. Infective larvae within an invertebrate intermediate host are ingested and penetrate the intestine, traveling to the lungs and then into the air sacs, where the adult females release eggs. The ova are coughed up by the avian host and passed in feces. Specimens of M. alcedinis have been found in the Belted Kingfisher, although typically intensity of infection is low and infections remain asymptomatic. In contrast, we report the second documented case of high numbers of M. alcedinis resulting in pathologic changes in which parasitism contributed to host mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7589/2014-03-080DOI Listing
October 2014

Serosurvey for selected pathogens in free-ranging American black bears (Ursus americanus) in Maryland, USA.

J Wildl Dis 2014 Oct 30;50(4):829-36. Epub 2014 Jul 30.

1  Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, 1876 Mansion House Drive, Baltimore, Maryland 21217, USA.

American black bears (Ursus americanus) in Maryland, USA, live in forested areas in close proximity to humans and their domestic pets. From 1999 to 2011, we collected 84 serum samples from 63 black bears (18 males; 45 females) in five Maryland counties and tested them for exposure to infectious, including zoonotic, pathogens. A large portion of the bears had antibody to canine distemper virus and Toxoplasma gondii, many at high titers. Prevalences of antibodies to zoonotic agents such as rabies virus and to infectious agents of carnivores including canine adenovirus and canine parvovirus were lower. Bears also had antibodies to vector-borne pathogens common to bears and humans such as West Nile virus, Borrelia burgdorferi, Rickettsia rickettsii, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum. Antibodies were detected to Leptospira interrogans serovars Pomona, Icterohaemorrhagiae, Canicola, Grippotyphosa, and Bratislava. We did not detect antibodies to Brucella canis or Ehrlichia canis. Although this population of Maryland black bears demonstrated exposure to multiple pathogens of concern for humans and domesticated animals, the low levels of clinical disease in this and other free-ranging black bear populations indicate the black bear is likely a spillover host for the majority of pathogens studied. Nevertheless, bear populations living at the human-domestic-wildlife interface with increasing human and domestic animal exposure should continue to be monitored because this population likely serves as a useful sentinel of ecosystem health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7589/2013-07-155DOI Listing
October 2014

Survey of cardiac pathologies in captive striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis).

J Zoo Wildl Med 2014 Jun;45(2):321-7

Cardiac disease is a common finding in small mammals but it is rarely reported in striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis). The aim of this survey was to evaluate the prevalence of cardiac disease in striped skunks and to characterize the types of cardiac disease that might be present. In April 2010, a questionnaire was sent to veterinarians in zoologic collections with membership in the International Species Inventory System. Surveys were distributed to 55 institutions in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Twenty collections with a total of 95 skunks replied to the questionnaire. Of these, five collections reported at least one skunk with cardiac conditions for a total of 11 cases. In these 11 animals, the following conditions were diagnosed: myocardial fibrosis (n = 4), myxomatous valve degeneration (n = 4), hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (n = 1), dilated cardiomyopathy (n = 1), and valvular endocarditis (n = 1). Based on these findings, cardiac diseases should be considered as part of the differential diagnosis in captive striped skunks presenting with weakness, lethargy, and decreased appetite. Cardiac ultrasound also should be considered at the time of annual health examinations to evaluate for possible cardiac conditions at an early stage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1638/2013-0172R1.1DOI Listing
June 2014

Intervertebral disk disease in 3 striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis).

Vet Surg 2014 Jul 8;43(5):589-92. Epub 2014 Apr 8.

Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Objective: To describe diagnostic findings, surgical technique, and outcome in 3 striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis) with a history of paraparesis.

Study Design: Case series.

Animals: Skunks (n = 3) with paraparesis.

Methods: Neurologic examination revealed upper motor neuron disease (T2-L2) in 2 skunks and lower motor neuron disease (L3-S3) in 1 skunk. Diagnostic imaging included radiography, myelography, CT, and MRI and confirmed intervertebral disk herniation (IVDH) in each skunk. Because initial treatment with pain medication and cage rest did not result in lasting improvement, spinal surgery was performed.

Results: Hemilaminectomy (2 skunks) and dorsal laminectomy (1 skunk) was performed with removal of extruded disk material. The skunks improved after surgery but all had minor residual neurologic deficits when examined at various times postoperatively.

Conclusion: Thoracolumbar intervertebral disk herniation occurs in skunks, and must be included in the differential diagnosis of paraparesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-950X.2014.12187.xDOI Listing
July 2014

Pharmacokinetics of tramadol and its primary metabolite O-desmethyltramadol in African penguins (Spheniscus demersus).

J Zoo Wildl Med 2014 Mar;45(1):93-9

Analgesia is an important part of veterinary medicine, but until recently there have been limited studies on analgesic drugs in avian species. Tramadol represents an orally administered opioid drug that has shown analgesic potential in numerous species, including mammals, birds, and reptiles. The objective of this study was to determine the pharmacokinetic parameters of tramadol and its primary metabolite, O-desmethyltramadol (M1), after oral administration of tramadol hydrochloride (HCl) in African penguins (Spheniscus demersus). A dose of 10 mg/kg of tramadol HCl was administered orally to 15 birds, and blood was collected at various time points from 0 to 36 hr. Tramadol and M1 concentrations were determined and were consistent with therapeutic concentrations in humans through 12 hr in 9/15 birds for tramadol and 36 hr in 14/15 birds for M1. Based on these findings and a comparison with other avian studies, an oral dose of 10 mg/kg of tramadol once daily appears to be a promising analgesic option for African penguins.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1638/2013-0190R.1DOI Listing
March 2014

Pathology in practice. Nasal and nasopharyngeal polyps.

J Am Vet Med Assoc 2012 Oct;241(7):885-7

Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.2460/javma.241.7.885DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3771105PMC
October 2012

Dendritic morphology of pyramidal neurons in the chimpanzee neocortex: regional specializations and comparison to humans.

Cereb Cortex 2013 Oct 8;23(10):2429-36. Epub 2012 Aug 8.

Department of Anthropology, The George Washington University, Washington, DC.

The primate cerebral cortex is characterized by regional variation in the structure of pyramidal neurons, with more complex dendritic arbors and greater spine density observed in prefrontal compared with sensory and motor cortices. Although there are several investigations in humans and other primates, virtually nothing is known about regional variation in the morphology of pyramidal neurons in the cerebral cortex of great apes, humans' closest living relatives. The current study uses the rapid Golgi stain to quantify the dendritic structure of layer III pyramidal neurons in 4 areas of the chimpanzee cerebral cortex: Primary somatosensory (area 3b), primary motor (area 4), prestriate visual (area 18), and prefrontal (area 10) cortex. Consistent with previous studies in humans and macaque monkeys, pyramidal neurons in the prefrontal cortex of chimpanzees exhibit greater dendritic complexity than those in other cortical regions, suggesting that prefrontal cortical evolution in primates is characterized by increased potential for integrative connectivity. Compared with chimpanzees, the pyramidal neurons of humans had significantly longer and more branched dendritic arbors in all cortical regions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhs239DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3767963PMC
October 2013