Benny aka Benny Hill

Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

(MML 9519, VMSM 951047, MMES 95142NC)

Age Class Calf
Gender Male
Date Stranded September 18, 1995
Location of Stranding Corolla, NC
Date of Arrival October 19, 1995
Number of Days of Care 130 total (32 at NMFS-NC, 98 at MML)

Final Disposition

Euthanized on 26 Jan 1996
Benny stranded in NC and was taken to the NMFS Lab in Beaufort. Initial diagnosis included a likely bacterial infection (neutrophilia, thrombocytopenia) and liver disease/trauma. The dolphin was inappetant and unable to swim. Started on antibiotics and oral fluids. Began eating on 30 September, swimming on 1 October. Developed a subcutaneous emphysema ~ 15 October which slowly improved but never resolved, cause unknown. Hepatitis=neg, morbillivirus=neg. Due to inadequate facilities, Benny was flown to MML by Coastguard on 20 Oct.

The dolphin had periods of activity and lethargy, marked, chronic flatulence, and occasional vomiting throughout treatment. Multiple courses of antibitotics, antifungals, anti protozoals were administered. Bronchoalveolar lavage performed on 28 Sep and 9 Dec. (reults inconclusive, contamination likely). Immune panel and protein electrophoresis results demonstrated immunocompromise developed late in the case. The dolphin was euthanized and the necropsy revealed severe intestinal disease.

Age Class: Calf-Juvenile (~ 1 yr at stranding)

Findings:
Enterocolitis (pseudomembranous) leading to intestinal infarct and enterotoxemia. Immunocompromised. Incidental finding of intestinal microsporidia.

Lessons:
1- Methods of diagnosing colitis need to be improved (colonoscopy?)
2- Immune status should be evaluated to guide decision-making

Publication:
Hawkins, E. C., F. I. Townsend, G. A. Lewbart, M. A. Stamper, V. G. Thayer, and H. L. Rhinehart. "Bronchoalveolar lavage in a dolphin." Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Vol. 211, No. 7, October, 1997. Pp 901-904.

Presentation:
Rhinehart, H. L., F. I townsend, R. M. Overstreet, G. S. Visvesvara, A. da Silva, and N. J. Pieniazek. "First report of microsporidiosis in the bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus." Oral presentation at the International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine, 27th annual conference, Chatanooga, TN, 1996.

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