In July 1998 a young female bottlenose dolphin that had been acquired from the wild twelve months earlier, was noted to have an abnormal
swelling. The swelling appeared on her left side, below the middle of the dorsal fin on the lateral body wall, approximately in the area of the left kidney. The
swelling was approximately 7 cm in diameter and appeared to involve the subcutaneous tissues. Fine needle aspiration and subsequent cytology revealed a segment of
an adult nematode and numerous parasite ova. The complete blood counts and serum chemistry profile were considered normal on that date. Previous fecal parasitic
examinations were negative.
In August 1998, due to the slowly increasing size of the swelling, a decision was made to surgically drain/excise the cyst. The area was
anesthetized with 2% Lidocaine infiltrated into the subcutaneous tissues. After a betadine/alcohol prep, a 3 cm incision was made over the swelling through the
skin and blubber layer. The incision was slanted allowing the exterior wound to be larger than the deeper wound. This would allow the wound to granulate closed
sooner in the deeper tissue avoiding possible abscess formation.
It was necessary to extend the dissection through the muscle fascia and tissue to enter the cyst. At this level a yellow/brown fluid appeared
from the opened cyst and in the cyst were slender white parasites. Dissection was continued to remove the rough fibrous capsule. The cyst inside the capsule had
several compartments. The deepest compartment was deep in the muscle in the direction at the left kidney. There were two ventral "blind" compartments that
extended ventral to the skin incision. Five slender parasites were carefully removed from the cyst. Surgical dissection was continued to remove as much as the
lateral capsule wall as possible. The wound was swabbed numerous times with a gauze/hemostat. The wound was tightly packed with gauze impregnated with betadine
solution. This gauze was removed the next day by the training staff. Because deeper tissues were involved, a regime of prophylactic antibiotics was prescribed.
The wound was flushed with a 10% betadine saline flush three times daily. The wound healed uneventfully in 10 days and was completely healed after 2 months
leaving only a slight scar. The parasites were sent to the diagnostic laboratory at the National University of Mexico and they reported the parasites to be an
"Anisakis sp". The dolphin was treated with fenbendazole at 30 mg/kg daily for 3 days. In January 1999 a similar swelling appeared 5 cm. cranial to the
first one. The surgical procedure was repeated with similar results. The dolphin was treated post op with ivermectin at 200 µ/kg.