Characterization of Multiple Ulcerative and Proliferative Masses in a Colony of Lookdowns (Selene vomer)
IAAAM Archive
Joseph M. Scimeca1; Dave Gross2; Michael M. Garner3; Robert Nordhausen4
1University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Animal Resources Center, Galveston, TX, USA; 2Aquarium Restaurant, Kemah, TX, USA; 3Northwest ZooPath, WA, USA; 4California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory, Davis, CA, USA


Wild caught Lookdowns (Selene vomer) were shipped to the Aquarium Restaurant from Florida in the summer of 1998. The animals have been since housed in a large cylindrical aquarium of 10,000 gallons. The Lookdowns have developed raised and ulcerative nodular masses along the head and face and mandible. The masses are also observed frequently on the tail fins. The lesions are often white but can have a flesh colored appearance near the dorsal surface. The masses can spontaneously regress and can also recur. The tank is known to have monogenetic trematodes and also the protozoan Cryptocaryon sp. Water chemistry is within normal limits but the nitrates can be in the high range, and sometimes the salinity is lowered. The tank has been treated with copper sulfate on occasion.

The white and sometimes reddish brown nodular masses have a size range from 1-2mm to 3-4mm in diameter. The masses tend to be soft and pliable. Several biopsies were obtained, fixed in 10% buffered neutral formalin, embedded in paraffin and processed for staining (hematoxylin and eosin). The microscopic evaluation characterized the masses as nodular proliferations of moderately cellular fibrous connective tissue with areas of neovascularization and mild chronic nonsuppurative inflammation predominantly around blood vessels. The overlying epidermis is mildly to moderately hyperplastic with areas of vesicle formation. Some of the epithelial cells have intracellular edema and occasionally cells were observed to have cytoplasmic inclusions. Areas of ulceration were observed on some surfaces.

Further characterization of the masses will be presented with supporting data of transmission electron microscopic evaluations. In addition, a differential diagnosis list as to the etiology of the masses will also be presented.

Speaker Information
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Joseph M. Scimeca, Jr, DVM, PhD
Animal Resources Center and Department of Pathology
University of Texas, Medical Branch
Galveston, TX, USA

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