Clinical and Microbiological Manifestation of Intestinal Dysbiosis of Captive Black Sea Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus ponticus)
IAAAM Archive
Vladimir Alexandrovich Semenov
Gelendzhik Dolphinarium
Gelendzhik, Krasnodar Region, Russia


Coprological and microbiological studies of feces allow diagnosis of dysbiotic conditions of the intestines of dolphins at an early stage, which means a mild form of them, when such pathology has not yet caused significant changes in the blood, therefore allowing rational therapy in a timely manner. The goal of this work was a comparative study of qualitative and quantitative composition of microflora of the distal part of intestine of clinically healthy and ill captive Black Sea bottlenose dolphins. Microscopic studies show that feces of healthy animals are almost free of blood cells, while feces of dolphins with dysfunctions of digestion had from 6 to several dozen of leucocytes as well as 2 and more erythrocytes in a single visual field. Also large amounts of dietary fiber and neutral fat were detected in case of ill animals. Significant decrease of amount of normal enzymating E. coli from 5.9 ± 0.30 to 4.0 ± 0.44 lg CFU/g (P < 0.01) and lactobacteria from 4.8 ± 0.42 to 1.3 ± 0.35 CFU/g (P < 0.001) during indigestion is typical. It was also observed that quantitative indicators of clostridia (4.6 ± 0.38 lg CFU/g), bifidobacteria (4.3 ± 0.50 lg CFU (colony-forming units)/g) and enterococci (1.0 ± 0.31 lg CFU/g) for sick animals were at decreased levels. At the same time much higher numbers of proteus (1.3 ± 0.45 lg CFU/g), providensia (0.8 ± 0.36 lg CFU/g), epidermal staphylococci (3.2 ± 0.53 lg CFU/g) and candida fungi (0.8 ± 0.36 lg CFU/g) were observed for these dolphins. Pseudomonas (0.3 ± 0.18 lg CFU/g) was noticed as well. The amount of other microorganisms, including hemolytic E. coli, Klebsiella, Morganella and golden staphylococci showed no significant changes. While numbers of particular specimens of resident intestinal microflora changed during microecological dysfunctions, number of pathogenic forms was not high enough to give them advantage over other bacteria and strongly compete for an alimentary econiche. In single cases we determined severe forms of dysbiotic conditions, followed by complete refusal of feeding and adynamia, which are per se nothing else but endogenous infections based on deep microbiological and pathological changes in macroorganism.


The author would like to thank the Krasnodar Veterinarian Research Institute (Krasnodar) and Utrish dolphinarium (Moscow) for funding portions of this work.


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Vladimir A. Semenov

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