A 20 year old, female, wild caught, Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) was monitored closely during pregnancy. Ultrasound measurements and maternal rectal temperatures were performed to help predict the date of parturition. Twenty-one days prior to the predicted birth date (plus or minus 4 days), the animal became acutely inappetant and showed early sign of labor (arching, stretching, and abdominal crunching). Attempts to perform fetal ultrasound at this time proved unsuccessful due to an uncooperative patient. A stillborn fetus, still wrapped in the placenta, was passed 19 hours after the first signs of labor. The umbilical cord was tightly wrapped around the fetus. The maternal surface of the placenta was irregular with patchy erosions and loss of villi. The placenta and fetus had a foul odor. Blood was collected from the dam six hours post partum and values consistent with a serious infection were found. Abdominal ultrasound revealed a fluid filled uterus. Vaginoscopy was performed to evaluate the uterus and collect samples for culture and sensitivity. Systemic antibiotics, prostaglandin F2alpha, and oxytocin were used to treat the infection and facilitate uterine evacuation. Ultrasound was repeated to monitor the uterus throughout the post partum period. The infection was successfully treated and the animal recovered fully.
The authors wish to thank the staff of Atlantis Paradise Island for their support.