Genital Lesions Associated with Delphinid Herpesvirus-4 in a Striped Dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) from Clearwater, Florida, Gulf of Mexico
IAAAM 2016
Bryan S. Vorbach1*+; Sarah N. Miller1; James F.X. Wellehan2; Hada Herring3; Michael T. Walsh1
1Aquatic Animal Health Program, Department of Large Animal Clinical Studies, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA; 2Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA; 3Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Clearwater, FL, USA


An adult female striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) stranded dead along the gulf coast of Florida. On necropsy the dolphin had respiratory compromise, was thin and was carrying a 17 cm fetus. The vaginal slit contained papilloma like tumors which were pink to grey in color and flattened with an irregular border. Polymerase chain reaction revealed these tumors to be the associated with the presence of Delphinid Herpesvirus-4 (DeHV-4), a gammaherpesvirus. Cases involving cetacean alphaherpesviruses have been implicated as the cause of mortalities in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus),1 while the gammaherpes viruses in cetaceans have been associated with oral or genital lesions2. This is the first time DeHV-4 has been isolated from a striped dolphin, with all previous infections being found in bottlenose dolphins, where it has been associated with similar lesions.2,3 The isolation of DeHV-4 in a novel species demonstrates the potential for this virus to cross species barriers.


The authors would like to thank the members of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium stranding team for responding to this carcass. We would also like to thank Nina Thompson for her help with the necropsy and tissue collection, and Dr. Robson Gigio for his evaluation of the post-mortem computerized tomography scan.

* Presenting author
+ Student presenter

Literature Cited

1.  Blanchard TW, Santiago NT, Lipscomb TP, Garber RL, McFee WE, Knowles S. Two novel alphaherpesviruses associated with fatal disseminated infections in Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. J Wildl Dis. 2001;37:297–305.

2.  Rehtanz M, Bossart GD, Fair PA, Reif JS, Ghim S, Jenson AB. Papillomaviruses and herpesviruses: who is who in genital tumor development of free-ranging Atlantic bottlenosed dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)? Vet Microbiol. 2012;160:297–304.

3.  Smolarek Benson K, Manire C, Ewing R, Saliki J, Townsend F, Ehlers B, Romero C. Identification of novel alpha-and gammaherpesviruses from cutaneous and mucosal lesions of dolphins and whales. J Virol Methods. 2006;136:261–266.


Speaker Information
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Bryan S. Vorbach, DVM
Aquatic Animal Health Program, Department of Large Animal Clinical Studies
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Florida/IFAS
Gainesville, FL, USA

MAIN : Pathology, Immunology, Toxicology of Mammals : Genital Lesions & Delphinid Herpesvirus-4
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