Supplementation Support for Chronic Esophagitis/Gastritis in a Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) During Lactation with Imuno-2865® for Immunity Acceleration
Over the past years, researchers have shown an interest in cetacean reproduction.1,2 Treating a dolphin during pregnancy and lactation can be difficult due to the lack of safety studies. Most prescription drugs are in the category C, D, or X classifying that there is not enough research to determine if the drug is safe or teratogenic adverse effects have been documented. Imuno-2865® is a beta glucan supplement extracted from a blend of mushrooms (shitake, maitake, and lingzhi), grass plant family (Poaceae), and yam family (Dioscoreaceae). These beta-glucans are delivered in a proprietary microparticle process to promote improved absorption.3 In malnourished weanling elephant seals, Imuno-2865® showed an elevation of tumor necrosis alpha-factor TNFα, compared to the control group, which may indicate an enhanced response to a pathogen as they became rehabiliated.4 TNFα is a cytokine helping to induce inflammation, inhibit viral replication, and has been demonstrated in Helicobacter pylori-associated gastric mucosal inflammation.5 Several studies have proved that the gastrointestinal system plays a central role in the immune system homeostasis with approximately 70% of the entire immune system found in this site in humans.6 Imuno-2865® also contains arabinogalactan, a polysaccharide, that enhances beneficial gut microflora by increasing short-chain fatty acid production (primarily butyrate), which is essential for proper colon health and is the preferred substrate for energy generation by colonic epithelial cells in humans.7
An 18-year-old, 250 kg, female nursing bottlenose dolphin had a history of esophagitis/gastritis beginning February 2004, with no other medical problems. The multiparous female had experienced three previous deliveries, in which her first calf died due to lack of nursing. Gastric cytology and palpation provided evidence to say that she had chronic bleeding in forestomach, loose cardia, and peeling from the esophagus membrane. We were never able to scope her and collect a biopsy due to lack of endoscopic equipment. She was nursing while the following drugs were administered: sucralfate, ranitidine, omeprazole and tranexamic acid, but gastric cytology showed that even on these medications, an increased inflammatory response was seen. Imuno-2865® was started beginning December 2015, 1500 mg PO BID for 21 days to support the immune and digestive system. At this point, no other drugs were administered. Gastric cytology (RBC and WBC counts decreased gradually) showed that the esophagitis/gastritis was improving. When the animal was taken off Imuno-2865®, seven days later the cytology again showed evidence of inflammation and bleeding in the forestomach.
Imuno-2865® has been given safely during gestation and lactation in various marine mammals species as an adjunctive immune support supplement. Many cetaceans have been classified as an endangered animal in Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. The health care research for captive bottlenose dolphins during gestation and lactation can be applied to the reproduction for other cetacean species.
The authors wish to thank the staff at the Dolphins Pacific for taking care of all the dolphins. The authors would like to acknowledge Animal Necessity for providing the Imuno-2865® for this study.
* Presenting author
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