Therapeutic Approach to Mandibular and Maxillary Fractures in Captive Cetaceans (Historical Cases Review)
IAAAM Archive

Claudia Gili1; Jim McBain2; Manuel Garcia Hartmann3; Greg Bossart4; Maya Magdalena Menchaca5; Michael Renner6; Forrest Townsend7; Michael Walsh8; Géraldine Lacave9; Ana Salbany10; Luis Roque10

1 Acquario di Genova, Ponte Spinola 16128, Genova Italy; 2Sea World of California, San Diego, CA, USA; 3Duisburg Zoo, Duisburg, Germany; 4Division of Marine Mammal Research and Conservation, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Ft. Pierce, FL, USA; 5Miami Seaquarium, Miami, FL, USA; 6Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Powell, OH, USA; 7Bayside Hospital for Animals, Fort Walton Beach, FL, USA; 8Sea World of Florida, Orlando, FL, USA; 9Marine Mammal Veterinary Services, Brugge, Belgium; 10Zoomarine, Guia, Albufeira, Portugal


Several cases of maxillary and mandibular fractures occurred over the years in small cetaceans maintained under human care. These types of fractures have been reported in wild dolphins and were observed both at strandings as well as in wild healthy animals. In captivity these cases often occur during interaction between individuals.

The practical experience of several veterinarians shows a broad range of therapeutic methodologies. The methods range from surgical approaches utilizing pins to maintain apposition and alignment to the less invasive use of splints and the application of various types casts or bandages.

This paper will review 17 clinical cases of jaw fractures (15 Tursiops truncatus, 1 Stenella attenuata and 1 Lagenorhyncus obliquidens) exploring the methods of surgical fixation, bandaging techniques, husbandry management of the animal for feeding control, prognosis and results.


1.  Townsend Jr. FI, Sips DG. 1996. Medical management of a maxillary fracture in a Stenella attenuata Proc. 27th International Aquatic Animal Medicine Conference Pp. 42.

Speaker Information
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Claudia Gili
Acquario di Genova Ponte Spinola Area Porto Antico
Genova, Italy

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