A Retrospective Study of Diseases in Elasmobranchs
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2011
Michael M. Garner, DVM, DACVP
Northwest ZooPath, Monroe, WA, USA


To the author’s knowledge, no large retrospective studies of disease in elasmobranchs have been published. This report reviews diseases of 1546 elasmobranchs representing at least 60 species submitted to Northwest ZooPath from 1994–2010. Cownose rays (Rhinoptera bonasus) (78), southern rays (Dasyatis americana) (75), dusky smooth-hounds (Mustelus canis) (74), bonnethead sharks (Sphyrna tiburo) (66), and bamboo sharks (Hemiscyllidae) (56) were the most commonly submitted species. Infectious/inflammatory disease was most common (33.5%) followed by nutritional (11.9%, mostly emaciation), traumatic (11.3%), cardiovascular (5.5%, mostly shock), and toxin-associated disease (3.7%). Bacterial infections (518/1546, 15%) included sepsis (136/518, 26%), dermatitis (7%), branchitis (6%), and enteritis (4%). Fungal infections (10/1546, 0.6%), included dermatitis (30%), hepatitis (30%), and branchitis (20%). Viral infections (15/1546, 1%) included papillomatosis (47%), herpesvirus (20%), and adenovirus (7%). Parasitic infections (137/1546, 9%) included nematodiasis (36/137, 26%), ciliate infections (23%), trematodiasis (20%), coccidiosis (6%), myxozoanosis (5%), amoebiasis (4%), cestodiasis (1%), and flagellate infections (1%). Inflammation of unknown cause (401/1546, 26%) included enteritis (55/401, 14%), branchitis (9%), encephalitis (9%), and dermatitis (7%). Traumatic diseases (174/1546, 11.3%) included skin (103/174, 60%), stress/maladaptation (9%), and gut trauma (7%). Toxicoses (57/1546, 4%) included toxic gill disease (16/57, 26%), gas bubble disease (19%), fenbendazole (7%), ammonia (7%), chlorine (5%), and ozone (4%). Species predispositions included papillomatosis in bamboo and sand tiger sharks (Odontaspididae); visceral nematodiasis in blacknose (Carcharhinus acronotus) and sandbar sharks (C. plumbius); intracoelomic coccidiosis in cownose rays; ciliated protozoan, herpesvirus, and adenovirus infections in dusky smooth-hounds; toxic gill disease and microsporidiosis in lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris); necrotizing pancreatitis in horn (Heterodontus francisci) and zebra sharks (Stegostoma fasciata); tattoo ink embolism in orange spot stingrays (Potamortrygon motoro); branchial trematodiasis in southern rays; branchial nematodiasis in cownose rays; and goiter in swell (Cephaloscyllium ventriosum) sharks.


Speaker Information
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Michael M. Garner, DVM, DACVP
Northwest ZooPath
Monroe, WA, USA

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