Clinical, pathological, and laboratory diagnoses of diseases of harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena), live stranded on the Dutch and adjacent coasts from 2003 to 2016

Cornelius E van Elk, Marco WG van de Bildt, Peter RWA van Run, Paulien Bunskoek, Jolanda Meerbeek, G Foster, Albert DME Osterhaus, T Kuiken*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) in the North Sea live in an environment heavily impacted by humans, the consequences of which are a concern for their health. Autopsies carried out on stranded harbour porpoises provide an opportunity to assess health problems in this species. We performed 61 autopsies on live-stranded harbour porpoises, which died following admission to a rehabilitation centre between 2003 and 2016. The animals had stranded
on the Dutch (n = 52) and adjacent coasts of Belgium (n = 2) and Germany (n = 7). We assigned probable causes for stranding based on clinical and pathological criteria. Cause of stranding was associated in the majority of cases with
pathologies in multiple organs (n = 29) compared to animals with pathologies in a single organ (n = 18). Our results show that the three most probable causes of stranding were pneumonia (n = 35), separation of calves from their mother (n = 10), and aspergillosis (n = 9). Pneumonia as a consequence of pulmonary nematode infection occurred in 19 animals. Pneumonia was significantly associated with infection with Pseudalius inflexus, Halocercus sp., and Torynurus
convolutus but not with Stenurus minor infection. Half of the bacterial pneumonias (6/12) could not be associated with nematode infection. Conclusions from this study are that aspergillosis is an important probable cause for stranding, while parasitic infection is not a necessary prerequisite for bacterial pneumonia, and approximately half of the animals (29/61) probably stranded due to multiple causes. An important implication of the observed high prevalence of aspergillosis is that these harbour porpoises suffered from reduced immunocompetence.
Original languageEnglish
Article number88
Number of pages17
JournalVeterinary Research
Volume50
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - 30 Oct 2019

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Phocoena
Phocoena phocoena
Clinical Laboratory Techniques
disease diagnosis
Aspergillosis
aspergillosis
coasts
bacterial pneumonia
pneumonia
Nematode Infections
Bacterial Pneumonia
Pneumonia
nematode infections
Autopsy
necropsy
animals
North Sea
Immunocompetence
Rehabilitation Centers
Parasitic Diseases

Keywords

  • Porpoise
  • Pathology
  • Microbiology
  • Pneumoniae

Cite this

van Elk, Cornelius E ; van de Bildt, Marco WG ; van Run, Peter RWA ; Bunskoek, Paulien ; Meerbeek, Jolanda ; Foster, G ; Osterhaus, Albert DME ; Kuiken, T. / Clinical, pathological, and laboratory diagnoses of diseases of harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena), live stranded on the Dutch and adjacent coasts from 2003 to 2016. In: Veterinary Research. 2019 ; Vol. 50.
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abstract = "Harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) in the North Sea live in an environment heavily impacted by humans, the consequences of which are a concern for their health. Autopsies carried out on stranded harbour porpoises provide an opportunity to assess health problems in this species. We performed 61 autopsies on live-stranded harbour porpoises, which died following admission to a rehabilitation centre between 2003 and 2016. The animals had strandedon the Dutch (n = 52) and adjacent coasts of Belgium (n = 2) and Germany (n = 7). We assigned probable causes for stranding based on clinical and pathological criteria. Cause of stranding was associated in the majority of cases withpathologies in multiple organs (n = 29) compared to animals with pathologies in a single organ (n = 18). Our results show that the three most probable causes of stranding were pneumonia (n = 35), separation of calves from their mother (n = 10), and aspergillosis (n = 9). Pneumonia as a consequence of pulmonary nematode infection occurred in 19 animals. Pneumonia was significantly associated with infection with Pseudalius inflexus, Halocercus sp., and Torynurusconvolutus but not with Stenurus minor infection. Half of the bacterial pneumonias (6/12) could not be associated with nematode infection. Conclusions from this study are that aspergillosis is an important probable cause for stranding, while parasitic infection is not a necessary prerequisite for bacterial pneumonia, and approximately half of the animals (29/61) probably stranded due to multiple causes. An important implication of the observed high prevalence of aspergillosis is that these harbour porpoises suffered from reduced immunocompetence.",
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Clinical, pathological, and laboratory diagnoses of diseases of harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena), live stranded on the Dutch and adjacent coasts from 2003 to 2016. / van Elk, Cornelius E; van de Bildt, Marco WG; van Run, Peter RWA; Bunskoek, Paulien ; Meerbeek, Jolanda; Foster, G; Osterhaus, Albert DME; Kuiken, T.

In: Veterinary Research, Vol. 50, 88, 30.10.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Clinical, pathological, and laboratory diagnoses of diseases of harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena), live stranded on the Dutch and adjacent coasts from 2003 to 2016

AU - van Elk, Cornelius E

AU - van de Bildt, Marco WG

AU - van Run, Peter RWA

AU - Bunskoek, Paulien

AU - Meerbeek, Jolanda

AU - Foster, G

AU - Osterhaus, Albert DME

AU - Kuiken, T

PY - 2019/10/30

Y1 - 2019/10/30

N2 - Harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) in the North Sea live in an environment heavily impacted by humans, the consequences of which are a concern for their health. Autopsies carried out on stranded harbour porpoises provide an opportunity to assess health problems in this species. We performed 61 autopsies on live-stranded harbour porpoises, which died following admission to a rehabilitation centre between 2003 and 2016. The animals had strandedon the Dutch (n = 52) and adjacent coasts of Belgium (n = 2) and Germany (n = 7). We assigned probable causes for stranding based on clinical and pathological criteria. Cause of stranding was associated in the majority of cases withpathologies in multiple organs (n = 29) compared to animals with pathologies in a single organ (n = 18). Our results show that the three most probable causes of stranding were pneumonia (n = 35), separation of calves from their mother (n = 10), and aspergillosis (n = 9). Pneumonia as a consequence of pulmonary nematode infection occurred in 19 animals. Pneumonia was significantly associated with infection with Pseudalius inflexus, Halocercus sp., and Torynurusconvolutus but not with Stenurus minor infection. Half of the bacterial pneumonias (6/12) could not be associated with nematode infection. Conclusions from this study are that aspergillosis is an important probable cause for stranding, while parasitic infection is not a necessary prerequisite for bacterial pneumonia, and approximately half of the animals (29/61) probably stranded due to multiple causes. An important implication of the observed high prevalence of aspergillosis is that these harbour porpoises suffered from reduced immunocompetence.

AB - Harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) in the North Sea live in an environment heavily impacted by humans, the consequences of which are a concern for their health. Autopsies carried out on stranded harbour porpoises provide an opportunity to assess health problems in this species. We performed 61 autopsies on live-stranded harbour porpoises, which died following admission to a rehabilitation centre between 2003 and 2016. The animals had strandedon the Dutch (n = 52) and adjacent coasts of Belgium (n = 2) and Germany (n = 7). We assigned probable causes for stranding based on clinical and pathological criteria. Cause of stranding was associated in the majority of cases withpathologies in multiple organs (n = 29) compared to animals with pathologies in a single organ (n = 18). Our results show that the three most probable causes of stranding were pneumonia (n = 35), separation of calves from their mother (n = 10), and aspergillosis (n = 9). Pneumonia as a consequence of pulmonary nematode infection occurred in 19 animals. Pneumonia was significantly associated with infection with Pseudalius inflexus, Halocercus sp., and Torynurusconvolutus but not with Stenurus minor infection. Half of the bacterial pneumonias (6/12) could not be associated with nematode infection. Conclusions from this study are that aspergillosis is an important probable cause for stranding, while parasitic infection is not a necessary prerequisite for bacterial pneumonia, and approximately half of the animals (29/61) probably stranded due to multiple causes. An important implication of the observed high prevalence of aspergillosis is that these harbour porpoises suffered from reduced immunocompetence.

KW - Porpoise

KW - Pathology

KW - Microbiology

KW - Pneumoniae

U2 - 10.1186/s13567-019-0706-3

DO - 10.1186/s13567-019-0706-3

M3 - Article

C2 - 31666128

VL - 50

JO - Veterinary Research

JF - Veterinary Research

SN - 0928-4249

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