Stillbirth and neonatal mortality are substantial problems in captive bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). The cause of these problems often is unknown. We report a case of Escherichia coli septicemia in a male 3-day-old bottlenose dolphin calf. Lesions included omphalitis, synovitis, and hepatic necrosis associated with the presence of Gram-negative bacilli. E. coli was isolated in pure culture from multiple organs. A serum gammaglobulin level of 1.5 g/L indicated a lack of maternally acquired immunity. The observed failure to nurse may have resulted from brain injury due to perinatal asphyxia. Evidence for perinatal asphyxia was the diffuse presence of a moderate amount of meconium in the lungs.

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Veterinary Pathology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Elk, N., van de Bildt, M., Martina, B., Osterhaus, A., & Kuiken, T. (2007). Escherichia coli septicemia associated with lack of maternally acquired immunity in a bottlenose dolphin calf. Veterinary Pathology, 44(1), 88–92. doi:10.1354/vp.44-1-88