October 2017

P-V03 (NP)


Signalment (JPC #2359302):  Tissue from a common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

HISTORY:  Found stranded on the shoreline

HISTOPATHOLOGIC DESCRIPTION: Lung: There is multifocal to coalescing areas of consolidation affecting approximately 40% of the pulmonary parenchyma.  Bronchiolar and alveolar lumina are expanded by an eosinophilic exudate composed of eosinophillic karyorrhectic debris admixed with numerous foamy macrophages, viral syncytial cells, viable and degenerate neutrophils, lymphocytes, plasma cells, fibrin, hemorrhage and edema.  Alveolar septa are expanded by fibrin, edema, increased macrophages and lymphocytes and small amounts of necrotic debris.. Multifocally  alveoli are lined by hyperplastic type II pneumocytes, and bronchiolar epithelium often coalesces to form viral syncytial cells with up to 20 nuclei.  Within bronchiolar epithelial cells, type II pneumocytes, syncytial cells, alveolar macrophages, and rarely fibroblasts are round to oval 2 – 4 um diameter eosinophilic intracytoplasmic and intranuclear viral inclusion bodies.  Multifocally peribronchiolar, perivascular, and subpleural interstitia are expanded up to 5 times normal by increased clear space and ectatic lymphatics (edema). Focally, a bronchiole is marked distended by adult intraluminal metastrongyle nematode, surrounded by sloughed epithelial admixed with eosinophillic karyorrhectic debris. The nematode is 200 um in diameter, has a thick (5-8 um) smooth hyalinized cuticle, polymyarian-coelomyarian musculature, a pseudocoelom, lateral chords, an intestine lined by few multinucleated cells, and reproductive structures. 

MORPHOLOGIC DIAGNOSIS: 1. Lung:  Pneumonia, bronchointerstitial, necrotizing, histiocytic and neutrophilic, subacute, focally extensive, moderate, with type II pneumocyte hyperplasia, viral syncytial cells, eosinophilic intranuclear and intracytoplasmic viral inclusion bodies, bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), cetacean

  1. Lung: Intrabronchiolar adult metastrongyle nematode, with minimal neutrophilic and histiocytic inflammation, ­etiology consistent with Halocercus lagenorhynchi

ETIOLOGIC DIAGNOSIS: Morbilliviral pneumonia

CAUSE:  Dolphin morbillivirus (DMV); cetacean morbillivirus (CeMV); pilot whale morbillivirus








In dolphins, diseases that cause:



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  3. Di Guardo G. Morbillivirus-host interaction: lessons from aquatic mammals. Front Microbiol. 2012; 3(431): 1-2.
  4. Dold C. Chapter 43 cetacea (whales, dolphins, porpoises). In: Miller RE, et al. Fowler’s Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine, Vol 8. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2015: 427.
  5. Fernandez A, Esperon F, Herraez P, et al. Morbillivirus and pilot whale deaths, Mediterranean Sea. Emerg Infect Dis. 2008;14(5):792-794.
  6. Mazzariol S, Centelleghe C, Di Provvido A, et al. Dolphin morbillivirus associated with a mass stranding of sperm whales, Italy. Emerg Infect Dis. 2017;23(1):144-145.
  7. Van Bressem MF, Duignan PJ, Banyard A, et al. Cetacean Morbillivirus: current knowledge and future directions. 2014; 6:5145-51481
  8. West KL, Levine G, Jacob J, et al. Coinfection and vertical transmission of brucella and morbillivirus in a neonatal sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) in Hawaii, USA. J Wildl Dis. 2015; 51(1): 227-232

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