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LAJAM 6(2): 185-187, December 2007 ISSN 1676-7497 VETERINARY TREATMENT OF AN INJURED WILD FRANCISCANA DOLPHIN CALF (PONTOPORIA BLAINVILLEI, GERVAIS & D‘ORBIGNY, 1844) PAULA BALDASSIN1,2; MAX RONDON WERNECK2,3; CARLA BEATRIZ BARBOSA1,2; BERENICE MARIA GOMES GALLO2,3; HUGO GALLO1,2 AND MICHAEL WALSH4 The Franciscana dolphin (Pontoporia blainvillei) is a small handling but returned to normal shortly after release.
cetacean endemic to the western South Atlantic Ocean, The animal was alert but exhibited some abnormal ranging from Espírito Santo, Brazil (18°25’S) to Golfo swimming posture and appeared to be uncomfortable Nuevo, Península Valdés, Argentina (42°35’S) (Kinas, as evidenced by abdominal flexing and shivering. The 2002). It appears to inhabit a narrow strip of coastal water temperature was subsequently increased to 28ºC waters between the surf line and the 30-m isobath. Its and the animal began swimming normally.
conservation is of particular concern because of its Prophylactic anti-microbial therapy was initiated with restricted distribution and vulnerability to incidental a daily intramuscular injection of 5mg/kg amikacin capture in fishing gear (Reeves et al., 2003). Between 1997 sulfate twice a day (Stoskopf, 1990). A milk replacer and 2001, 109 stranded animals, among which 28 living used at Sea World California and other marine parks calves that could not be rescued, were observed in the was prepared and the animal was fed every 1.5 h coastal region of São Paulo, Brazil (Santos et al., 2002).
(Table 1) by bottle. The feeding frequency followed Located in the north of São Paulo State, Brazil, the the natural patterns known for dolphins, which Ubatuba Aquarium and Argonaut Institute for Costal include nursing intervals between 30 min and 2 hours and Marine Conservation have worked in the with a 20-sec duration for each session (Jones et al., rehabilitation of marine animals since 1996. Four other 19885; Sweeney, 1990). The rostrum lesions were franciscana dolphin calves, including two males and two treated with a combination of Cicatrilex®, a females, were treated in Ubatuba. One of these calves waterproof ointment, and Quadriderm® (Gentamicin, Betamethasone, Tolnaftate and Iodoclorohidroxiquina).
This case report describes the husbandry and medical Three blood samples were collected from the central tail management of an injured orphan female Pontoporia vein, with a 19 gauge butterfly and a 3-cc syringe (Table 2).
blainvillei calf entangled in a fishing net, and rescued bya diver in the shallow waters of São Sebastião, São Paulostate (23°21’20’’S) on 9 January 2006. Physical examination Table 1. Milk formula administered to the franciscana dolphin from and blood glucose test were performed on site by the this study, adapted from formula used at Sea World California(Young and Dalton, 1994*) but modified based on the oil available.
rescue team. Blood glucose level was 86 mg/dl and therespiratory rate was 5 breathes per minute. The animal was transported to the Ubatuba Aquarium (23°26’13’’S)by car on foam transported dry and wet down with sea water for evaluation and rehabilitation. It was maintained in a 1,000-L pool filled with sea water at 25oC and 35ppm salinity, which was all changed after each feeding. The calf measured 76cm, weighed 5kg and had a body temperature of 36.4ºC. It presented with several abrasionson the rostrum. The umbilical cord was already detached with no signs of fetal folds. Teeth were partially erupted and no hair was observed on the rostrum. These observations suggest that the calf was about three months old. The teeth development indicated that it was alreadyable to consume small amounts of fish. Feces were green 550ml filtered tap water/milk without lactose Heart rate and respiratory frequency were measured * Young, W. G. and Dalton, L. M. (1994) Treatment of a live every 30 minutes. The heart rate ranged from 99 to 139 stranded young Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus) Page 140 per minute and the respiratory rate from 5 to 9 per in Abstracts, International Association of Aquatic Animal minute. Respiration frequency increased initially after Medicine Annual Conference. 11-14 May. Vallejo, CA, USA.
1Aquario de Ubatuba. Rua Guarani, 859. Ubatuba, São Paulo, Brazil. E-mail: [email protected].
2 Instituto Argonauta para a Conservação Costeira e Marinha. Rua Guarani, 835. Ubatuba, São Paulo, Brazil.
3 Fundação Pró-Tamar, Base Ubatuba. Rua Antonio Athanásio da Silva, 273. Ubatuba, São Paulo, Brazil.
4Aquatic Animal Health Program, University of Florida, 2015 SW 16th Ave, Gainesville FL, 32610, USA.
5 Jones, M.H., Otten, T., Smith, R. and Houck, J. (1988) Neonatal care of a stranded harbor porpoise, Phocoena phocoena. Pages 165-169 in Abstracts, International Association of Aquatic Animal Medicine Annual Conference. 23-26 May. Orlando, FL, USA.
Table 2. CBC results for the Franciscana dolphin during rehabilitation.
Whole blood glucose was measured three times a day (morning, pre-feeding, afternoon and night), with Accu-Chek Advantage®. These ranged from 42 to complicated with clinical parameters changing very 82mg/dl and weren’t consistently maintained. Blood rapidly. Immune compromise and exposure to new glucose values showed large variation during the bacterial flora in the environment requires an increase treatment and in periods of low glycemia the animal in surveillance for current and developing pathogens showed apathymild depression and slight trembling during the rehabilitation process. Additional which may also be related to the lower water diagnostic tests may include aerobic and anaerobic bacterial cultures, as well as yeast and fungal cultures subsequently increased and the blood glucose levels from the respiratory system, gastric and rectum.
stabilized. The increasing hematocrit and hemoglobin Cytology from these systems is also recommended.
levels indicated that the dolphins deteriorating Whenever possible, cultures and antibiotic sensitivity hydration status. The level of eosinophils was initially patterns should be used to guide antibiotic choice and low. A decrease in the frequency of eosinophils has the route of administration. Cytology may also help been observed in stressed cetaceans or when anti- to determine the site of involvement and help in the inflammatory medications were given (Bossart and choice of oral and parenteral antibiotics.
Dierauf, 1990). The dolphin developed a leucopeniaindicative of a severe bacterial or viral infection and While initial CBC results indicated issues with died six days after rescue. Gross necropsy revealed a dehydration as evidenced by an increasing hematocrit friable liver of light pink color and hyperemic lungs (Table 2) there is little published information on the that had diffusely scattered areas of emphysema in normal ranges for these parameters of this species in the dorsal region. Histologically, the liver had mild to severe diffuse micro- and macro-vacuolization of According to the IUCN (Cetacean Specialist Group, the hepatocytes, indicative of diffuse vacuolar 1996), francicana dolphins are listed as “Data hepatopathy which can be related with nutritional Deficient”, meaning there is inadequate information disturb. The lungs showed mild congestion, edema to make a direct, or indirect, assessment of its risk of and hemorrhagic points, and thickened alveolar septa.
extinction based on its distribution and/or population There were numerous macrophages in the alveolar status. The current lack of information on Pontoporia lumen and heterophils in the capillaries, indicating blainvillei emphasizes the need to improve veterinary acute interstitial pneumonia. Histological results health care, gather additional baseline information, suggest an infection process due to the association of and to implement and develop healthcare protocols the degenerative hepatic process with the lung and VETERINARY TREATMENT OF AN INJURED WILD FRANCISCANA DOLPHIN CALF 187 nets on the Franciscana dolphin (Pontoporia blainvillei) insouthern Brazil. Bulletin of Marine Science 70(2): 409-421.
The authors express their gratitude to Leonardo Teixeirafrom IBAMA - Caraguatatuba, Shirley Pacheco de Souza REEVES, R.R., SMITH, B.D., CRESPO, E.A. AND DI SCIARA, N.G.
from Instituto Terra & Mar, Fernando Alvarenga and (2003) Dolphins, Whales and Porpoises: 2002-2010 trainees from Ubatuba Aquarium and Projeto Tamar – Conservation Action Plan for the World’s Cetaceans. IUCN/ IBAMA Base Ubatuba. We also thank Dr. Charles SSC Cetacean Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Manire and Dr. Marie-Françoise van Bressem for their Switzerland and Cambridge, United Kingdom.
SANTOS, M.C.O., VICENTE, A.F.C., ZAMPIROLLI, E.,ALVARENGA, F.S. AND SOUZA, S.P. (2002) Records of Franciscana (Pontoporia blainvillei) from the coastalwaters of São Paulo State, southeastern Brazil. The Latin BOSSART, G.D. AND DIERAUF, L.A. (1990) Marine mammal American Journal of Aquatic Mammals 1(1): 169-174.
Clinical Laboratory medicine. Pages 1-52 in DIERAUF, L.
STOSKOPF, M.K. (1990) Marine Mammal Pharmacology.
A. (Ed.) Handbook of Marine Mammal Medicine, Health, Pages 139-162 in DIERAUF, L.A. (Ed.) Handbook of Marine Disease and Rehabilitation. Volume 2. CRC Press. Boca Mammal Medicine, Health, Disease and Rehabilitation.
Volume 2. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA.
CETACEAN SPECIALIST GROUP. (1996) Pontoporia blainvillei.
SWEENEY, J.C. (1990) Marine mammal behavioral In: IUCN 2006 Red List of Threatened Species.
diagnostics. Pages 53-72 in DIERAUF, L.A. (Ed.) Handbook <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 05 June 2007.
of Marine Mammal Medicine, Health, Disease and KINAS, P.G. (2002) The impact of incidental kills by gill Rehabilitation. Volume 2. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA.
Received 2 July 2007. Accepted 30 November 2007.

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