Disseminated Blastomycosis in Two California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2000
Authors:Zwick, LS, Briggs, MB, Tunev, SS, Lichtensteiger, CA, Murnane, RD
Journal:Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Date Published:2000
ISBN Number:10427260
Keywords:Panthera leo

Two captive California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) from different facilities were diagnosed with disseminated blastomycosis. The first, a 12-yr-old male, died after a 3-wk history of progressive anorexia and lethargy. Gross examination revealed acute jejunitis with focal perforation and associated peritonitis, along with severe purulent bronchopneumonia. The second, a 15-yr-old female, was euthanized after a 2-wk history of severe cutaneous ulceration and declining clinical condition. Gross examination revealed severe pyogranulomatous bronchopneumonia and ulcerative dermatitis. Histopathologic examination in both individuals revealed severe multifocal subacute to chronic pyogranulomatous pneumonia associated with massive numbers of fungal organisms morphologically compatible with Blastomyces sp. Fungal organisms were 8-20-μm-diameter broad-based budding yeasts with thick, refractile, double-contoured walls. The male sea lion had multifocal transmural Blastomyces-induced enteritis with subsequent rupture and peritonitis. The organism was also present in the liver, with minimal associated inflammation. The female had severe multifocal pyogranulomatous ulcerative dermatitis associated with large numbers of intralesional fungal organisms. Dissemination to the spleen had occurred in both animals. A serologic immunodiffusion test for Blastomyces dermatitidis was positive in the male. The presumptive primary pathogen in both cases was Blastomyces dermatitidis.

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