March 23, 2012

In the Spotlight - Interesting Case from Recent AWHN Newsletter

Interesting Case from the Latest Australian Wildlife Health Network (AWHN)Newsletter - Wildlife Health in Australia

New Zealand Fur Seal (page7)

A wild male juvenile (12kg) New Zealand fur seal (Actocephalus forsteri) hauled out for several days at Port Kembla south of Sydney. A member of the public caught the animal and attempted to return it to the water but it returned to the same location. Assessed by NPWS staff as dehydrated and underweight, without obvious injury but abnormally ‘friendly’ (not aggressive or afraid of people in any way).

The animal was brought into care where it ate well and was bright, alert and responsive for five days before being found with abnormal posturing, reluctance to move, and a hard and full abdomen that appeared painful. The seal became non-responsive and euthanasia was elected due to poor prognosis.

Image on right: Cover of the Australian Wildlife Health Network newsletter, Wildlife Health in Australia 

There were no notably significant findings on necropsy however on histology, a cerebral tumour (likely an oligodendroglioma) and an acute to subacute, severe necrohaemorrhagic enteritis were identified.

A brain tumour in such a young animal is an unexpected finding and may have contributed to the ‘odd’ behaviour noted in this animal. Terminal changes may also have been attributed to the severe enteritis identified on histology.

Image above: Low power, H&E image of cerebrum at level of optic chiasm. Within the third ventricle, there is a nodular mass compressing the overlying choroid plexus and invading into the underlying brainstem parenchyma. 

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