Successful management of acute Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae septicemia in a Beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas)
Choczynski, Stacy M.
Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae is a gram positive anaerobic rod that is responsible for dermal infections and acute fatal septicemia in cetaceans, as well as disease in poultry, swine, and humans. An 8 year-old male wild-caught Russian beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) was diagnosed with E. rhusiopathiae septicemia after a history of acute inappetance, anorexia, and lethargy. The beluga received the first of a series of vaccines for E. rhusiopathiae with the Pfizer ERBACR PLUS bacterin prior to clinical disease. Hematological and biochemical abnormalities early in the disease process included a marked leukocytosis, mild increase in serum protein and globulin, mild thrombocytopenia, and anemia beginning 14 days after presentation. Blood culture confirmed the presence of E. rhusiopathiae septicemia. Medical therapy included antibiotics, prophylaxis for fungal disease, anti-inflammatory agents, appetite stimulants, gastroprotectants, vitamin supplements and herbal remedies. Approximately 3.5 months after the onset of disease, the beluga was clinically stable and his blood values were all within normal limits. The success in this case is attributed to the early and aggressive initiation of antibiotic therapy, the choice of antibiotics, and prior vaccination.
Senior seminar paperSeminar SF610.1 2008 C56
White whale -- Infections -- Treatment -- Case studies