Fatal Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae septicemia in a captive Pacific white-sided dolphin (Lagenorhyncus Obliquidens)

Michael J. Kinsel, Jeffrey R. Boehm, Brigita Harris, Robert D. Murnane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One male of a group of seven Pacific white-sided dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens) died after a brief period of nonspecific clinical signs. Four beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) and four harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) were managed in the same water system. Gross examination of the dolphin revealed only moderately enlarged mesenteric lymph nodes. Histopathology revealed small to massive numbers of gram-positive bacilli, usually intravascular, in all tissues. Bacteria were both extracellular and present in macrophages, monocytes, and neutrophils. Aerobic bacterial culture of lung, liver, kidney, and spleen yielded pure cultures of Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae. Based on clinical course, histopathology, and bacteriology, a diagnosis of acute erysipelas septicemia was made. None of the other cetaceans or pinnipeds exhibited clinical signs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)494-497
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1997


  • Erysipelas
  • Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae
  • Lagenorhynchus obliquidens
  • Pacific white-sided dolphin
  • Septicemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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