Morphologic evidence suggestive of hypertension in western gray kangaroos (Macropus fuliginosus)

R. A. Kagan, M. Kinsel, K. Gloor, N. D. Mylniczenko, J. N. Langan, L. L. Farina, K. A. Terio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Marked renal vascular changes, suggestive of hypertension, were present in adult western gray kangaroos (Macropus fuliginosus) from a single facility over a 14-year period. A subset of these kangaroos also had vague clinical nervous system deficits, including blindness. To characterize the vascular lesions, determine prevalence, and document other changes, case histories and archival tissue sections from 21 adult kangaroos (8 male, 13 female) that died or were euthanatized between 1994 and 2008 were reviewed. Relevant lesions included increased thickness of the renal arteriolar tunica media with smooth muscle hypertrophy and/or hyperplasia, accumulation of extracellular matrix within arterioles, increased vascular tortuosity, and varying degrees of juxtaglomerular hyperplasia. Renal tissue from two more severely affected animals was further examined by transmission electron microscopy, highlighting arteriolar endothelial cell hypertrophy and disruption of the medial architecture. Hypertrophy of arteries and arterioles in other organ systems was also present (3/21), including vessels in the brain and spinal cord of one animal with clinical neurologic signs. Four kangaroos had antemortem retinal detachment, a potential sequel of hypertension in humans and domestic mammals. The cause of these vascular lesions in this mob is uncertain. Lesions were not associated with an infectious disease process, age, underlying renal disease, or thyroid abnormalities. In the absence of other causes, hypertension was a differential. Further investigation into clinical significance and predisposing factors, such as genetics and diet, is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)977-984
Number of pages8
JournalVeterinary pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Arteriole
  • Hypertension
  • Hypertrophy
  • Macropus fuliginosus
  • Retinal detachment
  • Western gray kangaroos

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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