Common cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) mortality at the national zoological park

Implications for clinical management

Johanna Sherrill, Lucy H. Spelman, Carrie L. Reidel, Richard J. Montali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Six out of seven cuttlefish acquired by the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in July 1998 died before 1 November 1998. Postmortem examinations showed mantle ulcers, secondary bacterial infections, inanition, and cuttlebone fractures. The surviving cuttlefish developed a progressive focal mantle ulcer, was treated with oral chloramphenicol intermittently for 9 wk, and maintained a normal appetite and growth rate until death at 7 mo of age. The National Zoological Park pathology database showed signalments, histories, and causes of mortality of 186 common cuttlefish, each 1-14 mo old, that received gross and histologic examinations; for example, the largest group of cuttlefish of known sex, age, and body weight at postmortem were 7-9 mo old and weighed an average of 376.2 g (males, n = 18) and 299.0 g (females, n = 15). Many cuttlefish had multiple pathologic diagnoses. Significant diseases included inflammation and secondary bacterial infections, especially gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory, reproductive, and ophthalmic, and septicemia due to Vibrio spp. or other gram-negative bacteria. Mantle lesions, including ulceration/ dermatitis, abscess/granuloma, necrosis/fibrosis/cellulitis, and laceration/abrasion/erosion, were also identified, along with inanition, cuttlebone lesions, and trauma. Mantle lesions were associated with secondary bacterial infections and death. On the basis of this information, if captive cuttlefish behavior creates risk for development of mantle lesions, administration of antibiotics effective against gram-negative bacteria may delay or halt disease progression. Cuttlefish exhibits require proper design, husbandry, economic resources, and staffing to minimize disease syndromes and mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)523-531
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Volume31
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Sepia
Sepia officinalis
Decapodiformes
Sepiidae
zoos
lesion
mantle
mortality
Mortality
lesions (animal)
bacterial infections
Coinfection
Bacterial Infections
Gram-Negative Bacteria
Gram-negative bacteria
Ulcer
bacterium
pathology
abrasion
cellulitis

Keywords

  • Clinical management
  • Common cuttlefish
  • Gram-negative bacteria
  • Mantle ulcers
  • Pathology
  • Sepia officinalis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • veterinary(all)

Cite this

Common cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) mortality at the national zoological park : Implications for clinical management. / Sherrill, Johanna; Spelman, Lucy H.; Reidel, Carrie L.; Montali, Richard J.

In: Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, Vol. 31, No. 4, 2000, p. 523-531.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Sherrill, Johanna ; Spelman, Lucy H. ; Reidel, Carrie L. ; Montali, Richard J. / Common cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) mortality at the national zoological park : Implications for clinical management. In: Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. 2000 ; Vol. 31, No. 4. pp. 523-531.
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