CZAAWE Resource Article

Successful treatment of suspected erysipelas septicemia in a beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas)
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Zoo Biology
Abstract 10.1002/zoo.1430120510.abs A 20-year-old male beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) was diagnosed with suspected acute septicemic erysipelas. Physical examination was unremarkable and no skin lesions were evident. Hematologic and serum biochemical abnormalities included mild anemia, a marked leukocytosis, an increase in the erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and moderate elevations of total protein, gamma globulins, blood urea nitrogen, and creatinine. Microtitration agglutination testing for Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae antibodies revealed seroconversion and elevated antibody titers associated with the clinical illness, presumptive evidence of an active E. rhusiopathiae infection. Treatment consisted of oral fluids, cimetidine, and a 25-day course of ciprofloxacin hydrochloride. The whale made a rapid and uneventful recovery. None of the three female beluga whales that shared the pool with the ill male, nor male and female beluga whales maintained in a separate pool, became ill or showed serologic evidence of E. rhusiopathiae exposure. © 1993 Wiley-Liss, Inc.