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J Aquat Anim Health. 2015 Dec;27(4):203-8. doi: 10.1080/08997659.2015.1091397.

Spongiosis Hepatis in a Wild Aquarium-Maintained Red Irish Lord.

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a Adventure Aquarium , 1 Riverside Drive, Camden , 08103 , New Jersey , USA.
b Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory , Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science, University of Connecticut , 61 North Eagleville Road, Unit 3089, Storrs , 06269 , Connecticut , USA.
c Experimental Pathology Laboratories, Inc., 45600 Terminal Drive , Sterling , 20166 , Virginia , USA.


An aquarium-maintained female Red Irish Lord Hemilepidotus hemilepidotus presented with severe coelomic distension. The fish was anesthetized for ultrasonographic examination, which highlighted multiple cyst-like lesions in the liver and a distended ovary that was filled with follicles and an inspissated egg mass. Multiple exploratory celiotomies were performed for egg mass removal, liver biopsy, ovariosalpingectomy, and body wall rupture repair. Fourteen weeks after original presentation, and subsequent to 2 weeks of anorexia, the fish died. At necropsy, the liver was severely enlarged and distorted by multiple, coalescing, cyst-like spaces with no grossly normal liver parenchyma. The spleen also contained a raised cyst-like structure. Microscopically, the liver had well-demarcated foci of hepatocyte loss with retained meshworks of interconnected, perisinusoidal stellate cells. The fluid-filled spaces surrounded by stellate cells were not lined by epithelium or endothelium. The spleen had similar fluid-filled spaces formed of stellate cells. The cyst-like lesions in the liver were consistent with spongiosis hepatis; however, the concurrent development of a morphologically comparable lesion in the spleen is not typical of spongiosis hepatis cases. This case may represent the first report of spontaneously occurring spongiosis hepatis in a fish maintained in a public aquarium, as well as the first report in a fish of spongiosis hepatis-like lesions in an organ other than the liver.

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