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J Wildl Dis. 1987 Jul;23(3):488-91.

Clostridium perfringens as the cause of death of a captive Atlantic bottlenosed dolphin (Tursiops truncatus).


A previously healthy captive female bottlenosed dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) died suddenly. At necropsy, Clostridium perfringens was isolated from dorsal muscle, blood, left heart ventricle, thoracic fluid, and abdominal fluid. An identical strain was recovered from pool water. A male dolphin in the same pool had inflicted several "rake" marks on the dorsal surface of the female. Water-borne bacteria probably entered these lesions which served as the focus for anaerobe penetration and spread.

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