Histological Processing and Pathological Analysis of Stranded Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops Truncatus)
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A histological protocol was designed for execution at the lab to aid in analyzing tissue samples from stranded Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursoos truncatus). Standard organ samples from the right lung, left lung, liver, spleen, pancreas, and thoracic lymph node were obtained through necropsy and fixed in a 10% buffered formalin solution for storage. Following fixation, samples were dehydrated and embedded in paraffin wax blocks. The blocks were subsequently sectioned on an AO 800 microtome and stained using Harris Hematoxyl in and Eosin y stains. The prepared slides were then examined microscopically. Results indicated that at least eight of the fourteen animals examined had bronchial pneumonia. One specimen was found to have chronic pancreatitis. Microbiological analysis revealed three of the animals to have septicemia with a noted presence of Vibrio alginolyticus in all cases. The results provide a standardized procedure for identification of the mortality factors and their significance in the deaths of the animals. In regard to the pneumonia cases, a correlation was established between climate variance and mortality. It was determined that 77% of the infected dolphins died within five days following a day with a temperature drop of 25º C or greater. The implementation of this protocol will enhance further study and conclusions to the causes of death of Tursfops truncatus off of the Florida coast.