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July 2011

Diagnosis: Elephant, Heart: multifocal, severe, acute, endocardial and myocardial hemorrhages

Detailed information

History: Captive, 6 years old Asian elephant. The animal died spontaneously after a history of depression and decreased food uptake for approx. 2 days.

Diagnosis: Heart: multifocal, severe, acute, endocardial and myocardial hemorrhages

Comments:

At necropsy multifocal petechial hemorrhages were present in several organs, including the heart and serosal membranes. The animal had severe hemopericardium (1,5 l) and erosive and ulcerative stomatitis. The tongue was cyanotic. Histologically, few lymphocytes infiltrated the myocardium multifocally. Vascular endothelial cells were activated and a moderate perivascular edema with some haemorrhages was present. In addition, eosinophilic to amphophilic, intranuclear inclusion bodies were present within  the endothelial cells. Macroscopic and microscopic lesions were consistent with elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) infection. Diagnosis was confirmed by electron microscopy and sequencing after PCR-amplification of EEHV-1 DNA from liver, heart and hemopericardial fluid.

Picture by: Afonso da Costa, Department of Veterinary Pathology, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

Author: Afonso da Costa, Department of Veterinary Pathology, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany