Idiopathic iron overload in a harbor seal (Phoca vitulina)

Grilo, Miguel, Ziege, Susanne, Gruber, Michael, Wohlsein, Peter, Baumgärtner, Wolfgang and Siebert, Ursula (2018) Idiopathic iron overload in a harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 49 (3). pp. 770-773. DOI 10.1638/2017-0132.1.

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Iron overload has been described in various wild species. The majority of cases involve captive animals, often associated with increased dietary iron uptake. Here a case of idiopathic iron overload in a female adult harbor seal under human care is presented. The animal displayed a progressive anorexia, apathy, and increased serum iron levels. Radiographs showed radiopaque foreign bodies in the stomach. The seal died during an elective laparotomy. Twenty-five coins and two metal rings were removed from the stomach. Histopathologic examination revealed iron storage without cellular damage in liver, spleen, kidney, and pulmonary and mesenteric lymph nodes. Atomic absorption spectrophotometry analysis for iron revealed values thirty times above the reference ranges in spleen and liver; however, the coins only contain minor levels (parts per million) of iron. The etiology of the iron overload in this animal remains unclear. A multifactorial process cannot be excluded.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Captive, harbor seal, hemosiderosis, iron overload, Phoca vitulina
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > ZE Central Facilities > ZE-AQ Aquarium
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1638/2017-0132.1
ISSN: 1042-7260
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2018 08:40
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2019 13:35

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