Marine Mammal Parasite of the Month- August 2021 – Nationwide Marine Life Heart

This marine mammal parasite is part of the acanthocephalan household however solely has one species for a main host, the ocean otter. This parasite is present in sea otters of all ages, the youngest being 1 month outdated. Since sea otters are launched to stable meals at round 3 weeks of age by their mom, it’s thought that the parasite probably comes from a meals supply of theirs. This makes this parasite quite common, and in a examine performed it was proven to be 100% current in adults and 50% current in pups. As soon as this parasite has contaminated the ocean otter, it principally stays within the small intestines. Little is thought concerning the life cycle of this parasite nevertheless it’s although to be pathologically insignificant as a result of it doesn’t trigger any main harm to the otter. Main harm is often labeled by an inflammatory response or peritonitis (redness and swelling of the stomach). As is with all parasites, a heavy load will trigger emaciation and lethargy. The one information of the life cycle of this parasite is that sea otters are their particular hosts, and that they probably have intermediate hosts within the prey of sea otters: clams, oysters, and different bivalve mollusks, as a result of that is how the otters are alleged to be contaminated. Analysis must be both by fecal matter (which is how we diagnose our sufferers right here at NMLC!) or by necropsy findings. As soon as contaminated with this parasite, sea otters don’t present any signs. Remedy for this parasite in sea otters is finest if injected into meals or instantly into the animal. Otters have a eager sense of scent and style so oral drugs may be difficult to manage as a result of the animal might reject them. What do you suppose this parasite is??

Posted by summer season intern Abby C.

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