Caring for Stranded Marine Animals
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Marine Mammal Parasite of the Month- April 2021

This type of parasite is common in pinnipeds and there are two different species commonly seen in the seals here at NMLC. Their life cycle remains a small mystery to researchers as there’s not much information regarding it, but patterns reveal that fish are the perfect intermediate hosts for these parasites. The adult form can be most commonly found directly in the trachea or in the bronchi or bronchioles of the pinniped. They can also occasionally inhabit the heart or pulmonary arteries and their larvae can be seen in fecal matter. This type of parasitic infection will result in inflammation and occasionally granulomas will appear nearby the parasite or larvae themselves. Close observation of the fecal matter or bronchial mucus is how this parasite is diagnosed in pinnipeds. Treatment for this infection includes Ivermectin, mucolytic agents, anti-inflammatories and occasionally antibiotics. What parasite is this and what are some common tell tale signs of this parasitic infection?

Posted By Amber R.

Amber is a spring intern studying in the Animal Health Care Program at Bristol Community College.

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