Our second case is another marine mammal classic. I was surprised when I first started looking at these parasites how much I had heard about them and how little I knew about their biology, pathology, and natural history. Speaking of history…. A common dolphin was found dead on beach with no external injuries. On necropsy, the ptergoid sinus was filled with these parasites.
Here is a closer look. The black marks are 1mm each.
Further identification requires examination of internal structures, which is traditionally accomplished by clearing, staining, dehydrating, and mounting. As I am more veterinarian then parasitologist, I opted to turn the specimens into biopsy samples and had them processed into standard H&E 5um slides. Here is a full worm spread out on a composite digital micrograph.
What is the parasite?
How does it relate to the stranding?
How would you diagnose the infection with a dolphin in rehabilitation?
enjoy . . .