Aspergillosis is the most important cause of deaths in captivity penguins. Here we describe the pathology of fifteen Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) with fatal aspergillosis. During a 3 year-period (2004-2007), 15 penguins died as a consequence of Aspergillus infection at a rehabilitation center in Southern Brazil. The majority of infections were caused by A. fumigatus (n=14), with one case due to A. flavus. All penguins were evaluated by necropsy. For 5 penguins (33.3%), aspergillosis was restricted to the respiratory system, characterised by pulmonary congestion and multiple white-yellowish granulomatous nodules. These nodules ranged from 0.1-1.0 cm in diameter and were diffusely distributed in the lungs. Thickening of air sacs was also observed, and fungal colonies were observed in these areas. Disseminated aspergillosis was seen in 10 penguins (66.6%). Severe involvement of the respiratory tract was observed in all of these cases. In some cases adherence of the air sacs with the thoracic and abdominal wall was observed. There were abundant plaque-like caseous and necrotic debris covering the air sacs, with greyish-green fungal colonies at the surface. The pulmonary parenchyma showed haemorrhage with multiple granulomatous nodules and areas of necrosis. Multiple granulomatous nodules were also observed in the syrinx (7 penguins). This sometimes occurred as large masses (5-10 cm) with necrotic debris and caseous exudates. The gastrointestinal tract was involved in 5 animals with involvement of the serosal layer of the oesophagus, stomach, the omentum and the mesenterium. Two penguins had evidence of liver infection. In 3 animals, large masses (8-10 cm) were seen in the adrenal gland, and the kidneys were affected in 5 animals. Cortical lesions were observed in 3 of these animals, and 2 other penguins had friable kidney necrotic lesions that distorted the anatomy of the organ. As far as we are concerned, this is the largest series of aspergillosis described in captive penguins in Brazil. Results from our study reveal that aspergillosis tends to be disseminated and severe in these animals.
Full conference title:
3rd Advances Against Aspergillosis
- AAA 3rd (2008)