Abstract: Difficulties associated with therapeutic management vary between large aquatic animals and terrestrial animals. Surgical treatment of large aquatic animals is difficult due to the limitation of facilities and difficulties in postoperative management. For this reason, internal medicine is a likely option for dolphins resident in aquariums, and only a limited number of surgical treatment cases have been reported. Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium has been aiming to provide surgical treatment and postoperative management for their dolphins. Herein, we report four surgical cases, including plastic surgery for a laceration of the dorsal fin and a lymphadenectomy with suturing, all of which yielded satisfactory outcomes. Our findings are as follows: radiography and ultra-sound imaging are effective for definitive diagnosis; surgery of approximately 120 min outside the water can be achieved with a modified restraining method; suturing of skin and muscle is possible in dolphins; treatment of a wound by electrocautery is effective for hemostasis; and raising the chlorine concentration in the pool from the normal 0.1 ppm to 2 to 4 ppm after surgery prevents secondary infection of the wound and enables the dolphins to return to the pool immediately after surgery. The efficacy of surgical treatment for common injuries in dolphins was proved by the successful outcomes, and it may be possible to treat more severe cases surgically in the future.
Key Words: surgery, postoperative management, dolphin, aquarium, suturing, lymphadenectomy, debridement
Document Type: Research article
DOI: 10.1578/AM.40.2.2014.185
Page Numbers: 185-190

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