Article Text

Retinal dysplasia in wild otters (Lutra lutra)
  1. D. L. Williams1,
  2. V. R. Simpson2 and
  3. A. Flindall3
  1. 1 Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ES
  2. 2 Jollys Bottom Farm, Station Road, Truro TR4 8PB
  3. 3 Centre for Preventative Medicine, Animal Health Trust, Lanwades Park, Kentford, Newmarket CB8 7UU


Eyes from 88 otters found dead in south-west England between 1990 and 2000, were collected as part of a larger pathological study. Histopathological examination of 131 eyes revealed dysplastic changes such as rosetting and folding in the retinas of 26 of the otters. In the eyes of 42 of the otters there were postmortem and fixation-induced retinal detachment which complicated the differentiation of dysplastic from normal retina, but 11 eyes had folds which probably indicated a dysplastic pathology. The eyes of 18 of the otters had inflammatory or autolytic changes which precluded a definitive evaluation of their dysplastic status. Liver samples from 55 of the otters were analysed for a range of polychlorinated hydrocarbons and for vitamin A. The otters with dysplastic retinas had significantly lower concentrations of vitamin A and higher concentrations of dieldrin than the otters with normal retinas.

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