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Pathological findings in a captive colony of maras (Dolichotis patagonum)
  1. A. G. Rosas-Rosas, DVM1,
  2. C. Juan-Sallés, DVM, DipACVP1 and
  3. M. M. Garner, DVM, DipACVP2
  1. 1Department of Pathology, Africam Safari, 11 Oriente 2407, CP 72007 Puebla, Pue, Mexico
  2. 2Northwest ZooPath, 654 West Main, Monroe, WA 98272, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Juan-Sallés


This paper describes the causes of death of 54 maras (Dolichotis patagonum) in a captive colony in Mexico over a period of seven years. There were 35 adults, 11 juveniles, five neonates, two fetuses and one stillbirth – 27 males, 21 females and six whose sex was not determined. Trauma was the cause of 25 deaths, and there were eight cases of fatal bacterial infection. Besnoitiosis was the only parasitic disease found frequently (13 cases), and was associated with fatal interstitial pneumonia in three juveniles. Right-sided hypertrophic cardiomyopathy attributed to high altitude was observed in 26 maras, and in three cases death was attributed to acute cardiac dysfunction. Two maras died of disseminated histoplasmosis and two of hyperthermia. Additional causes of death included one case each of uterine torsion, intestinal intussusception, aspiration pneumonia and hydranencephaly. Gastric erosions with luminal haemorrhage were found in 27 of the maras and splenic lymphoid depletion in 20, changes that were attributed to stress.

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  • Dr Juan-Sallés’ present address is Department of Pathology, ConZOOlting Wildlife Management, c/Serra del Montsant 6, 08415 Bigues i Riells, Barcelona, Spain

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