A Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) cub found in weak condition on the Isle of Harris, Scotland, developed bilateral corneal oedema 16 days after being admitted to a rehabilitation centre. It died unexpectedly on day 26. On postmortem examination, there was excess clear fluid in the body cavities and the liver was swollen with numerous pale focal lesions and petechial haemorrhages throughout. Histopathological examination revealed bundles of bacilli morphologically typical of Clostridium piliforme within hepatocytes. Comparative analysis of the nucleotide base sequence of a 16S rdna fragment amplified from the infected liver tissue revealed that it was identical to a C piliforme 16S rdna sequence. The possibility of concurrent infection with canine adenovirus type 1 was considered but none of the characteristic histopathological lesions was observed and examination of the liver by transmission electron microscopy was negative for virus particles. This appears to be the first record of Tyzzer's disease in an otter and the first in a wild animal in Britain.
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