Journal of zoo and wildlife medicine : official publication of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians

Scuticociliatid ciliate outbreak in Australian potbellied seahorse, Hippocampus abdominalis (Lesson, 1827): clinical signs, histopathologic findings, and treatment with metronidazole.

PMID 23805562


A severe outbreak of scuticociliatosis occurred in Australian pot-bellied seahorse, Hippocampus abdominalis (Lesson, 1872), kept at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada). Clinical signs included anorexia, lethargy, irregular respiration, and death. Cytology and histopathology revealed a high number of histophagous ciliated protozoa within the tissues. The parasite, identified as Philasterides dicentrarchi, was observed in several internal organs that appeared edematous and hemorrhagic upon postmortem examination. Severe histopathologic lesions were reported in particular in the ovary, the kidney, and the intestine. This infection was successfully treated with metronidazole via bath therapy. No further evidence of this parasite was found in the treated fish.