Apr 17, 1998

Vesicular and ulcerative dermatopathy resembling superficial necrolytic dermatitis in captive black rhinoceroses (Diceros bicornis)

Veterinary Pathology
Linda MunsonR Eric Miller


The histopathology, clinical presentation, and epidemiology of a cutaneous and oral mucosal disease affecting 40 black rhinoceroses (Diceros bicornis) at 21 zoological parks (50% of the captive US population) were investigated. Twenty-seven biopsies were examined from recent lesions, and clinical information was available from 127 episodes. The cutaneous lesions began as plaques that progressed to vesicles, bullae, or ulcers. Lesions waxed and waned in individual cases. Lesions were predominantly bilaterally symmetrical, affecting pressure points, coronary bands, tips of the ears and tail, and along the lateral body wall and dorsum. Oral lesions were first noticed as ulcers and were present on the lateral margins of the tongue, palate, and mucocutaneous junctions of the lips. All recent lesions had similar histopathologic findings of prominent acanthosis, hydropic degeneration of keratinocytes in the stratum spinosum, spongiosis, intraepithelial vesicles, and parakeratosis without dermal inflammation. Chronic lesions were ulcerated. No pathogens were identified by culture or electron microscopy. Most episodes coincided with stress events (transportation, sudden cold temperatures, intraspecific harassment, estrus, advanced pregn...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Metabolic Process, Cellular
Serum Albumin Measurement
Acanthosis Nigricans
Biological Adaptation to Stress
Dog Diseases
Necrolytic Migratory Erythema

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