Steroidal saponin toxicity in eastern grey kangaroos (Macropus giganteus): A novel clinicopathologic presentation of hepatogenous photosensitization

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Abstract

We describe the clinicopathologic features of a mortality event characterized by blindness and dermatitis affecting eastern grey kangaroos (Macropus giganteus), secondary to hepatogenous photosensitization. Affected animals exhibited photophobic behavior, blindness, ataxia, recumbency, lethargy, ear shaking, and behavior consistent with distress or depression. The photophobia manifested as abnormal shade-seeking during the day, including finding refuge under or in structures used frequently by people. Severely affected kangaroos were jaundiced and had markedly elevated serum bilirubin and gamma glutamyl-transpeptidase concentrations. Blindness in affected animals was attributed to moderate to severe corneal opacity due to corneal edema and inflammation. Skin lesions were typically subtle on gross examination even in cases which had severe necrotizing dermatitis histologically. Histologic lesions in the liver of affected animals included the presence of acicular clefts typical of steroidal saponins. The outbreak was associated with pasture dominated by the invasive grass, Panicum gilvum, which is a recognized source of saponin-induced photosensitization in livestock.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-502
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Wildlife Diseases
Volume54
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 02 Mar 2018

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