Eleven cases of congenital anomalies were identified in 210 (5%) juvenile northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) found stranded along the central California (USA) coast from 1 January 1988 to 31 December 1995. Seven individuals had mild-to-moderate hydrocephalus involving the lateral ventricles bilaterally, or the lateral and third ventricles. Two animals had severe cardiac anomalies: hypoplasia of the right ventricle with overriding aorta, and ventricular septal defect. Other anomalies included single cases of hydronephrosis, focal pulmonary dysplasia, and congenital epidermal angiomatosis. Common intercurrent disease processes were verminous pneumonia and arteritis, verminous enteritis and colitis, and splenic and hepatic hemosiderosis. The more severe anomalies were considered to be the cause of debilitation and stranding. Milder anomalies were found incidentally during routine gross necropsy and histopathologic examination.
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Vol. 33 • No. 2