Watercraft-related trauma is the predominant cause of human-induced mortality in manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris), a federal- and state-listed endangered species. Pyothorax (documented in this case report) and other secondary infections are common sequelae of inhalation of water and the open wounds caused by boat propellers. These secondary infections can lead to the demise of the animal weeks to months after the traumatic incident when external wounds have healed. Diagnosis of underlying disease on physical examination during capture and restraint can be difficult. Acute phase proteins, including serum amyloid A, fibrinogen, and albumin can be used to diagnose inflammatory disease in manatees and improve quality of medical care and husbandry. We also provide the first report of polycystic kidneys in Sirenians.
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Vol. 47 • No. 4