Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Coeliotomy under general anaesthesia and removal of an enterolith from a sand tiger shark (Carcharias taurus)
  1. Tania Monreal-Pawlowsky1,
  2. Susan M Thornton1,
  3. Mark Frederick Stidworthy2,3 and
  4. Paul Hale4
  1. 1International Zoo Veterinary Group, Keighley, West Yorkshire, UK
  2. 2Department of Pathology, International Zoo Veterinary Group, Keighley, West Yorkshire, UK
  3. 3IZVG Pathology, Nationwide Laboratories Leeds, Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK
  4. 4SEA LIFE, Melbourne, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Tania Monreal-Pawlowsky, t.monreal{at}


Sporadic feeding over a period of 18 months was observed in a previously healthy adult female sand tiger shark (Carcharias taurus) housed in an aquarium. This led to severe weight loss, revealing a mobile rounded bulge in the abdomen of the shark. Due to the failure of non-invasive treatments with antibiotics and NSAIDs, coeliotomy under general anaesthesia was performed in a bespoke anaesthesia/surgery tank. A spherical enterolith (10 cm in diameter) was found in the spiral valve, causing partial obstruction, and constituted from concentrically lamellated calcium hydroxyapatite (the major component of fish scales and skeletons) around an undigested octopus beak. After closing the incision, the shark was returned to the water but died seven hours postsurgery without recovering from the anaesthesia. Factors leading to postsurgical mortality, and the potential for anaesthetic monitoring methods and postsurgical gastric reinflation to improve outcome, are discussed.

  • Aquatic organisms
  • Surgery
  • Anaesthesia
  • Gastrointestinal
View Full Text

Statistics from


  • Twitter Follow Mark Stidworthy @markilk

  • Contributors All authors meet all criteria for authorship, having given substantial contributions to the conception and design of the work, drafting and revising it critically for important intellectual content, and final approval of the version to be published, as well as agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved..

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data are available.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.