Lower respiratory tract disease associated with mycoplasmal infection was detected in a free-ranging bog turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) from New Jersey, US. The presence of a mycoplasmal organism was confirmed by PCR and electron microscopy. Fluid-filled lungs were observed grossly, and there was proliferative pneumonia on histopathology.

Respiratory disease caused by Mycoplasmopsis (Mycoplasma) spp. has been widely documented across animal taxa. In reptiles, these infections are predominantly implicated in upper respiratory tract disease (URTD). Typical disease in chelonids presents as oculonasal discharge, conjunctivitis, palpebral edema, and rhinitis, which is most frequently associated with Mycoplasma agassizii and Mycoplasma testudineum and is largely identified in tortoises (Kolesnik et al. 2017; Pasmans et al. 2021). Mycoplasmosis is reported less frequently in turtles, but it has been associated with URTD in Eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina; Pasmans et al. 2021) and European pond turtles (Emys orbicularis; Schönbächler et al. 2022) and documented in European diagnostic submission surveys in turtles from the Emydidae, Geoemydidae, Kinosternidae, and Chelidae families (Kolesnik et al. 2017). Mycoplasma spp. have also been identified in the absence of clinical disease in multiple species, including North American western pond turtles (Actinemys [Emys] marmorata), red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans; Silbernagel et al. 2013), three-toed box turtles (Terrapene carolina triunguis; Palmer et al. 2016), spotted turtles (Clemmys guttata), and bog turtles (Glyptemys muhlenbergii; Ossiboff et al. 2015). In contrast, documented reports of lower respiratory tract disease in reptiles with mycoplasmosis are scant. A single case of proliferative tracheitis and pneumonia in a Burmese python (Python molurus bivittatus) was associated with a novel Mycoplasma sp. (Penner et al. 1997).

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