An adult male Eurasian otter, found dead on the roadside, was submitted for post-mortem examination in April 2014 at the Veterinary Pathology Unit of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Teramo, as part of the RECAL [RECovery and post mortem Analysis of Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) in the National Park of Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni (Salerno, Italy), and surrounding areas] project. Necropsy revealed an abundant hemothorax associated with multifocal, bilateral pulmonary contusions and lacerations, and a severe hemopericardium characterised by the presence of a wide blood clot in the intact pericardial sac. Two small laceration wounds of the left auricle were found at the base, along the atrioventricular groove, and on the outer free wall. Since myocardial and endocardial tissues showed no other gross and histopathological abnormalities, a left atrial appendage rupture resulting from a blunt chest trauma was diagnosed. Blunt traumatic cardiac rupture is a rarely reported, life-threatening condition in humans. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on a left atrial appendage rupture due to blunt chest trauma in veterinary literature. The possible occurrence of a cardiac rupture following a blunt thoracic injury should be taken into consideration in veterinary emergency care.
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