|Date Stranded||July 12, 1996|
|Location of Stranding||Gulfside of Sanibel Island, FL|
|Date of Arrival||July 13, 1996|
|Number of Days of Care||144 total (16 at MML, 128 at CMA)|
Died on 4 Dec 1996
Belle stranded, emaciated, weak, and unable to swim, with her left pectoral flipper held rigidly outward. Initial diagnosis of anorexia, bradycardia, possible liver disease, rectal gas, and pulmonary congestion. Began on antibiotics, ulcer medication, and fluids. Began eating on 25 Jul. Belle was transferred to Clearwater Marine Aquarium on 29 July and began swimming shortly thereafter. Belle never fully recovered and died on 4 December of a brain infection.
On 18 July Belle experienced a respiratory emergency wherein her respirations climbed as high as 20/min with gas being expelled with each breath from her mouth. The condition resolved on its own.
An echocardiogram was performed on 19 Jul indicating dilated cardiomyopathy with right ventricular hypertrophy (often secondary to chronic lung pathology in humans)
On 27 July bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage was performed but esophogeal/gastric contamination of samples was suspected.
Cause of Death: meningioencephalitis, etiologic agent unknown