Pygmy killer whale (Feresa attenuata)

(MML 0803, FMMSN0808)

Age Class Adult
Gender Male
Date Stranded June 15, 2008
Location of Stranding Near Boca Grande, Florida
Date of Arrival June 15, 2008
Number of Days of Care 80 days

Final Disposition

Died September 3, 2008

Whale on arrival at DWH, about 5 hours after Pete.

6/16 Whale was found near Boca Grande, fairly near the site where Pete stranded just hours earlier.  Florida FWC biologists and Florida Marine Mammal Stranding Network members Denise Boyd and Dee Semeyn transported the whales to Mote for medical care.  Both animals are very weak and disoriented with infections and lots of parasites.  We have started this animal on fluids, antibiotics, and it is being supported in the water.

6/17 Animal continues to be supported in the water.  Has definite indications of gastric ulcers and has been started on medication for that.  Prognosis is very guarded.

6/18 Still having to support the animal around-the-clock.

6/19 An MRI done last evening at Axcess Diagnostics, 600 N. Cattleman Rd., Sarasota revealed definite pathology in the brain.  This pathology appears to be an abscess and is likely caused by the parasites and/or infection.  We are treating it aggressively with antibiotics and determining our next course of action.  Animal is occasionally swimming but is not showing any interest in food.  We have begun to tube-feed the whale.

6/20 Whale is improved from yesterday.  It has spent the last 24 hours swimming on its own.  At noon, it was offered fish and squid and finally started eating.

6/21 Whale has continued swimming and is eating everything offered to it.  Continued improvement.

6/23 Excellent appetite and swimming very well.

6/24 Exam this morning went very well.  Water is now deeper and whale is swimming better in the deep water.

6/25 Continuing to eat well and swim well.

6/26 Had a slight set-back last evening when the animal aspirated some seawater due to a drug reaction, but is doing better this morning.

6/27 Lungs are sounding much better today and whale is eating and swimming well.

6/28 More improvement.  Swimming stronger.

6/30 More improvement.  Lungs almost clear.

7/1 Whale is a little sluggish today, but is eating well.

7/2 Still somewhat sluggish.  Exam indicated lung problems, probably a combination of pneumonia and sequellae from lungworms.  Have added some new medication (diuretic and steroid).  Still eating well.

7/3 Doing much better today.  Breathing rate is nearly normal again.

7/4 Lungs are much clearer today and animal is more active.

7/5 Continued improvement.

7/6 Whale is listing a little to the right, but is swimming and eating well.  Have increased medication slightly.

7/7 Whale is no longer listing and is doing much better.  Has gained significant weight in the last week.

7/8 Both whales are better today and are showing more social interactions.

7/9 Both continue to improve. 

7/10 More improvement today. 

7/11 Seems even better today, but white count is going up so we have changed antibiotics. 

7/12 More of the same.  Doing well. 

7/14 During exam this morning found evidence of gastric problems.  Shortly thereafter, whale quit eating.  Have changed medication and will do a gastroscopy tomorrow. 

7/15 Gastroscopy revealed no pathology in the stomach.  Appears to have "sour stomach".  Started eating after being tubed with fluids earlier today.  Now more active. 

7/16 White count has come down dramatically and appetite has improved greatly.  More active today as well. 

7/19 Continuing to do well. 

7/21 Both whales are having digestive issues today, probably related to the diet.  We are changing the diet to try to help. 

7/23 Whale continues to have problems and is not eating at all.  We are tubing it at least twice daily. 

7/24 Although whale is still not eating on its own, it is more active and responsive today. 

7/25 No improvement except that whale ate one meal yesterday.  Very concerned about its lack of response to treatment. 

7/26 Ate well this morning.  We hope this is the start of a trend. 

7/27 Whale ate twice yesterday and ate well this morning.  Unfortunately, gastric cytology indicates hemorrhage in the stomach, possibly from a bleeding ulcer.  Medication has been modified, but prognosis is not good. 

7/28 Eating well at every feed.  Will do an exam tomorrow morning. 

7/29 Gastric cytology much better today.  Appetite is good. 

7/30 More improvement. 

8/3 Appetite has been variable again.  Planning to do chest x-rays tomorrow. 

8/4 Chest x-rays indicated areas of pathology.  Planning a bronchoscopy and broncho-alveolar lavage for diagnosis. 

8/5 Bronchoscopy indicated pneumonia and we were able to obtain a culture from the lung for diagnosis (will take several days).  Gastroscopy indicated slow digestion of food, so have changed the diet.  Appetite still variable. 

8/7 More of the same.

8/8 Appetite seems somewhat improved and whale is more active.

8/12 Bloodwork is greatly improved, but appetite is still variable.

8/13 Appetite has definitely improved the last two days.

8/15 White count is normal and most other bloodwork is approaching normal.  Appetite is improved, as well.

8/20 Bloodwork continues to look good, but appetite is somewhat sporadic. 8/28 Although appetite is slightly variable, it is better.  Whale is at least maintaining its weight.

9/1 Whale's appetite has improved while eating mackeral and is now gaining weight again.  Blood work is good.

9/2 Continuing to eat well and becoming more active.

9/3 Very unexpectedly, Dallas died this evening at about 9pm.  He had eaten a full meal at 8pm and was playing with Pete when he sank to the bottom and died.  A necropsy will be performed in the morning to determine the cause of death.

9/4 Necropsy this morning revealed a very acute pneumonia, probably toxic pneumonia.  Also observed were two healing brain lesions and healed gastric ulcers.  Cause of death is likely toxic shock due to the pneumonia, but we must await culture and histopathology results before a final conclusion can be drawn.

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