Pygmy killer whale (Feresa attenuata)

(MML 9313)

Age Class Adult
Gender Male
Date Stranded November 15, 1993
Location of Stranding Marco Island, FL
Date of Arrival November 15, 1993
Number of Days of Care 40

Final Disposition

Died on 23 Dec 1993

Lunar stranded in the company of two other whales of the same species that soon departed. The fate of these two individuals is unknown. Initially, Lunar was weak, listing, dehydrated, and exhibited occasional arching of his tail. Bloodwork was not remarkable. He was placed on antibiotics and ulcer medication, and later was treated for a fungal infection as well. Lunar showed some slight improvement in being able to swim slowly and eat squid, but his condition soon worsened resulting in inappetance, vomiting, and frequent episodes of head and tail arching.

Cause of Death

Upon necropsy, Meningioencephalitis due to Nasitrema sp ova was diagnosed.

Additional findings

bacterial pneumonia, Aspergillosis of duodenum, contra-comp hemorrhage of brain.


1- Euthanasia criteria should be developed.
2- Consider CT or MRI for difficult cases


Rhinehart, H. L., C. A. Manire, F. W. Klutzow, and G. D. Bossart. "Brain lesions and clinical signs in two pygmy killer whales (Feresa attenuata) associated with Nasitrema sp." Poster presentation at the International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine 30th annual conference, Boston, MA. 1999.

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