Pygmy killer whale (Feresa attenuata)

(MML 0802, FMMSN0807)

Age Class Adult
Gender Male
Date Stranded June 15, 2008
Location of Stranding Boca Grande, Florida
Date of Arrival June 15, 2008
Number of Days of Care 163

Final Disposition

Died on Sunday November 23, 2008


6/16 Anglers in the area tried to help the swimming animal and contacted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).  FWC biologists and Florida Marine Mammal Stranding Network members Denise Boyd and Dee Semeyn transported the whales to Mote for medical care.  Whale has severe infections and may have parasites in the brain.  Two previous cases of this species here have had parasites in the brain.  Have started on antibiotics and fluids.

6/17 Although the whale's white count is going up, the animal seems stronger and is swimming occasionally.  Continuing treatment.

6/18 Whale is stronger and is swimming for long periods of time on its own.

6/19 Slight improvement has been noted.  Whale swam on its own most of yesterday.  Continuing treatment. Whale is not showing interest in food and we have started tube-feeding it.

6/20 Whale swam continuously for the last 24 hours without help, but is slower than we would like to see.  At noon, it was offered fish and squid and finally started eating.

6/21 Whale has eaten everything offered to it and is still swimming.  Both whales are beginning to interact with toys (environmental enrichment devices - EEDs).

6/23 Whale is doing very well.  Appetite is excellent and is swimming better.  Planning to do a CT scan of the brain later in the week.

6/24 Exam this morning went very well.  This whale has begun to gain a little weight and is swimming better in deeper water.

6/25 Blood tests yesterday indicated a rising white count (infection?) and the whale refused a couple of feeds in the evening.  Appears to be developing pneumonia.  Changed antibiotics and whale is eating much better this morning.

6/26 Continuing to improve but will have to wait on the CT scan.

6/27 Still evidence of pneumonia in one lung, but whale is doing better, eating and swimming well.

6/28 Swimming much stronger today.

6/30 Whale has been a little lethargic the last 24 hours, but is eating well.  Lungs are better.

7/1 Not as lethargic today.  Still eating well.

7/2 Slightly improved from yesterday and eating well.

7/3 Getting better each day.

7/4 Continued gradual improvement.

7/5 Appetite dropped off this morning.  Appears to be some fluids in the lungs, possibly from rough play with Dallas.  Started eating after treatment.

7/6 Appetite is much improved today.

7/7 Continuing to improve.  Whale has gained significant weight in the last week.

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

7/9 Both continue to improve.

7/10 More improvement today. 

7/11 We were able to get a CT scan last night thanks to Axcess Diagnostics of Sarasota and Dr. Steve Miley.  Results revealed no brain lesions present, but lung lesions present as expected.  Whale is doing very well today. 

7/12 More of the same. 

7/14 Late yesterday, experienced a loss of appetite.  Did gastroscopy this morning and found no ulcers, but possible fungal gastritis.  Have changed medication. 

7/15 Whale is much better this morning.  Has begun to eat again after being tubed earlier today. 

7/16 White count has come down and appetite is much better today. 

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 is doing some better.  Is now eating a little better, but not yet fully back. 

7/24 Eating much better and much more active. 

7/25 Continuing to improve and white count is coming down.

 7/26 Improved appetite and activity. 

7/27 Continued improvement. 

7/29 Continuing to timprove. 

7/30 More improvement. 

8/3 More of the same. 

8/4 Appetite has become variable again. 

8/5 Activity is somewhat improved but appetite is variable. 

8/7 More of the same. 

8/8 Appetite seems better today.  White count if almost normal for the first time since this animal arrived. 

8/12 Bloodwork is improved, but appetite continues to be variable. 

8/13 Not eating well the last two days. 

8/15 White count is normal and most other bloodwork is approaching normal, but still not eating well. 

8/20 Bloodwork continues to look good, but appetite is still not good.  Have started a medication to increase gut motility. 

8/28 Bloodwork is still good, but appetite is not.  Trying different prey items to see if digestibility may be different. 

9/1 Whale is doing well eating mackeral.  Has not missed a meal in 2.5 days and is no longer losing weight.  Blood work looks good.

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

9/4 Despite the death of Dallas last night, Pete continues to have a good appetite. Whale has been started on treatment for the pneumonia observed in Dallas.

9/6 Whale is continuing to do well and eat very well.

9/8 Whale continues to improve and is gaining weight.

9/11 Whale is definitely eating better and is much more active.  Bloodwork is looking good.

9/16 Whale continues to improve and is gaining substantial weight.  Beginning to discuss possible release in the next month.

9/21 Whale continuing to do very well.

9/26 Whale is becoming more playful and animated.  He continues to gain weight (now 108.5 kg).

10/6 Whale's bloodwork and other labwork appear normal at this time.  Likely to be taken off all meds in the next week or so in preparation for release.

10/10  Whale is now off all antibiotics and blood values are normal.  Have applied for release later this month.

10/24 The whale's white count has gone back up, so the release will be delayed by about 3 more weeks.

11/07 Whale continues to improve although white count has gone up a little.  Have added another antibiotic. 

11/25 Unfortunately Pete died on Sunday around 1130.  The necropsy revealed the most likely cause of death to be DIC (Disseminated Intravascular Coagulopathy).  However, awaiting results from histopathology, which may take awhile.

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