Hematologic and Serum Biochemical Data from Mass Stranded Long-Finned Pilot Whales (Globicephala melas), Cape Cod, USA, 2002

Document: Article
Abstract: Medical and stranding records from a mass stranding of long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) were reviewed retrospectively. Of the 58 stranded animals, 40 were euthanized, while 18 died naturally. Seventeen individuals were male (29%), 37 individuals were female (64%), and sex was not recorded for four individuals (7%). During the stranding response, blood was collected from 20 individuals, providing for serum biochemistry (n = 20), serum protein electrophoresis (n = 19), serum cortisol (n = 19), complete blood count (n = 16), and coagulation profile (n = 5). Individuals from which blood was collected included 12 adult females, four juvenile females, one adult male, one juvenile male, and two individuals of unknown sex and age class. Hematologic and serum biochemical data did not reveal severe anomalies in any individual, and postmortem examinations did not reveal any serious disease. Common modest derangements included increased erythrocyte indices, elevated tissue enzyme activities, hyperglycemia, and elevated serum cortisol concentration. This study provides the first hematologic and serum biochemical data for mass stranded individuals of this species and provides further evidence that cetaceans may be in stable physiologic condition and free of overt disease prior to stranding.
Key Words: cetacean, pilot whale, Globicephala melas, hematology, biochemistry, mass stranding
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1578/AM.47.1.2021.76
Page Numbers: 76-85

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