WAM 633 - Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

Necropsy event on bottlenose dolphin

October 18, 2007 - Graduate student, Brian
Balmer, and Peter Nilsson examine the
stranded bottlenose dolphin

On October 18, 2007, a necropsy was conducted by the UNCW stranding response team and a group of 10 volunteers. WAM 633 was a coastal, mature female Tursiops truncatus that live stranded at a remote site within the New River delta. She died in transport. She was thin and had worn teeth. She was reproductively mature, with multiple fluid-filled cysts surrounding the left ovary. The liver was extremely unusual in appearance – fibrotic, but also fragile when cut. There was yellow staining in the bile ducts, pancreatic ducts, and at multiple positions along the length of the intestine. Her pre-scapular lymph nodes were enlarged and dark red. Pancreatic lymph nodes were mottled black and mesenteric lymph nodes ranged in condition and color. All lymph nodes investigated were not normal. She also had a region of thickened intervertebral discs of the caudal vertebrae. Her pterygoid sinuses contained bloody tissue and her right sinus contained copious pus. Her parasite loads were consistent with a typical coastal dolphin. The cause of death was not detectable upon gross dissection.


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