WAM 652 Pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps)

Pygmy sperm whale ready for necropsy at UNCW.

On the afternoon of August 27th, a pygmy sperm whale stranded
at the north end of Topsail Beach. The animal was transported
back to UNCW for necropsy.

A live female and calf stranded alive on North Topsail Beach, NC. The calf was observed in the water by citizens on the beach, however it was not in the area when the response team arrived on the beach. The highly emaciated female was immediately transported to a vet clinic where the decision, based on physical exmination, was made to humanely euthanize the animal.

Back at UNCW, the necropsy commenced immediately and went well into the night. The adult female was in poor body condition and highly emaciated with very little evidence of food in her stomach. There was also no evidence lactation, as one would expect if she had a calf. There was a moderate load of parasites throughout her body with a heavy infestation of Crassicauda in the dorsal epaxial muscle and surrounding vasculature. Upon gross necropsy, it was evident that she suffered mulitple systemic illnesses, including an impacted colon and partial blockage of the pancreatic duct. The final conclusion on the cause of death could not be determined and awaits further results from histopathology.


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