Jim McBain; Thomas H. Reidarson
An adult female pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus) presented with an
acute onset of inappetence and depression approximately three hours after a normal training
session. A blood sample taken at the time revealed a leukopenia with a left shift (WBC = 5000
mm3, bands = 2300 mm3, and segmented neutrophils = 2200 mm3), lymphopenia (lymphocytes = 400
mm3) and eosinopenia (eosinophils =50 mm3). The only biochemical abnormality was a low serum
iron of 37 mg/dl.
Initial therapy consisted of Amikacin at 6.4 mg/kg BID, trimethoprim
sulfadiazine at 14 mg/kg SID, a single dose of flunixin meglumine at 1.2 mg/kg, and four liters
of warm water administered by stomach tube twice daily. By day 3, the BUN and creatinine had
risen to 72 and 3.4 mg/dl, resp., a urinalysis revealed a specific gravity of 1.008 and 1 00
mg/dl proteinuria, and there were also signs of gastro-intestinal stasis. Accordingly, fluid
therapy was changed to 50 ml/ kg/day administered subcutaneously. The BUN and creatinine
continued to rise, necessitating the placement of an intravenous catheter through the abdominal
wall and into the posterior vena cava. Fluids were administered at a constant infusion rate
totaling 30 cc/kg/day.
Clinical deterioration continued. On day 6, two human peritoneal dialysis
tubes were placed and 40-50 1 of dialysate fluid was administered every 24 hours. Due to failure
of clinical response, the pilot whale was euthanized on day 10. Necropsy revealed an acute
necrotizing Pseudomonas aeruginosa pneumonia and moderate renal papillary necrosis.