Pneumonia in Stranded Pygmy Killer Whales (Feresa attenuata): A Case Report
World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress Proceedings, 2003
Jariya Sutanonpaiboon1; Manoch Yindee2; Narin Yanil1; Sudjit Jungpiwat3; Achariya Sailasuta4; Nantarika Chansue1
1Veterinary Medical Aquatic Animal Research Center, Veterinary science faculty, Chulalongkorn University, Patumwan, Bangkok, Thailand; 2Department of Theriogenology, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University; 3Division of Parasitology; 4Department of Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University


Two Pygmy killer whales were stranded near Cha-um beach, Petchburi province. The clinical signs were weakness, unable to dive, tachypnea and purulent nasal discharge from the blow hole were observed.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The result of physical exam, bacterial culture and hematological study were indicated that pneumonia caused by Klebsiella pneumoniae was the main problem of both whales. Antibiotic, enrofloxacin, and supportive treatment were continuously applied for 2 weeks. During observation, the whales died in 9 and 14 days later respectively, necropsy and histopathological studies were then performed.

Necropsy Results

Gross findings were severe purulent pneumonia and remarkable parasitic infestation (Lecithodesmus spp.) in gall bladder and also nematodes infestation in gastrointestinal tracts. Histopathological results showed severe diffuse purulent pneumonia.


Stranded whales were generally sick, injured and weak. In this case, both Pygmy killer whales had a remarkable level of dental erosion, lost teeth and lots of scar on the skin which indicate aging. The post-mortem finding showed severe parasitic infestation, which is common in wild marine animals ( Simpson, 1980 ) that can deteriorate health condition and could create difficulty in hunting and feeding followed by immunosuppression and secondary infection ( Lawrence et al., 2001 ) In this case Klebsiella pucumoniae and other bacteria from respiratory tracts as well as Candida albicans from oral cavity were demonstrated. In conclusion, the cause of death of both Pygmy killer whales were respiratory failure with severe purulent bacterial pneumonia. This is the first case report for pneumonia in Pygmy killer whale in Thailand.

Speaker Information
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Jariya Sutanonpaiboon
Veterinary Medical Aquatic Animal Research Center
Veterinary science faculty
Chulalongkorn University
Patumwan , Bangkok, Thailand

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