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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

    DAO prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03424

    Pathologic findings and causes of death in southern right whales Eubalaena australis, Brazil

    Kátia R. Groch*, José L. Catão-Dias, Karina R. Groch, Cristiane K. M. Kolesnikovas, Pedro V. de Castilho, Luciana M. P. Moreira, Cecil R. M. B. Barros, Camila R. Morais de Medeiros, Eduardo P. Renault-Braga, Marcelo Sansone, Josué Díaz-Delgado

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Southern right whales (SRW; Eubalaena australis) migrate to southern Brazil from June through November for breeding and calving. Overall, there is scarce knowledge on health status and pathologic conditions in SRW. We report the pathologic and molecular investigation results in 8 SRWs that were necropsied between 2010 and 2017 along a breeding and calving ground in Santa Catarina state, Brazil. The animals were of various ages (7 newborns/calves, 1 adult) and sex (3 females, 5 males). Five whales stranded dead; three stranded alive and died shortly after (n = 2) or were euthanized (n = 1). The causes of stranding and/or death were neonatal respiratory distress syndrome with meconium aspiration (n = 3) with concomitant congenital hepatopathy in one of them; trauma of unknown origin (n = 3), infectious renal and lung disease with presumed sepsis (n = 1), and euthanasia (n = 1). Three animals were PCR positive for cetacean morbillivirus; one of them also had morbilliviral antigen in kidney via immunohistochemical analysis. These results, integrating novel findings and a published report, contribute to pathology knowledge on this species.