Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network

Dedicated to the conservation of marine mammals through rescue and rehabilitation, research and education.

Please note: All of the TMMSN conservation efforts are supported entirely by voluntary donations and grants. If you would like to support our marine mammal rescue and recovery work please visit our wish list, where you can donate needed items or make a tax-deductible cash contribution.

GA1599 - "Miss G" - Rescue and Necropsy

May 08, 2009 - At 0700 on Friday morning the TMMSN was notified of a live dolphin stranded on the beach in Bolivar Peninsula. Despite the sweeping Bolivar suffered during Ike, we still have a handful of faithful first-responding volunteers on the peninsula which responded immediately. Upon arrival the female dolphin was loaded into the rescue truck and ferried back across the Galveston ship channel to the TMMSN Aquacell which is now back in operation. It was evident during transport that the right pectoral fin was stiff, and she was handled accordingly.

Unable to stay afloat and surface to breathe on her own once in the rehabilitation pool, the TMMSN Critical Care Team was there to support her 24 hours a day. Tube hydration was administered every 4 hours along with medication.

Over the last three days she has not displayed signs of progression or improvement with treatment. Her condition seemed to worsen with additional serious symptoms being displayed as time went on. After taking into consideration all of the information and results we have learned of her during this critical care period, we felt that if we were to continue the rehab process with her that it would be prolonging her suffering. I know we have all been hoping she would turn a corner and begin progression, but we needed to do what was best for HER at this time. We made the decision to euthanize and although it was very difficult we know it was the right decision out of concern for her best interest.

Immediately following the euthanasia, we completed a full necropsy with Dr. Cowan. Preliminary results confirmed her poor condition and quickly declining health. We found that she was suffering from meningitis and as a result the swelling of her brain this caused adhesions to the skull. We also saw a severe case of pneumonia in both lungs with signs of further bacterial infectious disease.

missGhead_400x300.jpg (24110 bytes)(Click to enlarge)

In addition, both of the air sinus cavities in her head carried heavy loads of parasites. These parasites are the brown flecks and discharge that would often come from her blowhole over the last 24 hours or so. The right pectoral fin that was immobile from the time we first saw her on the beach and it turned out to be fused at the joint.

Although the odds were against her in so many ways, everyone that worked with with her gave a great effort in order to give her a second chance and we appreciate your support.

We want to thank McDonald and Comeaux families for their assistance with the rescue.

Rest assured, all TMMSN CCT members involved with GA1599 are following strict quarantine and decontamination/sterilization procedures before any further interaction occurs with Toby--our other live dolphin in rehabilitation.