On Sunday, November 19th, we were notified of a deceased dolphin floating in the Ashley River. The boaters who called were kind enough to tow the dolphin to a nearby marina, where we were able to retrieve it and bring it back to Hollings Marine Lab. It was stored on ice until a necropsy the following day.
This was a juvenile, male bottlenose dolphin. By first glance, it was clear something was going on as this animal was covered in skin lesions from its rostrum down to the fluke. It is possible the lesions could stem from freshwater exposure, chemical exposure, a bacteria, or a virus. Several samples of the skin lesions were collected for histopathology testing and for morbillivirus testing. Results are pending.
Other significant findings included hemorrhagic lymph nodes, congestion and parasitism of the lungs, bloody foam present in the lungs and trachea, and a large fluid-filled cyst in the genital region.
Thank you to LMMN volunteers Laura Christensen, Kerryanne Litzenberg, and Patrick Luzadder for assisting with this case!