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Specialist: Autopsy on dolphin inconclusive

By Sandhya Santoo sandhya.santoo@trinidadexpress.com

The dead dolphin found at a beach in La Brea on Wednesday has been identified as a female bottlenose dolphin. 

And a necropsy (autopsy on animals) performed on the dead mammal could not positively conclude the cause of death, as the tissues were almost destroyed because of decomposition.

A news release issued by the School of Veterinary Medicine at UWI, St Augustine, stated the necropsy found adult worms (helminth worms) and large endoparasites in the stomach. A partially digested fish was also removed from the stomach and part of the organ was inflamed.

The carcass was taken by the Trinidad and Tobago Marine Mammals Stranding Network (TTMMSN) to the School of Veterinary Medicine for the necropsy. The necropsy was conducted by veterinary specialists Dr Rod Suepaul and Dr Carla Phillips. 

The necropsy found that the bottlenose dolphin measured at 2.88 metres.

The procedure revealed several skin lesions which the pathology team believed were caused by a virus or parasite. Evidence of enteritis (small intestinal inflammation) was confirmed.

The team was awaiting the results of tests performed on the tissue samples.

Suepaul has advised the public to contact the School of Veterinary Medicine at 645-2640 ext 4328 should a similar incident occur.

The dolphin was found on the beach at Union Village, Vessigny, not far from where an oil spill came ashore at La Brea last December, and where dead fish have been found over the past three weeks.

The dolphin was found in the surf by resident Russell Partap and his wife Dawn. The couple pulled the animal ashore and contacted officials of the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) who were close by conducting water quality tests, related to the recent oil spill in La Brea, where a number of dead mullets has surfaced. 

Residents have questioned why the dead fish had only surfaced in the La Brea area. Some have fallen ill  blaming the oil spill and the fish for their illness. 

 
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