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Necropsy Report

Killer Whale (Orcinus-orca) Hugo

Age 15 yrs Miami Seaquarium, Miami, Florida
Name: Hugo (male) Species: Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) Source: wild capture, February 1968, Vaughn Bay, WA, USA, age: est. 3yrs Deceased: 03-04-1980, Miami Seaquarium, age: est. 15 yrs Reported cause of death (per NMFS MMIR data): Aneurysm Cerebral Artery Necropsy info: Gross Diagnosis Tentative- Jesse R. White, DVM: Rupture of saccular aneurysm of one or morecerebral arteries. Additional information: It has been commonly reported that Hugo would regularly and intentionally smash his head against the sides of the pool. In the early 1970s this resulted in a serious injury. From Kahana necropsy report (dec. 1991), Ruth Francis-Floyd, DVM, University of Florida: It is worth mentioning that there is precedent for self inflicted injury in captive killer whales. In the early 1970s a male killer whale housed in Miami hit an observation window with enough force to break the window, causing loss of a significant volume of water, and slicing off the end of his nose. The attending veterinarian for that incident was Dr. Jesse White. I have listed Dr. White's present address and phone number at the end of this letter should you wish to contact him with specific questions about that event. Details of Hugos injury and medical care by Jesse White, DVM was published in The Speculum, Vol. XXV, No. 2, Winter 1973, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University: Dr. White was summoned when Hugo battered a bubble window in his tank with his nose. After Hugo broke a nine-inch hole in the quarter-inch-thick plastic, he lifted his head, and the sharp plastic sheared off about an inch and a half of his nose, leaving a flap of skin about 3-1/2 inches in diameter hanging from the base of the nose by a tag of skin three-fourths of an inch wide.
The Orca Project Corp 3/11/2012 www.theorcaproject.com

A copy of the full Speculum report is included with the documents that follow.

Hugo is lifted from the pool at Miami Seaquarium following his death.

Notes: Prior to reforms of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) in 1994, holders of marine mammals for public display were required to submit necropsy reports (animal autopsy reports) for deceased animals, making the documents available to the public and scientific community. Presently, marine mammal parks in the U.S. are only required to provide a cause of death to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) which maintains Marine Mammal Inventory Reports (MMIR). Details of marine mammal deaths are now a closely guarded secret at U.S. entertainment facilities. For more information visit www.theorcaproject.com

Necropsy, Autopsy, Veterinarian, NOAA, NMFS, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, MMIR, Marine Mammal Inventory Report, MMPA, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Killer Whale, Orca, Shamu, Death, Die, Miami Seaquarium, Hugo, Lolita

The Orca Project Corp




Orcinus Orca


~ r & nlo.
March 4 , 1980




Mtdioal Record Ho..18

Area Whale Bowl


1 5 Yeara Approximately

Trainer E r i c Eimstad, Lou Roth

. .

Death 4 +

On o r about January 2 , 1980, t h e t r a i n e r s noted s l i g h t b e h a v i o r a l d i f f e r e k e H continued e w i t h Hugo. His d i e t was good b u t w a s n o t i c e d t o be t h r a s h i n g about =re. -to*perf o m - w e l l , w i t h - - a l i g h t changes through the26 t of-Jan-uary.. _,He -was e a t i n g eating___ h a t t h e same tiare b u t war s l u g g i s h , He w a 8 s t a t e d on p r e c a u t i o n a r y medication ( a m p i c i l l i W a l s o i n c r e a s e d h i s supplemental v i t a m i n s e at t h i s t i m e , and w a s n o t used i n shows. a t t h i s t i m e , t h e t r a i n e r noted a g r e e n i s h c o l o r t o f a c e s on Febuary 1, and began t r e a t m e n t w i t h kaomycin f o r p o s s i b l e i n t e s t i n a l p r o s t e n s . Changed t o k e f l e x a n t i b i o t i c : on February 2, h i s food i n t a k e remained "normal" w i t h o n l y a few d a y s under 100 U s through March 1st. 135 (normal s m t . ) on March 2-3, and found dead March 4. N outward o i n d i c a t i o n of s e r i o u s i l l n e s s t o j u s t i f y a d d i t i o n a l s t r e s s of d i a g n o s t i c work..frorn o n s e t of b e h a v i o r a l chanqes through March 4.


~ s t i m a t e d10,000 Lbs.

+ -

General A P P ~ ~ ~ ~ NoC outward, e x t e r n a l l e s i o n s o r a b r a s i o n s . I O

Cross B e c r o ~ s yPiadfnga h t t r n a l G e n e r a l Colour good a l l s k i n s u r f a c e s nonnal

O g n of Special Genre Eyes normal, Grossly-removed for f u r t h e r s t u d y rar tonque t h e s e were p r e s e n t f o r past 1 0 years s u r g a c e had s e v e r a l long s t a n d i n g p a p i l l a e


' Rerpirrtary ms t a Pending microscopic e x m i n a t i o n ~ r o s s examinat'fon revealeda w a l l e d o f f a r e a of n e c r o u i a , 3-4 x 3.5 an, of the left lung. The lower, =re branched b r o n c h i o l e s O F the left lung c o n t a i n e d a congealed blood clot that was
5 t o 20 a i n length. T N r break-dawn of v a s c u l a r integument appeared t o b e a c o n f i n e d t o approximately n o r s t i s t a l p o r t i o n s of t h e l e f t lung. The r i g h t , lung was unremarkable. Microsoopic examination c o n c e n t r a t e on vaacular i n t e g r i t y w i t h i n l u r g - t i s _ s u e . P o s s i b l e t h o r a c i c aneurysm. no g r o s s s i g n of a c u t e r e s p i r a t o r y i n f l a mation s l c g h t , n o t abnormal, f r o t h i n t r a c h e s .




- Grossly .

. r

~ U ~ ~ O P ~ I I C UHeartU a l v e s m m ~~ v

and muscles appear normal

- possible

t h o r a c i c and c e r e b r a l aneurysms.

H d c and Lynwhatlc -term

of l e f t lung.

Obvious e x t r a v a s c u l a r blood i n t i s s u e s of lowe l o b e s

D i g c s t i ~ e8ystem Mocosa of stomachs and i n t e s t i n a l t r a c t i n t a c t . No u l e c r a t i o n s no p a r a s i t e s (Macro) L i v e r was g r o s s l y swollen no s i g n of inflammation p r o c e s s


Urinsry System unremarkable

Genital Syetcm

weighed and measured

- unremarkable

Endocrine System s p l e e n appeared normal i n s i z e , sane p o s t mortem changes, o t h e r w i s e e n d o c r i n e system w a s unremarkable g r o s s l y .

l'ferpaue Syaten Obvious breakdown o f blood wessel i n t e g r i t y o r p o s s i b l e aneurysm r u p t u r e w i t h i n r i g h t cerebrum and v e n t r i c u l - blood clot i n b r a i n t i s s u e of r i g h t c o r t e x 3 5 cm i n diameter. C l o t t e d blood a l s o a d j a c e n t -

- -

Other :

t o a r e a of Medulla oblongata. Pending f u r t h e r microscopic study.

Tinsi:cc Talcen R e p r e s e n t a t i v e samples taken of a l l t i s s u e s f o r s t u d y .

Laboratory :

Blood Chclaistrf


P o s t mortem l i m i t a t i o n s p r e v a i l e d .

Cross Diagnoaia T e n t a t i v e cerebral

- Rupture

of s a c c u l a r aneurysm q f one o r more


Florida Vet Does A Nose Job on A 2-Ton Patient

Dr. Jesse White, resident veterinarian for the Miami Seaquarium, made veterinary history when he performed a nose job on Hugo, the Seaquarium's 4,200 pound killer whale. Dr. White w a s summoned when Hugo battered a bubble window in his tank with his nose. After Hugo broke a nine-inch hole in the quarter-inch-thick plastic, he lifted his head, and the s h a r p plastic sheared off about an inch a n d a half of his nose, leaving a flap of skin about 3 % inches in diameter hanging from the base of the nose by a tag of skin three-fourths of a n inch wide. T h e w a t e r level in the tank w a s dropped immediately to immobilize the whale, and a n hour and a half after the accident, Dr. White began surgery. T h e flap of nose skin w a s put back in place and held there with 40 stitches. Dr. White used the skin a s "a big band-aid" to prevent infection and stimulate healing from the inside.

A s Dr. White anticipated, the nose flap sloughed off in a week, and t h e stitches were removed, revealing that healing had started from t h e inside. A bacterial agent, a mixture of lanolin and gentian violet w a s applied t o the nose several times a d a y with a long brush. Dr. White expected Hugo's nose to heal, leaving a gray-white scar. But six months after t h e accident, Hugo's nose had regenerated glossy black, in the streamlined hydrodynamic nose shape. The only indications of the disaster were tiny markings from the stitches and a slight dimple a t the very tip of the nose. Dr. White broke important ground in marine mammal veterinary medicine with his treatment of Hugo. Only 19 killer w h a t e s are in captivity today, and total of 26 have been captured and observed since 1964. (The full story of Hugo's treatment appeared in the Spring, 1971 issue of the Norden News.]
(Dual Study cont. from page 8)

Hugo is a performing killer whale, like Shamu, above. the pride of Sea World in Aurora, Ohio. Hugo and Shamu are two of 19 killer whales in captivity now.

No sedation w a s used. T h e nose of a killer whale has few nerves, a n d Dr. White explained that it is connective tissue s o tough that it could not be infiltrated with pain killer to deaden a n y possible sensitivity. After surgery, the whale w a s given a massive dose of 24 million units of penicillin and a n equal dose of streptomycin. Hugo also got an injection of Butazolidin t o reduce inflammation and swelling. T h e s h o t s were continued every d a y for five d a y s .

Betty Jean Harper, a senior Veterinary student enrolled in the program plans to enter a practice after graduation. Her graduate training will benefit clients and s h e plans to continue her research interests in reproductive physiology on a limited scale a s time a n d conditions permit. A s her husband is a graduate student in Zoology and Animal Behavior at the University of Michigan, s h e hopes that they will be able to work together on research projects. Betty does not feel that the d u a l program i s too much harder, but a d m i t s s h e loses some lunch hours and evenings to extra classes and a lot of free time to studying. Since s h e has been separated from her husband b y their respective schooling, the additional work is less of a burden. For her senior electives s h e h a s decided not to repeat the clinical sections a n d is taking a series of courses and seminars toward her graduate degree. Her schedule includes a special studies course in radio-immune assay techniques under Dr. Richard Ray in t h e Veterinary Clinical Sciences Department and Dr. W. R. Gomes of Dairy Sciences; Veterinary Endocrinology; Laboratory Animal Medicine; a zoology project under Dr. Peterle of the Department of Zoology; Pharmacology seminar; and a course on technical papers and thesis writings which s h e i s auditing. The dual professional~graduate program can provide a valuable opportunity for the student desiring advanced degree training to gain a head start while completing the professional curriculum, but he o r s h e must be willing to accept the hardships a n d sacrifices of the increased workload. T h e value of this type of program to the Veterinary profession will be determined by t h e growing demand for specialized services. I f present trends t o w a r d longer a n d more specialized practices continue, programs like this one will also grow.

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