Pathology of stranded beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from the St. Lawrence Estuary, Québec, Canada

D. Martineau, A. Lagacé, P. Béland, Robert Higgins, D. Armstrong, L. R. Shugart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

160 Scopus citations


From June 1983 to May 1986, thirteen carcasses of stranded beluga whales from a polluted area of the St. Lawrence River, Canada were necropsied. High performance liquid chromatography was performed on the brains of three other animals to determine concentrations of benzo a pyrene (BaP). Two juvenile animals had severe multisystemic lesions one of which, a severe necrotizing dermatitis, was associated with a Herpevirus-like particle. Four adults had five varieties of tumuors. An adult had a systemic nocardiosis and a juvenile was affected by a non 0:1 Vibrio cholerae septicemia. High concentrations of BaP adducts were found in the brains which were analyzed. Occurrence of BaP adducts in the brain of three whales of this population coincides with the high incidence of tumours. This and the previous finding of high concentrations of organochlorine in the tissues of these animals suggest an important role of industrial contaminants in the recent decrease of this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-310
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Comparative Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • veterinary(all)


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