Inquiries were made to all oceanaria that maintain killer whales in North America. Causes of death determined at necropsy included mediastinal abscesses, pyometra, pneumonia, influenza, salmonellosis, nephritis, Chediak-Higashi syndrome, fungus infection, ruptured aorta, cerebral hemorrhage and a perforated postpyloric ulcer. Captive females appear to have a higher rate of mortality than males. Growth rates for whales that died were greater than for those that survived.

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Author notes


This work was supported in part by Office of Naval Research Contract NR136-886.