Serum electrolytes, urea nitrogen, creatinine, albumin and globulin were studied in fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) caught by commercial whalers in the North Atlantic (Denmark Strait area). Blood samples were obtained by catchment or cardiac puncture within 5–15 min of death and analyzed using automated spectrophotometric methods and flame photometry. Osmolality was determined for two serum samples by a vapor pressure method. Linear regressions determined for each measured serum variable vs. chase time suggested that pursuit of the whales prior to capture had no substantive effect on measured serum chemistry. As in other cetaceans, serum sodium, chloride, urea nitrogen and osmolality were distinctly higher in the fin whale than in terrestrial mammals. The total concentration of serum proteins, however, was 1.4–1.8 g/dl lower, on average, than reported in small toothed whales, and was similar to that of domesticated animals. One animal in this population showed alterations in serum chemistry which were consistent with renal failure.
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