This report describes an unusual combination of lesions and apparent behavioral abnormalities in a sexually mature sperm whale bull taken in whaling operations off Iceland. Lesions included heavy combative scarring of the head, grossly roughened and thickened skin on the lower left flank, cutaneous maculae, genital papillomatosis, partial duodenal obstruction by plastic debris, colo-rectal obstruction by ambergris, cystic degeneration of the right kidney, and a deeply ulcerative gastric nematodiasis. Sealskin was found in the stomach. Gross and histopathologic observations suggested that the disease complex in this animal may have been related both to habitat degradation and health risks naturally associated with its ecology and age.
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Vol. 23 • No. 3