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Causes of mortality and non-fatal conditions among grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) found dead on the coasts of England, Wales and the Isle of Man
  1. J. R. Baker, BVSc, PhD, MRCVS1,1,
  2. P. D. Jepson, BVMS, MRCVS2,
  3. V. R. Simpson, BVSc, DTVM, MRCVS3 and
  4. T. Kuiken, DVM2,2
  1. 1 Department of Pathology, Veterinary Teaching Hospital, University of Liverpool, Leahurst, Neston, Wirral L64 7TE
  2. 2 Institute of Zoology, Regent's Park, London NW1 4RY
  3. 3 Veterinary Investigation Centre, Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Polwhele, Truro TR4 9AD


A survey of the diseases detectable in 141 grey seals stranded on the coasts of England and Wales away from breeding colonies was carried out between mid-1989 and early 1997. The most common fatal conditions in pups less than three weeks of age were trauma (24 per cent of deaths) and dystocia (12 per cent); in pups more than three weeks of age they were starvation (22 per cent) and pneumonia (22 per cent); in juveniles they were drowning in fishing gear (30 per cent) and starvation (19 per cent), and in adults a variety of respiratory diseases were the most common causes of death (45 per cent). Many other diseases, both fatal and non-fatal, were recorded.

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  • Dr Baker's present address is The Dormie, Berth-ddu, Rhosesmor, Mold CH7 6PS

  • Dr Kuiken' s present address is Department of Veterinary Pathology, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, 52 Campus Drive, Saskatoon SK, S7N 5B4, Canada

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