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J Wildl Dis. 2019 Apr;55(2):518-521. doi: 10.7589/2018-04-105. Epub 2018 Oct 19.

Agreement between Repeated Subjective Visual Evaluations of Body Condition of St. Lawrence Beluga Whale ( Delphinapterus leucas) Carcasses Using a Visual Analog Scale.

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1 Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative/Centre québécois sur la santé des animaux sauvages Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, 3200 Rue Sicotte, St. Hyacinthe, Québec J2S 2M2, Canada.


The determination of body condition is a fundamental component of an evaluation during postmortem examinations of cetaceans. Three veterinarians experienced in beluga postmortem techniques subjectively evaluated 62 carcasses of beluga whales ( Delphinapterus leucas) in duplicate, using a visual analog scale. The result of evaluation and scoring was repeatable in cachectic animals and animals in very good condition but did not capture the continuum of body condition determinations between the obvious visual conditions.


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