Saturday, February 8, 2014

Eye surgery for harbor seals

Harbor seals in aquarium settings often live far beyond their natural life expectancies in the wild, but like aging people, they can suffer from similar chronic medical conditions like cataracts. The vision of Reggae and Chacoda (Chuck), two adult male harbor seals, had deteriorated in recent years as the milky cloudiness in their lenses increased and reduced their fine vision. Both 200 pounders remain very active and know dozens of behaviors, but they had become more dependent on hearing the verbal commands of their marine mammal trainers rather than seeing their hand signals.

Reggae (bottom) and Chuck are doing very well following cataracts surgeries.

Aquarium veterinarians consulted local veterinary ophthalmologist, Dr. Ruth Marrion of Bulger Veterinary Hospital in North Andover, who has been donating her services since 2007. She was concerned with the potential for further deterioration and the development of other eye diseases. She recommended the cataract surgery and assembled a surgical team. After Aquarium staff  set up a temporary operating room in a seal holding area, Dr. Marrion and a surgeon from Florida successfully removed both seals’ cataracts.

After two weeks of convalescence in a dry environment, Chuck and Reggae have returned to their exhibit pool and adapted well.

Reggae has been trained to look up and stay still so that trainers can administer the eyedrops.

Local media were also on hand for this photo op!

There's a wealth of information on the blogs about how we take care of Aquarium animals:
Now that you know about the special care and treatment these animals receive to keep them happy and healthy, look for them during your next visit to the Aquarium

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