Mystic, Conn. (May 11, 2017): The animals at Mystic Aquarium receive world-class care each and every day including behavioral enrichment and regular medical exams. With daily and individualized interactions, even the slightest change is detected by the animal care professionals. So, when the team began to notice an intermittent ear discharge from Bristol, a four year old harbor seal, the team immediately jumped into action. Once a patient in the Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Clinic, Bristol has long battled ear infections; this was first noted when she stranded in 2013.
That action included a trip to Ocean State Veterinary Specialists (OSVS) in East Greenwich, CT.
“We knew that to best diagnose Bristol, we would need to give her a computerized axial tomography or CAT or CT scan as it is more commonly known,” said Dr. Jen Flower, Chief Clinical Veterinarian at Mystic Aquarium. “And, while our new John T. and Jane A. Weiderhold Foundation Veterinary and Animal Health Center is a state-of-the-art facility, it does not include this type of imaging equipment.”
A team that included three of the Aquarium’s veterinarians and five (5) animal care specialists who work with Bristol daily, traveled up I-95 to meet with several members of the OSVS staff.
The procedure, which for marine mammals requires anesthesia, was successful. The CT scan revealed that Bristol had a deep inner ear infection. The vets were also able to get a culture from the ear canal. This knowledge allowed the vet team to immediately implement an antibiotic treatment regime.
“With a better understanding of her condition, we were able to treat her immediately with the medication most appropriate for her condition,” added Flower. “Bristol will be monitored closely, or more accurately, even more closely than usual and her treatment plan will be adjusted by the veterinary staff, as needed, to ensure she makes a full recovery.”
Today, Bristol is actively swimming with her fellow harbor seals in the Pacific Northwest exhibit.
About Mystic Aquarium
Mystic Aquarium, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, is counted among the nation’s leading aquariums with more than 300 species and an extensive collection of marine mammals, including New England’s only belugas. Mystic Aquarium has been a pioneer in offering guests a variety of up close encounters with a wide range of marine animals. The mission of Mystic Aquarium is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through conservation, education and research. Mystic Aquarium receives major support from The Coca-Cola Company, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Resorts World Sentosa and United Technologies Corporation. Learn more at MysticAquarium.org.
About Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program
Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program supports animals in need and educates the public about the marine environment and its inhabitants. The public is encouraged to call the aquarium’s 24-hour hotline at 860.572.5955 ext. 107 if they encounter a marine mammal or sea turtle in CT, RI or Fishers Island, NY. Mystic Aquarium is a founding member of the Northeast Region Stranding Network. This network in comprised of organizations along the eastern sea coast which have facilities and trained staff to care for sick and injured animals. Marine Mammals are protected species, so only groups and facilities authorized by the National Marine Fisheries Service are permitted to handle these animals.
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