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The Marine Mammal Center is a nonprofit veterinary hospital, research, and educational center dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of ill and injured marine mammals and the study of their health. Since 1975, the Center has rescued and treated more than 16,500 marine mammals and has accumulated a body of knowledge about marine mammal and ocean health. Through public education about marine mammals, the Center hopes to foster ocean stewardship and conservation. For more information, visit http://www.marinemammalcenter.org/

Monday, August 4, 2008

CSL Gettysburg

Sadly, our resident adult male California sea lion, Gettysburg, had to be euthanized this weekend. Our director of veterinary science, Dr. Frances Gulland, e-mailed the news to staff and volunteers. She tells us that "despite antibiotic treatment, he never bore weight on his left front flipper, and the antibiotics did not result in any improvement in weight bearing, although the swelling decreased.Thus, we anesthetized him Friday morning to get a good X-ray of his entire left flipper.These X-rays revealed an osteoarthritis of his elbow – infection of the joint, with dissolving bone and damaged ligaments. Sadly the only effective treatment for this would be amputation above the joint, which would not be an option for a male sea lion’s front flipper, so we humanely euthanized him while he was under anesthesia."

The post mortem exam revealed that Gettysburg had numerous other wounds on his body, which indicates that he likely sustained his flipper injury while fighting with other male sea lions during the June-July breeding season. It's a shame that this beautiful animal had to be euthanized, but ultimately, this saved him from any more suffering. Many volunteers and veterinary staff worked hard to try to rehabilitate him. His discomfort was eased and he was provided a humane response to a condition which likely would have resulted in a slow and painful death in the wild.

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