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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 31, 2009

Flipper amputation may give Round Two second chance back in the wild

Left - Round Two, a California sea lion, in surgery at The Marine Mammal Center.
Right - Round Two after surgery, rests comforatbly in her pool.

Round Two, a yearling California sea lion, is one of the latest patients to be admitted to the Center with a wound that if untreated, could have been life-threatening. She was spotted on a dock in Monterey County by citizens who called the Center. Volunteers from our Monterey unit jumped into action and rescued the 60 pound female yearling on August 16. She had major damage to her right hind flipper. Upon evaluation by the Center's veterinarians, it was determined that the trauma and infection were too much to fix. Lucky for Round Two this was a hind flipper and the decision was made to amputate it as sea lions can do well in the wild without one. All went well and Round Two ate one hour after surgery and has been swimming around and eating well ever since. She still has some major healing to do but her disability has not slowed her down and we hope to return her to the ocean soon. We think that's pretty impressive!


Anonymous said...

Amputation is so severe? Was it really necessary to amputate this animal's flipper? Do we not create artificial body parts for humans? My friend just had her hip replaced, surely we can create a replacement flipper of biocompatible material for this animal? Has it ever been done?

Pam said...

I am extremely impress with you and you wonderful blog.
One person can make a difference and you are proof of that:)
Thank you for all you do to help the creatures great and small!!!

Be Happy :) Pam i am

Anonymous said...

I too wonder if amputation for this animal was necessary. It seems so severe. We develop products for humans, why not animals? Was the cost of rehabbing this animal a critical factor? Surely there are materials compatible with the animal's body. How cutting edge is your facility? Does your facility at this time have CAT SCAN/Pet SCAN/MRI machines? Are you relying solely on x-rays? Can you accept donations for these machines, or do you have an approval protocols that have to me met? Would these machines serve your facility better? There are no guarantees in this life, so if an animal has to lose a flipper why not try to save it first with creating an artificial limb? Perhaps your employees need to be more creative in how they raise funds and what they believe is possible in animal science. Someone has to be the innovator. As far as how we treat our environment -until the minority becomes the majority we will continue to see negative ecological changes. It's really not rocket science, nature does what it does, earthquakes, hurricanes, droughts ect....and humans do what they do..misuse of natural resources, pollution ect....one way to find out how it will ultimately affect us humans is to stayed tuned, of course by then it may be a wee bit too late...Such is life!!!!!!! I almost sound like a cynic, but I am not...Life is still good...if we let it be good!!! I love wildlife and our creatures deserve our cutting edge science.