Oiled Sea Otter Rehabilitation Course


Medical disorders of oiled sea otters may be caused by: primary and secondary effects of exposure to petroleum hydrocarbons, stress associated with capture and captivity, and preexisting health problems in the general sea otter population. Because many of the health problems have no specific treatment, prevention and supportive care are often the only recourse for the attending veterinarian. Broad spectrum antibiotics, fluid therapy, corticosteroids, and supplemental vitamins and minerals should be given to otters upon admission and as needed throughout the rehabilitation process. Treatments specific for individual medical problems should be initiated as soon as possible. This may include regimens for preventing further absorption or ingestion of petroleum hydrocarbons and for mitigating respiratory injury, hypoglycemia, and shock. Long-term care will involve stabilizing organ function, preventing additional stress, and providing adequate nutritional support during rehabilitation.