: Corky :
Species: Northern Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris)

11-30-11 On Tuesday, November 29th, a six month, 21 pound, male otter was picked up by USFWS at mile 5 of the Kenai Spur Hwy, between Kenai and Soldotna, approximately 18 miles up the Kenai River which was mostly frozen over.

Blood results from his admit exam indicated poor renal function. His kidney values have since improved, however, time is needed to see if there is permanent damage. He also has strep bacteria in his blood. The strep is a different strain than is typically seen in the sea otter mortality events in south central Alaska. This type of infection can cause significant heart damage which can lead to heart failure so we are now focusing on assessing his cardiac function. We are working with veterinary and human specialists to make that happen early next week. We have also consulted with a human infectious disease specialist on treatment options. The otter's status is currently stable but serious and precarious.

12-1-11 Corky is eating and grooming very well. He no longer likes squid which may be an indication he is feeling better. Blood work is looking improved but remains on antibiotics.

12-4-1 Corky is sleeping in the water more and diving to the bottom foraging on crabs and clams.

12-30- The strep that was found in his blood proved to be very sensitive to the oral and injectable antibiotics he received; the bacteria was no longer detectable well before his treatment was complete. Additionally, we were able to arrange for an ultrasound by a cardiologist who did not find any cardiac abnormalities and while it was the first otter he had examined, he felt that heart function was fine. Meanwhile, Corky has been doing a terrific job taking care of himself, grooming and eating well, gaining weight. Last week we gave him a thorough exam and retested his blood. All blood values were as expected for his age and subsequent cultures did not detect any bacteria. A release plan was developed in consultation with USFWS and will take place next week in Kachemak Bay, the exact date is dependent on weather. Factors that helped included the otter's youth, his personality that accepted the treatment regime, and the lack of permanent damage to the heart or other organs prior to therapy.
1-2-12 Corky's release today went great! We are asking everyone in the Homer area to keep an eye out for us.


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