Ranger Sarah Lenz reports:
On Monday Dec. 6, 2010, I noticed one adult harbor seal remained hauled out on the beach after the rest of the group moved out to the outer reef. The male harbor seal had sunken eyes, curled whiskers, and appeared to be underweight. Marine Mammal Center (MMC) volunteer Sue Pemberton and I enlisted some helpers to carry the 123 pound patient to a vehicle and get him off to the MMC for treatment.
Here’s what they had to say during his first few days of treatment:
“‘Tinsel’ is an adult male harbor seal that was very underweight, dehydrated, had a nasal discharge and abnormal lung sounds at admit. Lab tests indicated that he has a chronic inflammatory response going on; his white blood cell count was high, his globulins were high, his iron was low, etc.
“All of these things tell us he has most likely been fighting some sort of infection for weeks. After his initial stabilization we sedated him and obtained some radiographs and ultrasound images to attempt to determine where this inflammation is focused. All the findings confirm that he has a very serious pneumonia that appears to be localized to the rostral (toward the head) part of the left lung.
“The good news here is that during the imaging we again collected some blood and rechecked those indicators of inflammation. Already in only a few days of treatment there is evidence of positive response. His white blood cell count has dropped considerably. He also has appeared brighter and both this morning and at noon today decided to eat some fish! These are really great signs and we are cautiously optimistic about ‘Tinsel’s’ chances for a full recovery.”
I got an update from Sue Pemberton on Tuesday, December 14, 2010, and am happy to report that Tinsel is still responding well to their wonderful care and eating four pounds of fish per day. He appears to be an old guy by evidence of his very worn down teeth. We hope that Tinsel will be able to continue on his path of recovery and rejoin his harbor seal family on the reef back at Fitzgerald!