Featured Image Credit: Mystic Aquarium/PA
By Sarah Sharkey
Ziggy, a Northern fur seal, recently underwent an operation that was the first of its kind in brain surgery. The surgery was done in an attempt to rectify the animal’s worsening neurological condition, so far the results seem to be positive.
The lead surgeon, Ane Uriarte with Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts, had this to say about the operation “The ability to successfully complete this procedure with many unknown factors is due in large part to the collaboration among colleagues at Cummings and Mystic. The combined expertise and skills from all of our areas of specialty – from neurosurgery to anesthesia and zoological medicine was critical to this success.”
Ziggy’s condition had been gradually worsening since she was first brought to Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut after being stranded on the California coast and being deemed non-releasable. She experiences seizures, difficulty moving and severe neurological episodes. The condition, hydrocephalus, is fairly common among dogs and cats but had never been documented in a pinniped before now.
Although this was an ordeal for Ziggy to go through, it is hoped that her quality of life will increase dramatically as a direct result of this procedure. The knowledge the surgery team gained through this operation may be used in the future to help other pinnipeds with the same condition.
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