Featured Image Credit: John Raoux/AP
By Laura O’Brien
Manatees (also known as sea cows) graze on the vegetation growing on the sea floor, just like cattle. Their gentle movements make them seem serene and at times, even graceful. But these slow mammals often fall victim to fast or careless boaters, whose propellers can lacerate the backs of marine animals like manatees. These wounds can often become very serious if they are left untreated.
Tom the manatee was taken in by the rescue workers at SeaWorld, because he was found floating abnormally. Poor Tom had been hit by a boat and he had long marks across his back where the propellers met his skin. Nearly two months after he had been taken in for treatment, Tom was still suffering from pneumothorax (air being outside his lung). Tom’s condition caused concern for the rescue team; so the staff requested assistance from Florida Hospital in assessing the extent of the damage to Tom’s body.
The SeaWorld staff explained that in a case like Tom’s, if they were forced to use their radiographs in lieu of the borrowed CT machine, it would have taken much longer to diagnose the problem and begin treatment.
UPDATE: Just last week, Tom the manatee returned home after being released to the wild in Brevard County. Way to go, SeaWorld!