In the spirit of the famous Beatles song "Hey Jude," this young harbor seal recovered bravely at The Marine Mammal Center after enduring a rather severe shark bite to her left flank. Little Jude was found alone and suffering on the sand at Del Monte Beach near Monterey on August 15, 2011.
The injured pup was also barely able to drag her hind quarters, as a result of an additional bite-injury to her back flipper.
Rescue volunteers from the Center's Monterey Bay operations scooped her up quickly and began medical care. Upon arrival at The Marine Mammal Center's hospital headquarters in Sausalito, Jude received an admit exam which revealed just how precarious her condition was. They discovered that in addition to the shark bites, she also had a severe case of lungworms, a parasitic infestation, and a serious pneumonia, both confirmed with extensive X-rays.
"Jude's condition is particularly poignant, given she's only a young pup, just starting out on her own and recently weaned from her mother," explained Dr. Bill Van Bonn, Director of Veterinary Science at the Center. "She has much to overcome, given her bite wounds and antibiotic treatments for lungworm and pneumonia. We will also have to re-evaluate Jude's back flipper if it doesn't improve," added Dr. Van Bonn.
Jude's series of veterinary treatments helped give her a second chance at life. One of the more unusual treatments she received involved a rather sweet solution – honey! For thousands of years, indigenous people have known the power of honey in fighting off infection and promoting healing. The same is true at The Marine Mammal Center.
In fact, just last year a beloved northern elephant seal patient, named Gupta, also received the curative benefits of this amazing sweet treatment for a shark bite! Gupta was successfully rehabilitated and released back to the sea. In Jude's case, it took some time for her wounds to heal, with a combination of antibiotics and honey, and for her lungs to improve. But, Jude was eating well and made rapid progress while she was at the Center. Her body responded to the powerful combination of veterinary treatments, and just like the song says, Jude was able "to make it, better..."
On September 9, 2011, Jude and two sea lions, Calypso and Niesen, were released back to the ocean at Point Lobos State Reserve in Monterey County!
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