In the spirit of the famous Beatles song "Hey Jude", this young harbor seal continues to recovery bravely at The Marine Mammal Center after enduring a rather severe shark bite to her left flank. Jude was found alone and suffering on the sand at Delmonte Beach 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 Jude's condition was, and they also discovered that she had a severe case of lung worm, a parasitic infestation, and a serious pneumonia, both confirmed with extensive radio graphs. "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 lung worm 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, are both cutting-edge and somewhat routine. But, one perhaps more unusual treatment involves a rather sweet solution ~ honey! For thousands of years, ancient indigenous people have long 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 another shark bite! Gupta was successfully rehabilitated and released back to the sea. In Jude's case, it will also take some time for her wounds to heal, using a combination of antibiotics and honey, and for her lungs to improve. But, Jude is eating well and making progress. Her body is responding to the powerful combination of veterinary treatments, and it is hoped that soon, just like the song says, Jude will be able "to make it, better..."
Updated: September 9, 2011
Good news to report - Jude and two sea lions, Calypso and Niesen, were released back to the ocean today at Point Lobos State Reserve in Monterey County!