North American River Otter #19-0320
A young male North American River Otter was admitted to the hospital after being transferred from Peace River Wildife Center. The otter was hit by a vehicle while crossing the road in Port Charlotte, Florida. He suffered a fractured femur in his left rear leg.
When he arrived, he was obtunded and very warm. Otters have a thick coat of fur that can cause them to overheat when stressed, or in this case from the shock of the accident.
A critical 24 hours - Feb 08 2019 8:00 am
Upon intake, veterinarians immediately got to work to stabilize the injured otter. He was hyperthermic (overheated), so they placed a catheter and began administering fluids that were run through cold water to help cool him down. He was also given pain medications. A fan was kept blowing in the room and staff performed hourly checks of his vital signs throughout the night.
Catheter Removed, Activity Increasing - Feb 09 2019 3:45 pm
Just two days after being admitted, the otter has started to show signs of improvement. Veterinarians removed the catheter providing fluids and the otter was noted to be much more active, including biting at the enclosure door and seeking an exit any time the door is opened. Despite having to be assist-fed during the first 24 hours, the otter is now eating on its own. Surgery to address the fractured femur has been scheduled for Monday morning.
Headed to Surgery - Feb 11 2019 9:35 am
The otter was quiet but alert this morning. Veterinarians noted yesterday that he was an excellent candidate for surgery. Due to the complexity of the surgery needed for the otter, he was sedated and taken to Specialized Veterinary Services (Blue Pearl) in Fort Myers. Dr. Eisele (SVS/Blue Pearl) will be performing the surgery to place a plate that will stabilize the fracture.
Surgery - Feb 11 2019 2:30 pm
Dr. Eisele (SVS/Blue Pearl) placed a stainless steel bone plate with six screws to stabilize the fractured femur of the otter. The actual surgery took approximately 45 minutes, however with prepping the patient for surgery, pre-op and post-op radiographs, the total time was approximately three hours. After surgery, the otter was transported back to CROW where he will receive post-op care and rehabilitation.
Post-op Care - Feb 12 2019 10:41 am
Staff and students provided care throughout the night to ensure he recovered fully from the sedation and anesthesia. This morning, he was bright and alert, and was eating and drinking. Staff is also monitoring him to ensure that the surgery site is kept clean, a task that can be quite difficult for an otter.