Deworming medication next for J50, veterinarians say

Deworming medication next for J50, veterinarians say
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WATCH: Veterinarians deworming medication may help the ailing southern resident orca, J50, following last weekend’s successful delivery of antibiotics.

Veterinarians say they will try to administer a deworming medication to an ailing southern resident orca, J50, following last weekend’s successful delivery of antibiotics.

The antibiotics were given via dart injection on Sunday.

It was performed by Dr. Martin Haulena, a veterinarian with the Vancouver Aquarium.

Dr. Haulena says it was a difficult task that was weeks in the making.

“You’re trying to administer a very large, heavy dart to an animal that’s small relative to other animals that are surrounding her, an animal that doesn’t surface for very long at all, and when she does, barely comes over the surface, and she’s moving,” he said.

The dose was successful – Dr. Haulena estimates about half to two-thirds made it into J50.

It comes after a first dose of antibiotics was given in early August.

Over the weekend, concern mounted after J50 was not seen among J-pod, which returned from the waters off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Previously, J50, also named Scarlet, was seen lagging about a kilometer behind most of the pod, struggling to keep up.

“The objective information we do have on body conditions strongly suggests that animals that have gotten to her level of nutritional status, that look the same as her, have passed away,” Dr. Haulena said.

He says that it’s hard to know at this point if she’ll recover fully or if she’ll live with a chronic condition for the rest of her life.

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