The veterinary management of marine mammals presents a whole host of unique and challenging problems, yet they remain incredibly satisfying to work with. Few other animals capture the human imagination as they do, while also stirring deep emotions and raising complex ethical conflicts.
Marine mammals play a critical role in maintaining the health of global marine ecosystems. However they now face multiple threats, sadly often these are anthropogenic, and increasingly work is being done to try and conserve this charismatic and diverse group of animals.
The aim of this session is to provide an overview of the type of veterinary marine mammal work being conducted in the UK. Veterinary representatives from the charity ‘British Divers Marine Life Rescue’ will discuss their time working with pinnipeds and cetaceans. The session will focus on the UK’s two most abundant seal species, the grey (Halichoerus grypus) and the common (Phoca vitulina) seal whose pups often need veterinary care and rehabilitation. We will discuss common medical and surgical complaints in these species and how they can be managed in a rehabilitation setting.
We will also discuss the emergency approach to a stranded cetacean (porpoise, dolphin or whale) and consider the controversial topic of methods of euthanasia in large whales.