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North American river otter released after four-month recovery

May 24, 2019
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

A male North American river otter was recently released from the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife following a nearly four-month recovery for a broken leg. The otter was released to a remote location near Punta Gorda.

The otter first arrived at the wildlife hospital in critical condition on Feb. 7. It was rescued on the side of the road by a passing motorist in Port Charlotte and taken to the Peace River Wildlife Center before being transferred to CROW. The otter was likely struck by a vehicle and arrived in a comatose state after suffering head trauma, a fractured femur and being overheated.

The team of veterinarians worked through the night to control his blood pressure, temperature and neurological status so he was able to have surgery. After a few days, the otter stabilized. He was then taken for surgery for his broken femur at Blue Pearl Veterinary Hospital in Fort Myers. Dr. Jason Eisele placed a plate and screws to stabilize the broken bone. A second surgery was needed a few weeks later after the otter re-injured his leg.

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The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife recently released a North American river otter.

"Wildlife always presents challenges when recovering from injuries," Dr. Kyle Abbott, a veterinary intern at CROW and one of the veterinarians who worked to save the otter's life, said. "For this active adult otter, the challenge was keeping his activity level restricted enough to allow his injury to heal."

The surgeries were successful and after nearly four months since his accident, the otter was able to be released.

"It is amazing anytime we get to return an animal to the wild," Abbott said. "But, this otter was a special case in the sense that he had a lot of obstacles to overcome."



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