Seattle Aquarium trains otter to use inhaler for asthma

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Courtesy KNG-TV

SEATTLE (September 18, 2015) — The Seattle Aquarium has diagnosed a sea otter with asthma and is training the animal to use an inhaler.

KING-TV reports (http://kng5.tv/1iiQLrX) Dr. Lesanna Lahner diagnosed the otter, named Mishka, after she was having trouble breathing when smoke from wildfires was in the Seattle area.

Mishka’s trainer uses food to teach the 1-year-old to push her nose on the inhaler and take a deep breath. The medication in the otter’s inhaler is exactly the same as what humans use.

Lahner says reduced genetic diversity could have contributed to Mishka’s diagnosis. Sea otters went extinct in Washington and 40 years ago, Alaskan sea otters were brought south and reintroduced to the coast.

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