Animal Rescue Update: Tom Sawyer

National Aquarium Animal Rescue's third seal patient of 2021 continues to do well.

National Aquarium Animal Rescue's third seal patient of 2021, a juvenile grey seal nicknamed Tom Sawyer, is doing well and making progress. When he arrived at the Animal Care and Rescue Center in April, Tom was suffering from an eye ulcer, lungworm infection, and injuries to his flipper and mouth.

According to Rehabilitation Manager Kate Shaffer, the team's initial concern was stabilizing Tom and treating his lungworm infection. With that infection now clear and his eye and flipper fully healed, they have turned their attention to his tooth and jaw injuries. Fortunately, these issues are not preventing him from eating on his own and he's been putting away just over 8 pounds of fish a day. Capelin seems to be his favorite.

"The Animal Health team took sedated radiographs of his jaw," Kate said, "and we are working with a veterinary dental specialist to further assess the extent of his injuries. He is receiving medications to address any pain or discomfort he may be experiencing."

Two National Aquarium Animal Rescue Team hold an injured grey seal in towels on a metal table prior to a medical exam.

Although the team is being careful to avoid giving Tom any enrichment items that could worsen his injuries if he chews or bites on them, Kate says he enjoys playing with balls, figuring out puzzle feeders and getting ice in his enclosure.

Tom Sawyer was rescued in Delaware on April 19 in coordination with the Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute. Earlier this year, the Aquarium rehabilitated and released two seals, grey seal pup Eloise and juvenile harp seal Stuart Little. The National Aquarium's seal rehabilitation activities are conducted under NOAA permit 18786-04.

Stay tuned for more updates about Tom!

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