Unna the Killer Whale Still Under Intensive Care
UPDATE (12/8/2015): The SeaWorld team continues work with experts to evolve Unna’s medical treatment plan and has seen some indication that the treatment may be having a positive effect. While her health challenges from a resistant strain of Candida continue, the team is cautiously optimistic that she is on the road to recovery. Still, she remains under 24/7 care in serious condition.
After Unna’s infection was unresponsive to conventional therapies, SeaWorld veterinarians developed a novel treatment plan earlier this fall in collaboration with leading experts around the country. Initial urinalysis results following the treatments were encouraging, but subsequent lab work showed she hadn’t fully cleared the infection.
The veterinary team has continually explored innovative treatment options and evolved therapies in consultation with medical partners with whom the team works frequently in ensuring the best healthcare for the animals in their care. Partners have offered access to specialized equipment to help gauge progress and advise next steps in treatment.
“Our team is committed to providing the best care possible for animals in need, whether in the wild or in human care, and we’re leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to help Unna clear this infection,” said SeaWorld San Antonio Vice President of Zoological Operations, Chris Bellows. “We greatly appreciate our medical partners who are dedicating their deep expertise to these efforts, as well as our friends and family who have been extraordinarily supportive of our work.”
Unna remains a proactive participant in her health exams, and has learned new husbandry behaviors that make it easier for the team to treat her.
Like many patients being treated for disease, her condition may continue to fluctuate as she works to fully clear this infection. Our team remains focused intently on helping Unna get well, and we will update friends and fans on any further significant milestones.
Intensive efforts to help Unna overcome a persistent strain of Candida continue as the adult killer whale remains in serious-to-guarded condition.
Last week, SeaWorld’s veterinary team developed a first-of-its-kind treatment plan for Unna in collaboration with leading medical experts across the country. The therapy involved administering a medication previously not used in killer whales. In the most recent lab work following the treatment, some of Unna’s results show an encouraging trend, although her disease at this point still remains a concern.
Like some humans who take the medication, Unna has experienced some side effects, such as an intermittent loss of appetite. The team is currently supplementing her with fluids.
Although much of Unna’s around-the-clock care is focused on vigilant monitoring and administering medications, her SeaWorld family continues to interact with her as she feels up to it – and she’s still up for the occasional back rub. This type of continued engagement and interaction is a positive sign and also provides encouragement for Unna’s dedicated team.
In the coming days, staff will continue to conduct medical tests to gauge her progress and provide companionship. As they work tirelessly to ensure Unna has the best medical care possible, they have appreciated the outpouring of support from Unna’s friends and fans.