SeaWorld Vets Rely on New Treatment to Help Killer Whale

SeaWorld veterinarians are utilizing an advanced medical therapy that, while common in human medicine, has never before been used in killer whales. The treatment is part of the intensive veterinary care for Unna, a killer whale battling a resistant strain of Candida. Unna was diagnosed in September with a suspected infection from this fungus. SeaWorld’s veterinary team has been caring for her around the clock. Unna’s medical team has partnered with top nephrologists, mycologists and other medical experts across the country in applying the latest advancements and therapies. After initial treatments including several anti-fungal medications did not produce significant clinical improvement, the team identified a next-generation anti-fungal medication that they believe could hold promise for Unna. While her prognosis is guarded, she continues to eat all her food each day, interacts with enrichment items in her pool and is very aware of her surroundings. Unna’s fungal levels have not responded well to conventional medications. Accordingly SeaWorld’s veterinarians are exploring an alternative medical therapy for her, which they began implementing today. Unna 12 The anti-fungal that will be used in Unna’s new medical treatment has been used intravenously for more than a decade to treat infections in humans. However, because there are no established protocols for administering this medication to a killer whale, the team is having to develop a novel approach to delivering the medication. “We appreciate the many kind thoughts, concern and support our fans have shared with us for Unna and the team that is caring for her around the clock,” said Chris Bellows, vice president of zoological operations at SeaWorld San Antonio. “The team will continue to monitor and assess Unna’s progress and remain cautiously optimistic for her prospects on this new therapy.” We will provide updates on her health here, and hope to have positive progress to report within the next week.

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