Seal Pup has a Flipper Amputated

A three week old grey seal pup is recuperating at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary after surgery to remove a severely wounded rear flipper.

In only the second such operation performed on a rescued seal pup in the UK, Paul Riley (a director at Head & Head vets in Helston) amputated the flipper after discovering that all bar one of the metatarsal bones were not just broken, but were actually necrotic and starting to slough out of the wound.

Click here to see a large version of this photo.
Kerplunk having the operation
Kerplunk - Photo by Michelle Robinson Clement Paul examined Kerplunk on arrival at the sanctuary and initially prescribed antibiotics and pain relief whilst she stabilised enough to undergo sedation for X-rays. The injury is believed to have been inflicted by an adult seal and resulted in the unfortunate female pup - since christened "Kerplunk" - having to be rescued from Crackington Haven in Cornwall.

"She was about two weeks old when picked up by members of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue group, and apart from the damaged flipper was in otherwise good shape," said the Seal Sanctuary´s Animal Care Leader Tamara Cooper.
"We had her on antibiotics and painkillers for a couple of days while we washed and cleaned her wound, and initially it was hoped her flipper would heal."

Only after X-ray was the full extent of the damage revealed, and the conclusion reached that amputation was the best course.

Luckily for Kerplunk, it was also Paul Riley who successfully performed the first such procedure on a pup called Silkie back in 2001.
Kerplunk "Silkie managed to adapt so well to life with just one rear flipper that we were eventually able to return her to the wild," said Tamara.

Kerplunk´s operation went well and she is now convalescing in a cubicle in the Sanctuary´s indoor hospital.

If all goes well she will transfer to an outdoor pool in a few weeks time and could be fit enough to go free again by next spring.

Press Release issued by the Cornish Seal Sanctuary
For more details, please contact Georgina Shannon on 01326 221361
Issue Date: 12th October 2015