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A sea otter learned how to use an inhaler after developing asthma

Thanks to the inhaler, she's free to swim around with her friends.


Michelle Jaworski

Internet Culture

Posted on Sep 18, 2015   Updated on May 27, 2021, 11:07 pm CDT

A sea otter in Seattle is getting a little help from modern science after being diagnosed with a human illness.

Mishka, a 1-year-old sea otter at the Seattle Aquarium, had trouble breathing after being exposed to smoke from wildfires traveling to Seattle. She was subsequently diagnosed with asthma. The Seattle Aquarium believes it’s the first-ever case of a sea otter with asthma.

How do you treat it? With an inhaler, just like humans use. Mishka, with some assistance from her human trainers, has learned to take deep breaths into an inhaler with an attached mouthpiece specifically designed for sea otters.

While she’ll likely need the inhaler for the rest of her life, she’s now able to swim and explore just like any other sea otter thanks to it.

Screengrab via USA TODAY/YouTube

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*First Published: Sep 18, 2015, 10:54 am CDT