SeaWorld San Diego's Dottie the Dolphin, along with senior vet Dr. Todd Schmitt, and Dr. Roger Sur of the UCSD Comprehensive Kidney Stone Center, were featured on today's Good Morning America. The live interview took place from SeaWorld's Rocky Point Preserve, and focused on the extraordinary lengths the park took to preserve the life of one of its dolphins.
Dottie, a 23-year-old Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, went into kidney failure due complications from kidney stones, but thanks to a team of highly-skilled “human” doctors from UC San Diego Medical Center, her life was saved through medical procedures never before performed on a dolphin.
With assistance from Dr. Schmitt and SeaWorld animal care team, Dr. Sur, who had never conducted a medical procedure on a dolphin, performed a cystosopy in SeaWorld's surgical facility. With Dottie's condition still critical, the human/veterinary medical team decided to attempt to break up the kidney stones. The following day, Dr. Sur performed the first ever endoscopic laser lithotripsy procedure on a dolphin and broke up Dottie's kidney stones.
Dottie's recovery took several months, but she has regained the nearly 40 pounds that she lost during her illness. Dottie continues to be monitored through ultrasound, urinalysis and blood samples. She was recently returned to the interaction pools at Rocky Point Preserve following her recovery in the back area pools. SeaWorld veterinarians are happy to report that her kidneys are functioning very well and Dottie is glad to be back in her social group of dolphins and trainers.