SeaWorld’s Latest Development: Custom-Fitted Brace for Whale with Scoliosis!

There are some new developments at SeaWorld – and it’s not a new show or attraction! Veterinarians and animal experts from SeaWorld are trying to help a whale with severe scoliosis by using a custom-fitted brace and physical therapy.  
The female whale, nicknamed “300,” is one of several whales who beached themselves back in May in the Florida Keys. After she was rescued and sent to SeaWorld Orlando’s Cetacean Rehabilitation Facility for care, 300 developed scoliosis, which keeps her from swimming normally (OrlandoSentinel.com). 
Dr. Philip Meinhardt, an orthopedic spine surgeon with Orlando-based Jewett Orthopedic Clinic was called in with Scot Saunders, president of Orlando’s ABC Prosthetics and Orthotics, to create the brace for 300. 
“The way this brace works,” Dr Meinhardt stated, “you have to apply tension in certain areas to try to correct this deformity,” (OrlandoSentinel.com). When asked how 300 is reacting to the brace and physical therapy three times a week, senior staff veterinarian at SeaWorld Scott Gearhart said she “has a fantastic attitude,” and is “extremely docile,” (OrlandoSentinel.com).
In a press release last week, SeaWorld said “this is the first time this type of custom-fitted orthopedic device has been used on a large whale,” (OrlandoSentinel.com). 300 is 1,000 pounds! 
Gearhart said he would “like to see progress within the next two or three months. If the brace doesn’t work, surgery could be an option,” but he hopes to avoid that, (OrlandoSentinel.com). The goal is to straighten 300’s spine and restore the use of her tail. 
To read the full article about 300 and the custom-fitted orthopedic brace, click HERE.

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