Saturday, 2:15 PM
(Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration)
The seal headed back to the ocean after his trip to the dentist.
By Globe Staff
A seal that was rescued in January in Gloucester was released back to the sea today in Rhode Island after being nursed back to health and getting some needed dental work, The Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration said.
The dental patient
The male yearling hooded seal was rescued Jan. 17 by the Whale Center of New England and that day transferred to the aquarium's Seal Rescue Clinic. An examination found he was thin, moderately dehydrated, and had an elevated white blood cell count, the aquarium, which is located in Mystic, Conn., said in a statement.
The seal also had fractures in its teeth, which can be painful and lead to severe infection if left untreated. The aquarium contacted veterinary dental specialists from Tufts VETS in Walpole, Mass, and Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston, who removed two canines and one incisor.
"If not extracted, each tooth's pulp would have died, which would have led to the development of painful abscesses that could become infected," said Dr. Jean Joo, a veterinarian with Tufts VETS.
The seal received anesthesia, said aquarium spokeswoman Becky Giantonio. The seal also received five days of antibiotics. Since then, he has been eating well and gaining weight.
He was released at Blue Shutters Beach in Charlestown, R.I.