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Health & Science

Seattle Otter Treated For Asthma After Exposure To Wildfire Smoke

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Mishka is doing fine. He's a year-old otter at the Seattle Aquarium who's been diagnosed with asthma, which may have been aggravated by recent smoke from wildfires in the skies of Seattle. Local otters have been extinct around Seattle for 40 years. The ones they bring in from Alaska may be especially sensitive to environmental changes.

Sarah Perry, an aquarium trainer, is teaching Mishka to use an asthma inhaler by putting food on the tip and encouraging the otter to push his nose into it and take a deep breath. We want to make this as fun as possible, Dr. Lesanna Lahner of the aquarium told Seattle's KING-TV. Any kind of medical behavior you're training, you want to make sure that it's nice and positive. Mishka seems to be learning the behavior that will help keep him going, but can he be trained to fill out health care insurance forms? Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.