British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (photo: Steve Marsh)
British Divers Marine Rescue


2007-10-29 15:55:40

Common seal - East Sands, St Andrews

Caroline and I met Donna Sutherland at the seal at about 12:45pm. Donna had been doing a great job of keeping people and dogs away, and on the whole, most people were very understanding.

The seal itself was a young male, likely to be one of this summer's pups and was in reasonable body condition. It had no signs of external injury apart from slightly scuffed claws. It's respiration rate was 12-15bpm, no coughing was noticed by myself, but it was possible he had one episode that Donna witnessed, but nothing major on this front. We caught him up to examine him further, I listened to his lungs and this all sounded fine, his heart rate was elevated (as to be expected) and his temperature was 37.1c. On the basis of this, I decided that he didn't need to be transported to Middlebank (SSPCA) at this point, so we moved him down the coast to Kingsbarns beach (adjacent to the 2nd or 3rd hole on the golf course).

On arrival at Kingsbarns I tubed him and administered about 100-150ml of lectade on the assumption that he may have been dehydrated (he had good tear production though). We took him to a quiet, sheltered cove and opened the seal bag. After a few minutes he climbed out and headed down to the water, and swam off and appeared to be foraging straight away (although it was difficult to be sure, and I would be surprised if he was after his ordeal!) We watched as he swam out to some rocks offshore, surfacing at regular intervals, and he appeared to be displaying normal behaviour.

I'll check down at Kingsbarns beach over the next few days to see if he returns, and we chatted to a few local people as well who are going to keep an eye out.

Cameron McPherson
BDMLR Consultant Vet

UPDATE - 4th November - Pup now rescued

I received a call from Bob Pert at about 11:30am on Saturday that a seal pup had been seen on East Sands beach in St Andrews. My first thought was that it was probably the same seal, but considering we'd relocated him to Kingsbarns, it was difficult to be sure. On arriving at the beach, this pup was in almost exactly the same place as last weeks, and lo and behold, it was the same pup (we recognised him from a small lesion on his right nostril). He had lost a fair amount of condition though, and had a paroxysm of coughing while we were observing him. He was still quite active and moved quite freely on the beach to get away from us, but auscultation of the lungs revealed a harshness that was not present last week, he was also palpably thinner, and had a temperature of 37.7. All of this, combined with the fact that fireworks were likely to be set off on the beach that night, I decided to transfer him to Middlebank. We were met there by Alexis and Colin (who I hadn't met before, but he really knows his stuff), and they were going to instigate further treatment after he had settled in.