On June 8, the NEW Zoo located near Green Bay, WI announced the deaths of three North American River Otters saying a mother and four of her pups were sickened by a rapidly-progressing gastrointestinal problem. Two of the pups were saved, while the mother and two pups did not survive.
Today, thanks to the work of the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory we now know that salmonella poisoning was the culprit that caused the otter deaths.
According to veterinarian, Dr. Tracey Gilbert, the strain of salmonella involved was one that otters would typically survive after experiencing symptoms for a few days. However, the mother’s body was under unusual stress as she was feeding the four pups, making her vulnerable to the infection. The strain is resistant to all but two types of antibiotics.
NEW Zoo officials say that the surviving otter pups are doing well and there is no sign of salmonella infection among any other animals at the zoo.