Oregon Coast Aquarium (OCAq) is saddened to announce the passing of beloved 35-year-old harbor seal Boots. After a recent endoscopy and biopsy revealed cancer in Boots’ esophagus, her caretakers determined her quality of life was at stake. After thorough evaluation and consideration, the decision was made to move forward with humane euthanasia.
The decision is never made lightly—when an animal under their care isn’t feeling well, staff make every effort to identify and remedy the cause, even implementing specialized methods like laser therapy and chiropractic care.
Boots first started showing discomfort while eating in the early spring, prompting a series of diagnostic tests and a tentative treatment plan. Unfortunately, her symptoms didn’t improve, and subsequent tests revealed severe ulcers in Boots’ esophagus. A biopsy was sent away for additional testing, but the ulcers themselves presented an immediate risk of rupturing.
“It was a hard call to make, but the right one,” said Brittany Blades, OCAq’s Curator of Marine Mammals. “We wanted there to be as little stress as possible for Boots, and saying goodbye while she could still participate in her own care was important.” Surrounded by those who loved and cared for her, Boots fell asleep for the last time.