SAN ANTONIO — A bottlenose dolphin at SeaWorld is recovering after receiving the first-ever cerebrospinal fluid tap on a live dolphin.

  • Dolphin was rescued in 2017
  • Treated for pneumonia
  • Recovering from spinal tap

Rimmy, a sub adult female bottlenose dolphin, was stranded at Sea Rim State Park, in Texas in September 2017. Marine Mammal Stranding Network (TMMSN) rescued her and took her to their Galveston center. TMMSN and SeaWorld San Antonio’s animal care team treated her for multiple ailments, including pneumonia.

She couldn’t be released back into the wild due to her need for long-term medical care. In order to find her a permanent home, veterinarians had to perform a spinal tap to rule out a bacterial infection of the central nervous system or brain. This procedure had never been attempted on a live dolphin.

SeaWorld says the procedure was a success. It was determined that Rimmy does not have an infection in her central nervous system.

“The expertise and creativity to devise new ways to treat marine animals is a testament to the extraordinary lengths our teams will go to preserve the life of every animal,” said Dr. Steve Osborn, a senior veterinarian at SeaWorld San Antonio. “Working in collaboration with experts in the fields of neurology and anesthesia, we were able to successfully extract cerebrospinal fluid from a live cetacean for the very first time.”

Rimmy is receiving care at SeaWorld San Antonio while NOAA Fisheries tries to find her a permanent home.

Photo of Rimmy, a bottlenose dolphin, recovering (SeaWorld San Antonio)
Photo of Rimmy, a bottlenose dolphin, recovering (SeaWorld San Antonio)