Otter with asthma is first case diagnosed in species, needs inhaler

(REUTERS) - An otter named Mishka at the Seattle Aquarium is the first ever of its species to be diagnosed with asthma and requires medication administered by inhaler every day, according to a report by Seattle’s KING 5 News.

The otter pushes her nose into a nozzle on the end of an asthma inhaler, originally designed for cats, then sucks out a treat placed there by her trainer and inhales a dose of asthma medication in the process. The medicine is the same as what’s used in inhalers to treat asthma in humans.

Mishka, a 1-year-old female otter who was born in the wild, had difficulty breathing during recent high levels of air pollution from forest fire smoke that blew over Seattle from eastern Washington state. It is not known whether Mishka’s asthma was originally caused by air pollution or a by lack of genetic diversity in Washington’s otter population.