Rescued sea lion is off the hook and on the mend - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Rescued sea lion is off the hook and on the mend

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A sea lion rescued with a fishing gaff in its side is making strides at SeaWorld. Oscar is now eating 20 pounds of fish a day to make up for all the weight he lost.

It's been five days since Oscar was captured and brought to SeaWorld. It took almost two weeks before a crew was able to capture the 450-pound sea lion that had a fishing gaff stuck in his side.

"The hook actually must have gone into the skin and into the muscle but not into the actual body cavity. It was right on top of the kidney and there was concern that he might have damaged a kidney. But from what we can tell it's a big wound with a lot of infection under the skin and in the back muscle, but the kidneys seem intact," SeaWorld veterinarian Hendrik Nollens said.

The other concern was infection.

"We're really happy with how he's doing. He came in on Friday and at that point we stabilized him, made sure he was going to make it through the night. He was very dehydrated and a little underweight. We started him on an antibiotic course and actually the next morning he looked a lot better -- he was ready to eat, had a good appetite," Nollens said.

SeaWorld knew that if left uncared for, things didn't look good for Oscar.

"Depending on how his body reacted to that foreign body in it and the infection that started, it's quite possible his body would not have been able to deal with all the infection and it would have been his demise," SeaWorld senior animal care worker Kevin Robinson said.

Now that he's taking antibiotics, Oscar is on the road to recovery.

"He's eating great, he's getting his antibiotics and those are the two things that we're really gunning for. So he's right on track, exactly where we'd like an animal like this to be," Robinson said.

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