Sea otter with asthma trained to use inhaler in Seattle

SEATTLE (KGO) -- A 1-year-old asthmatic sea otter at the Seattle Aquarium is learning a new skill -- Mishka is learning how to use an inhaler to help her breathe better.

Staff at the aquarium noticed she was having trouble breathing when smoke from the eastern Washington wildfires moved into the Seattle area last month.

Mishka's trainer uses food to teach the 1-year-old to push her nose on the inhaler and take a deep breath. The medication in the otter's inhaler is exactly the same as what humans use.

KING-TV reports that Dr. Lesanna Lahner diagnosed the otter and says reduced genetic diversity could have contributed to Mishka's diagnosis. Sea otters went extinct in Washington and 40 years ago, Alaskan sea otters were brought south and reintroduced to the coast.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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