Hana the white-sided dolphin has ‘breakthrough’ surgery at Vancouver Aquarium

VANCOUVER — One of two Pacific white-sided dolphins at the Vancouver Aquarium is in serious condition after groundbreaking emergency surgery for a gastrointestinal disorder.

Aquarium veterinarian Dr. Martin Haulena says that while the procedure was successful, 21-year-old Hana being watched around the clock.

He says the normally energetic dolphin was listless earlier this week and that a team of experts flown in from across the United States confirmed she had gastrointestinal problems.

The cause is not yet known, but Haulena says it is a rapid and life-threatening condition among animals both in captivity and in the wild.

As Hana’s condition deteriorated yesterday evening, the experts decided to try surgery using general anesthesia, which the aquarium says has never been done before on a dolphin or whale.

Haulena describes the surgery as a breakthrough in veterinary care and says such a procedure would have been considered impossible only a few years ago.

The Canadian Press