River otters at Downtown Aquarium get physical therapy

9NEWS @ 4. 10/6/2016

DENVER - Sometimes we all need a little help to feel our best.

5-month-old river otter sisters Olivia and Emilia are no different! 

The sisters were rescued from Alaska after being separated from their mother. They weren't healthy enough to be released into the wild, so they came to the Downtown Aquarium in Denver. 

At the aquarium, Olivia and Emilia get physical therapy to help with a condition they were born with: metabolic bone disease. The disease makes their bones very soft and curved, and you can see their back paws are a bit splayed. 

The otters work out with trainers often on an otter treadmill and various other obstacles to keep them healthy and strong.

"Their bones are curved in their back and front legs. so what we're doing with them is, we have a physical therapist and an orthopedic surgeon that come down monthly to work with them," Christine Montgomery with the Downtown Aquarium said, "She teaches us how to do different exercises with them so we keep those legs really strong, which helps them walk more normally and keep them upright. That's what we're looking for for these girls."

Emilia and Olivia are also kept company by newcomer Olive, a ten-month-old North American River Otter who was rescued from a Florida gas station. Olive had imprinted on humans so couldn't be released back into the wild. 

Otter Weekend at the aquarium is Oct. 8-9, and Olive will be on exhibit for special otter learning opportunities and other activities.

If the pups feel up to it, and can fit it in between their six daily feedings and subsequent naps, Olivia and Emilia will also be out and about - a real treat since they live behind the scenes at the aquarium. 

The Downtown Aquarium let us join a play session with all three otters. Check it out here.

Two other otters, Emmett and Slater, also call the aquarium home.

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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