A shark at Minnesota Zoo is the first of its kind to receive botox in a attempt to help relieve the shark’s scoliosis. The veterinary care staff reached out to Charles Crutchfield III, M.D., and Crutchfield Dermatology (Eagan, MN) to properly treat the shark by injecting the stiff muscles lining the spinal cord with Botox.
Botox can be used to treat a range of issues in humans, including excessive sweating and migraines. However, it has never been used to treat a spinal issue in a shark.
“Dr. Rachel Thompson, the Minnesota Zoo's veterinarian, and I planned out the procedure, and I assisted her in the administration of Botox to the stiffened muscles along his spine." says Crutchfield.
The injection has helped improve the shark's spine curvature. The trial test will help professionals understand how sharks and other animals respond to human treatments.
"I was delighted and optimistic when the care staff at the Minnesota Zoo asked if I would help administer Botox to Haps, the shark, to help improve his condition of scoliosis. Over the past 18 years, I've administered almost a million units of Botox to humans, but this was the very first shark. In fact, by all accounts, Haps was the very first shark ever treated with Botox in the United States.” says Crutchfield.
The Minnesota Zoo professionals and Crutchfield say there is still a lot to learn about sharks and are making sure Haps is healing properly.