May 05, 2022
Vancouver, B.C. The Vancouver Aquarium and partner organizations successfully used SonoMotion’s
Break Wave technology to remove kidney stones from a harbour seal recently – a procedure that has
never been attempted before on this species. Hermes, a 23-year-old adult male seal, is doing well.
Caregivers at the Vancouver Aquarium noted that Hermes showed signs of abdominal discomfort and an
ultrasound examination confirmed multiple kidney stones in both kidneys. This condition is not only
uncomfortable for the seal, but it is potentially life-threatening. Because of the unique anatomy of seal
kidneys, stones cannot usually be removed using standard endoscopic techniques.
“Following our diagnosis, we contacted the urology team at the Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) headed
by Dr. Ben Chew. He suggested that we try a brand-new non-invasive technology that is undergoing clinical
trials at VGH and which fragments stones by creating standing stress waves within the stones,” said
Vancouver Aquarium Director of Animal Health Dr. Martin Haulena
Dr. Haulena indicated that that this procedure would not have been possible without Dr. Chew’s expert
guidance as well as other leaders in the field. Dr. Oren Levy, Dr. Doug Corl and Paul Fasolo, all from
SonoMotion, volunteered their time, expertise and the Break Wave technology. Dr. Jean Buckley, also
from VGH, made key contributions and performed the Break Wave procedure on Hermes’ left kidney
while a second team performed fluoroscopy-guided endoscopy on the right kidney.
“We were pleased to see that Break Wave technology successfully broke up several stones in the left
kidney which was clearly evident in real time.” said Dr. Haulena. “Hermes has recovered well from the
procedure and is extremely comfortable. A follow-up CT exam will help guide further treatment.
Videos and Photos can be seen here.
For more information:
Communications Manager, Vancouver Aquarium