At the 2014 North American Veterinary Conference, held in Orlando, Florida, Joe Gaydos presented a paper on diseases in river otters.
River otters were nearly eliminated over much of their home range, but have made comebacks. They can be found in freshwater habitats ranging from alpine lakes to rivers, streams, and swamps. From California to Alaska they sometimes occupy a nearshore marine habitat, where they play an important ecological role. They depend on fresh water for drinking.
River otters are host to various bacteria, viruses, fungi, and internal and external parasites. Some of these can cause disease in humans and domestic animals.
River otters are also sentinels to evaluate environmental contaminants including heavy metals, hydrocarbons and persistent organic pollutants.
The paper includes findings on successful anesthesia and capture methods.