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You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

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The term seal finger is used to describe a painful infection of the fingers following the handling of seals or seal skins. This condition is also known as Sealer's finger, blubber-finger and spekk-finger


The cause is thought to be a mycoplasma. Infection is thought to enter the finger through a break in the surface of the skin, such as a small cut.

The signs of seal finger are an extremely painful cellulitis involving the finger which occurs within a few days of handling seals or seal skins. The finger swells, becomes taut and shiny in appearance, and the tissue becomes soft.

Severe disability of the affected digit may result. Also, the infection may recur once a patient is infected. 


Diagnosis is based upon the clinical signs and history. Isolation of mycoplasma may be possible from the infected tissues.


In the past amputation of the affected finger was performed. However, nowadays there are reports that antibiotic treatment with the following has been successful :

  • Tetracyclines


The infection is usually localised to the site of initial entry. Prognosis for the patient is good.


Updated October 2013