Poorly sea turtle with massive tumour rescued and nursed back to health

Incredible pictures of a poorly sea turtle with a massive TUMOUR being nursed back to health will melt you heart.

Chica, the sea turtle with a large tumour on her jaw

Chica, the sea turtle with a large tumour on her jaw

Chica, a green sea turtle, was found floating on the surface of the water of the coast of Boca Chica channel, in the Florida Keys.

The poorly reptile had an enormous tumour growing from the right side of her jaw, and other tumours on her eyes and front flippers.

The little turtle was suffering from fibropapilloma – a common condition in green sea turtles – but the size of the tumours meant Chica needed urgent medical attention.

After being spotted by a local resident, Turtle Hospital were called to come to Chica’s rescue.

Bette Zirkelback, 50, the hospital’s manager, said: “Our rehabilitation specialist, Matt Brochhausen, responded to the call, and went to pick Chica up in the Turtle Hospital ambulance.

Chica the sea turtle undergoes surgery to remove the tumour from the surgical team

Chica the sea turtle undergoes surgery to remove the tumour from the surgical team

“After checking Chica’s vital signs, she was brought to the hospital for treatment.

“The next morning Chica received a good bath and a soak in fresh water to kill any external parasites that may be on her exterior – next, Chica was placed in a hospital tank.

“The first step to treating sea turtles with fibropapilloma (FP) tumours at the Turtle Hospital is to take the turtle to our local hospital for a CT scan.

“FP tumours grow on the soft tissue of sea turtles, including the eyes, and sometimes the tumours internalise and grow on vital organs – CT scan gives us good images of the turtle’s lungs.

“If there are tumours on the lungs, the turtle has to be humanely euthanized as there’s no treatment.

Matt Brochhausen and Chica, the sea turtle with a large tumour on her jaw

Matt Brochhausen and Chica, the sea turtle with a large tumour on her jaw

“Luckily, we got some good news when Chica passed her CT with flying colours and there were no signs of internal tumours.

“Dr. Mader administered locals and removed the very large tumour on Chica’s jaw – he tumour weighed in at 938 grams!

“Chica’s head was bandaged to control bleeding and she was dry docked in the ER overnight – the next day Chica was returned to her hospital tank where she was carefully observed and given time to heal.

“Chica underwent a second tumour removal surgery where the remainder of her tumours were removed.

“Chica is recovering well, has a hearty appetite, and is a strong swimmer – she will remain at the Turtle Hospital for one year to be sure she does not regrow FP tumours.

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“Once Chica is finished her medications, she will be relocated to a 30,000 gallon tank with other green juvenile sea turtle, and year after Chica’s last surgery date she will be released back to the Florida Bay.”

The Turtle Hospital has been rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing sea turtles back into the wild for 30 years.

For more information visit www.turtlehospital.org