The Turtle Hospital. Rescue, Rehab, Release.


On January 18 our hospital received an 18 lb juvenile green sea turtle from Pinellas County. This little green was found in the muddy shallows near the mangroves by a person out kyaking. The initial triage was done at Clearwater aquarium before transfer to our facility and came to us with the name MJ. No wonder this turtle tried to strand on land in the mud. It arrived emaciated, covered in tumors, and leech eggs. Since MJ has external tumors we know this turtle has the Fibropapilloma virus which affects his species mostly and 50% of our turtles come in with the virus. MJ’s eyes also have blocked vision as a result of tumors growing on them. Once I was able to review MJ’s blood work it was evident he had gone for a while without food and had a very low red blood cell count. Due to MJ’s poor blood chemistries we will first need to strengthen him up and get the red blood cell up before we can do laser surgery to remove the tumors. MJ is on antibiotics due to infection and is already eating for us! It took a little work but MJ warmed up to the idea of hospital food which is fish, squid, and romaine lettuce. Let’s hope the best for this little one to get strong fast so we can perform surgery to save his eyes before the tumors have a chance to grow any more. Mj is in the right place to get the proper care needed.

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