The Turtle Hospital. Rescue, Rehab, Release.


On September 3, Tim Hannah was out lobster hunting off Grassy Key and saw little Pup hanging out under a coral ledge. He thought it was odd that Pup didn’t swim away but thought he  just might be taking a rest. Twenty minutes later, when Tim swam by again, he took a closer look and saw that not only did Pup have tumors growing over his skin and eyes, but he seemed to be bleeding from the mouth. He rescued Pup from under the ledge and called us to receive permission to bring him on board. We of course said, “Yes, please and thank you, could you meet us at the nearest dock?” Once back at the hospital, 4lb Pup was x-rayed, given fluids, antibiotics, and allowed to rest overnight.

Pup had very large tumors growing over both eyes, and an extensive amount of tumors on both the front and rear flippers. He has since gone through two surgeries to remove these tumors. The first surgery removed tumors from around the neck, front flippers, and the right eye. Unfortunately, sometimes the tumors will grow over the pupil and prevent us from being able to save the eye. The second surgery removed tumors from the left eye, as well as the right rear flipper. It would be nice if we could remove all of the tumors at once, but due to some blood loss that may occur during surgery it is better to do them in stages so that the patient may recover and efficiently heal their wounds.

Pup has a few surgeries to go before he is tumor free, but we will be here helping him in-between surgeries to recover and gain strength for the next. Eventually, we hope that Pup will remain tumor free and be released into the wild to become a big, strong adult male sea turtle.

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