The Turtle Hospital. Rescue, Rehab, Release.



Arrival Date November 22, 2023

Patient Profile

Name: Dancer

Species: Green Sea Turtle

Weight: 24 pounds

Reason for visit: Fibropapillomatosis (FP)

Location Found: Big Coppitt Key, FL

Status Report

11/22/23: The Turtle Hospital received a call of two sea turtles struggling to surface near Big Coppitt Key. Dancer and his fellow turtle friend Prancer were quickly brought to our facility and rehab staff got to work in stabilizing them. Dancer a young Green Sea Turtle, was sick with Fibropapillomatosis (FP) tumors causing him to be lethargic and low energy. Dancer along with his turtle friend Prancer will rest easy today in their hospital tanks and receive lots of supportive care from our rehab staff. 

01/23/24: Dancer has been steadily improving since November. He continues to receive regular diagnostics to monitor his status, along with medications and a well balanced diet to build his strength. Dancer will receive an exam in the coming days to see if he is ready for his first tumor removal surgery. In the meantime, rehab staff will continue to support Dancer in his journey and provide the best care. 

02/20/24: Today Dr. Norton, our resident veterinarian, will perform surgery on Dancer. He will focus on removing some tumors on his rear left flipper and tail. This will help Dancer be a bit more comfortable when swimming in his hospital tank. Dancer will later travel to Miami to see Dr. Karpinski, a veterinary ophthalmologist who has helped many of our sea turtles in the past. She will work to remove some of the Fibropapillomatosis (FP) tumors located on Dancers eyes to help improve his vision. 

02/26/24: After a busy day of traveling to Miami from Marathon Island in the Florida Keys, to undergoing surgery. Dancer is resting comfortably in his temporary hospital tank with Dr. Karpinski who reports the surgery was very successful. Dancer will return to The Turtle Hospital once he has recovered and ready for the long drive back down. Rehab staff will continue his postoperative care by applying eye medicated eye drops to help his eyes heal and prevent infection. 

03/07/24: Recovering from Fibropapillomatosis (FP) is a long journey. Those sick with this illness will undergo many surgeries to remove the tumors. Dancer has done great through his first two surgeries and today will have another to remove the masses located on his neck, abdomen, and a large tumor located on his front left flipper. Rehab staff will be by his side throughout to monitor his care and be ready with a comfortable hospital tank for Dancer to recover in after. Good luck today Dancer!

03/21/24: Dancer is doing so well with each surgery. Rehab staff report he has been quick to stabilize and continues to work hard to beat this disease. Today Dancer is scheduled for another surgery this morning, he along with other turtle patients today will have a few of their Fibropapillomatosis (FP) tumors removed to help make them more comfortable. Dr. Norton plans to remove masses on his front flippers and other smaller masses on his abdomen. 

06/01/24: It has been a busy few months for Dancer. He has done an amazing job through his many surgeries and being patient with the rehab staff for exams and treatments. Today we have incredible news to share. Dancer is tumor free!! Now the waiting game begins, as Dancer is now in “Observation Phase”. This phase means the rehab staff will monitor his bloodwork closely and he will receive more frequent physical exams to watch if any tumors grow back. If no tumors return Dancer will then just need to pass his “Swim Test” before being approved to be released back into the wild. This is an exciting time for Dancer and we hope you are celebrating at home just as we are to have this great news for him. Keep up the hard work Dancer, you’ll be back in the ocean soon.

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