The Turtle Hospital. Rescue, Rehab, Release.



Arrival Date: December 31, 2023

Patient Profile

Name: Sid

Species: Green Sea Turtle

Weight: 18 pounds

Reason for visit: Fibropapillomatosis (FP)

Location Found: Transfer patient from Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience, St. Augustine, FL

Status Report

01/18/24: The Volusia Turtle Patrol team responded to a call of a Green Sea Turtle struggling to surface. Dubbed Sid by his rescuer, he was quickly taken in for stabilization at the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience in St. Augustine, Florida. Staff performed initial diagnostics to understand Sid’s health status and supportive care to help him rest more comfortably in his hospital tank. Diagnostics showed Sid was sick with Fibropapillomatosis (FP), a disease that causes tumors of their soft tissue both externally and internally. This led the rescue team to understand why he was lethargic and in need of more care. The Turtle Hospital is a leading organization in the treatment of Fibropapillomatosis (FP) and ready to help Sid in his long road to recovery of a tumor free life. Upon arrival to our facility Sid was very stressed, but our rehab staff is wonderful at ensuring all sea turtles have what they need to adjust to their new hospital tank. Sid’s hospital tank was outfitted with a privacy shade and housed in a hospital tank away from the public for additional comfort. 

02/02/24: Rehab staff report Sid has not only been improving but is also quite feisty. Sid is still a little sensitive to being away from the ocean, his tank will continue to have the privacy shade as we want all our turtles to feel safe as they heal. Dr. Norton performed an exam this week to see if he is ready for his first surgery. Sid has various medium to large size Fibropapillomatosis (FP) tumors on his body and even eyes. Sid will be scheduled to visit Dr. Karpinski, a veterinary ophthalmologist in Miami, to have the tumors near his eyes removed. The Turtle Hospital rehab staff will continue supportive care for Sid in preparation of his upcoming trip to Miami and for when he returns for post operative care to recover here on Marathon Island. 

03/22/24: This month Sid has undergone two surgeries for the removal of more Fibropapillomatosis (FP) tumors. Dr. Norton removed these masses from his front flippers, shoulders, under flipper region, and rear flippers. Rehab staff had some trouble with Sid though, this feisty little guy did not want to keep his bandages on after surgery. After a few repeat banaging, Sid finally decided he was ok with wearing the silly wrapping and he was rewarded with mackerel as a yummy treat. Sid has also put on some weight gaining about 2 pounds since his initial arrival. Great job Sid, we are so proud of your hard work to become tumor free.

04/18/24: This month Sid will have surgery to remove a few regrowth tumors. Fibropapillomatosis (FP) is an aggressive disease, while our veterinarian Dr. Norton does his best to remove the tumors in a timely manner. It’s a bit of a battle to remove them faster than some may appear or reappear. As patients such as Sid continue to improve, Fibropapillomatosis (FP) takes advantage of this by also doing its own form of regrouping to attack the healthy tissue. Due to this style of attack from the disease, patients visiting The Turtle Hospital may have an extended stay to ensure every single tumor is removed and are healthy to return to the wild. We are thankful to have an incredible rehab staff who look after our turtle patients such as Sid. It is with their dedication and support that Sid will never be alone through his journey and will continue to cheer him on. Stay tuned for more updates on Sid.

05/02/24: We are happy to report Sid’s surgeries were a success! Dr. Norton removed a few uncomfortable masses located on his neck, jaw, and front flippers. Today Sid received a post operative exam and found that while Sid’s surgical sites are healing nicely, there is some sensitivity found near his eyes. Rehab staff will provide additional medication to prevent infection. Sid’s left eye unfortunately has a small regrowth appearing. Since our turtles must have good vision to be released into the wild, Sid will be seen again by Dr. Karpinski to treat this. 

05/17/24: The rehab team has decided to give Sid an upgrade to his hospital tank today. Sid has shown significant improvement through his stay here at The Turtle Hospital, and will be swimming in the larger hurricane tanks. This will allow Sid to build up more strength by swimming longer distances within the tank, and a change of scenery as this tank is located at the front of our premises near resident Kemp’s Ridley Bender. Sid has been showing off how fast he can swim, doing “Zoomies” across. Great job Sid, we are so happy you are improving. 

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