About two weeks ago, a call was received from a family who had noticed a turtle floating in their backyard on Grassy Key. The Mazzucchi family had just been to the Turtle Hospital that morning to see what the center was all about, little did they know their knowledge would be put to use later that night. Rehabber, Devin, received the call and was en route to pick up the turtle later to be called “Amethyst”.
Amethyst arrived at the hospital with numerous fibropapilloma tumors growing around her eyes and flippers. Staff wasn’t sure if Amethyst had complete vision in both eyes or not and began to evaluate her eye sight using simple reaction tests. Still it was unsure whether the turtle would ever be releasable. After a few days, Amethyst began to eat her food completely on her own and was able to find her food in her tank on her own. About a week later Amethyst was strong enough to endure an endoscope in order to check for internal tumors. She passed her test and her next one would be a two and half hour road trip to Ft Lauderdale to visit Dr. Karpinski, a veterinary opthamologist. Dr. Karpinski debulked both eye tumors and it was confirmed that Amethyst did in fact have complete vision in her right eye deeming her eventually releasable after her stay in rehab. By law, green sea turtles can be released as long as they have one fully functional eye. Their excellent sense of smell gives them the skills they need in order to find the seagrass beds they feast on.
Amethyst continues to show daily improvement. She is eating about 2% of her body weight and is actively swimming in a full tank of water. Special thanks goes out to the Mazzucchi family for applying what they had learned that day to save a life of one our flippered friends. Stay posted to our website for continuing updates on Amethyst and our other patients.
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