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A veterinarian uses an electroporator on a sea turtle

A new device is helping our Sea Turtle Healing Center team care for patients with fibropapillomatosis.

We are happy to share that our Sea Turtle Healing Center is now even better equipped to rehabilitate local sea turtles. We were recently able to purchase a piece of specialized veterinary equipment to aid in the treatment of sea turtles who have fibropapillomatosis, or FP, thanks to a grant from the Sea Turtle Conservancy.

FP is a common, yet debilitating, disease that causes external and internal tumors to grow all over a sea turtle’s body. The condition is thought to be linked to water pollution and warmer temperatures. Although there is no cure for FP, tumors can be surgically removed. Our Healing Center is one of just a handful of facilities in the state that is able to rehabilitate patients with FP and perform tumor removal surgery.

The generous grant was used to purchase a piece of veterinary equipment that will be used as an alternative to traditional surgery. The device, called an electroporator, is designed to deliver electrotherapy into these tumors. Electrotherapy makes the tumors more permeable, allowing them to absorb even more chemotherapy and eventually causing the tumors to become necrotic and fall off.

Although electroporation is mostly used as a veterinary treatment in domestic animals such as cats and dogs, it is fairly new to sea turtles. The Healing Center is doing a study using this technology to try and improve sea turtle health and the results will be shared with the scientific community to help expand clinical knowledge around treatment of FP in sea turtles worldwide.

This veterinary equipment was funded in whole by a grant awarded from the Sea Turtle Grants Program. The Sea Turtle Grants Program is funded from proceeds from the sale of the Florida Sea Turtle License Plate. Learn more at www.helpingseaturtles.org.

Have you found a sea turtle that needs help? Visit this page or call the Sea Turtle Preservation Society at 321-206-0646.

Want to help the Sea Turtle Healing Center? Support our Zoo, or view our Healing Center’s wishlist.