Triumphantly emerging from adversity, an endangered sea turtle undergoes a life-saving procedure to remove a massive tumor from her jaw

Photographs of a rehabilitating green sea turtle named Chica show the incredible recovery she’s made after a massive tumor was removed from her jaw.

Found off the coast of the Florida Keys, Chica was diagnosed with fibropapilloma, a common disease that causes tumors to grow on the soft tissue of turtles.

Found off the coast of the Florida Keys, Chica was diagnosed with fibropapilloma, a common disease that causes tumors to grow on the soft tissue of turtles

Chica, who had a massive tumor eclipsing the right side of her face along with smaller growths on her eyes and flippers, was taken to the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Florida

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Chica was left to soak in a hospital tank before she underwent a CT scan, since fibropapilloma can cause tumors to grow on vital organs such as the lungs, in which case turtles are humanely euthanized due to the lack of treatment

A local resident spotted Chica, who had a massive tumor eclipsing the right side of her face along with smaller growths on her eyes and flippers, and called the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Florida.

She was transported from the Boca Chica channel in an ambulance and taken to the hospital for a fresh water bath to kill off any external parasites.

Chica was left to soak in a hospital tank before she underwent a CT scan, since fibropapilloma can cause tumors to grow on vital organs such as the lungs, in which case turtles are humanely euthanized due to the lack of treatment.

Thankfully, Bette Zirkelback, the hospital’s manager said Chica passed her CT ‘with flying colors’ and Dr. Doug Mader successfully removed the tumor weighing 938 grams, just over two pounds.

The resilient sea turtle was bandaged and kept dry before she went back in the hospital tank to heal.

A second round of surgery saw Mader successfully removing the remainder of the growths.

The sea turtle is now showing off her brand new face and taking it easy at the hospital, where she will stay for one year to ensure the growths do not return.

The resilient sea turtle was bandaged and kept dry before she went back in the hospital tank to heal

Dr. Doug Mader successfully removed the tumor weighing 938 grams, just over two pounds

The sea turtle is now taking it easy at the hospital, where she will stay for one year to ensure the growths do not return

Mader said: ‘Chica is recovering well, has a hearty appetite, and is a strong swimmer.

‘Once Chica is finished with her medication, she will be relocated to a 30,000 gallon tank with other green juvenile sea turtle.

‘A year after Chica’s last surgery date she will be released back to the Florida Bay.’

Experts are unclear what causes fibropapillomatosis, but some research has suggested pollution and global warming have played a role, the Star reported.

‘When I first started here 20 years ago, I would do six to eight of these a month. Now we are doing six to eight a week,’ Mader told the local website.

He added: ‘I have this horrible feeling that as the oceans warm we are going to see more and more disease.’

Green turtles are considered an endangered species, according to National Geographic.

Mader said: ”Once Chica is finished with her medication, she will be relocated to a 30,000 gallon tank with other green juvenile sea turtle. A year after Chica’s last surgery date she will be released back to the Florida Bay’

Experts are unclear what causes fibropapillomatosis, but some research has suggested pollution and global warming have played a role, the Star reported

Sia

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