Sea Turtles Get Alternative Procedure Used to Treat Tumors

BOCA RATON, FL - JULY 27: Laurie Herrick, a Marine Turtle Specialist, prepares to release a Loggerhead turtle as it joins more than 570 baby sea turtles, including the Loggerhead and Green turtles, being released back into the Atlantic Ocean in a joint effort between the Coast Guard and the Gumbo-Limbo Nature Center on July 27, 2015 in Boca Raton, Florida. The sea turtles hatchlings come from turtle nests located along beaches throughout Florida, which are the primary nesting grounds for Loggerhead sea turtles. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) Getty Images

An alternative procedure used to treat tumors on sea turtles has been performed at the Florida Keys-based Turtle Hospital in partnership with the University of Florida.

The electro-chemotherapy treatments were administered to two green sea turtles Saturday.

The remedies are part of a study being conducted on green sea turtles with fibropapilloma, cauliflower-like tumor growths that develop as a result of a herpes-like virus affecting many sea turtles around the world.

Traditionally, the tumors have been surgically removed, but the surgery is more complicated and stressful for infected turtles.

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Dr. Anna Szivek, assistant professor of oncology at the veterinary college of University of Florida, said the treatments involves short, low-level electric pulses that allow the cells to open and better absorb the chemo medication, commonly used in cancer treatment.