Docile Dolphin Gets Cancer Care at Illinois Zoo

Docile Dolphin Gets Cancer Care at Illinois Zoo
Lucky the dolphin gets an ultrasound examination in the pool at Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Ill., on Dec. 14, 2021, in a still from video. (Chicago Zoological Society via AP/Screenshot via NTD)

Brookfield Zoo outside Chicago is caring for an aging dolphin with cancer.

His name is Lucky, and he’s 500 pounds, mostly muscle, but still a very docile patient when it’s time to be treated for his diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma.

When the medical team at the zoo performs cryotherapy on Lucky, he opens up wide, as his care team uses big swabs to freeze the cancer in the back of his mouth.

The zoo’s medical director says the treatment seems to be effective, but treating cancer in a pool brings its challenges.

They time each application to let it dry.

CT scans and ultrasound are used to make sure the cancer has not spread to the rest of Lucky’s body.

dolphin treatment
Lucky the dolphin is surrounded by his care team as they transport him for a CT scan at Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Ill., on Dec. 14, 2021, in a still from video. (Chicago Zoological Society via AP/Screenshot via NTD)

Lucky was in Florida, but was flown to Brookfield Zoo in September where they can offer advanced treatment, and this is where he’s going to stay.

CT scans and ultrasound are used to make sure the cancer has not spread to the rest of Lucky’s body.

The veterinarians treating Lucky say his treatment could advance medicine for other animals and should keep this dolphin splashing for years to come.

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