Wednesday, September 20, 2023

(Virginia Beach, VA) – This week, the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center’s elderly North American river otter, Tippy, was diagnosed with intestinal lymphoma after receiving biopsy results from an endoscopic procedure. The team has developed a treatment plan.

A diagnostic procedure was conducted on September 12 after Aquarium staff observed signs that the 16-year-old otter’s weight was decreasing despite having a normal appetite. The veterinary team, joined by a veterinary internal medicine specialist, was able to utilize an endoscope to examine and sample his digestive tract, which led to the diagnosis of intestinal lymphoma. Tippy is currently receiving medications to support his digestive system and ensure he is comfortable. He will begin a targeted treatment for lymphoma with oral medication. The care team is hopeful Tippy will improve upon treatment, but he will be monitored closely for overall condition, increase in weight, and continued quality of life.

Tippy arrived at the Virginia Aquarium on January 10, 2008, and Aquarium staff has cared for him for nearly 16 years. According to his trainers, Tippy is an inquisitive animal whose favorite food is herring and favorite item to interact with is fake kelp.

“Our animal care and veterinary staff have an unmatched passion and knowledge for the work they do,” said Cynthia Spanoulis, Director of the Virginia Aquarium. “We are dedicated to providing high quality care for our animals, and Tippy’s diagnosis is an example of this care.”

Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. The Aquarium is also a member of World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The Virginia Aquarium's mission is to connect people to the marine environment, inspiring a more sustainable future. It is located at 717 General Booth Boulevard, just south of Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach.

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, supports the work of the Virginia Aquarium. The Foundation procures and maintains the Aquarium's exhibits, including the animals and habitats. It is also responsible for annual and capital fundraising, administration and funding for the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program, conservation and scientific research efforts, and the Aquarium's mission-related education programs. You can be a part of our mission by making a tax-deductible donation to support our programming.

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