Beloved Orangutan Diagnosed with Lymphoma

In July of 2012, Peanut, an 8-year-old female twin orangutan and arguably one of the most famous animals in South Florida, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Although the news came as a surprise, Jungle Island assembled a world-class team and is committed to giving Peanut the best care available.

Peanut’s diagnosis came after undergoing major abdominal surgery, performed by Miami Veterinary Specialists, with the help of Dr. Suzanne Thigpen, Radiologist, to remove what was thought to be a simple obstruction. When histopathology, the microscopic examination of tissues, revealed otherwise, the veterinary staff at Jungle Island turned to the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Division of Comparative Pathology, which specializes in wildlife. A UM team consisting of veterinary pathologists, a hematopathologist, radiologist, and oncologist confirmed the diagnosis and is providing a wealth of clinical information to implement a course of action that involved a course of chemotherapy treatments.

Since the initial diagnosis in July, she has undergone three courses of chemotherapy. After a lengthy discussion with Peanut’s team of doctors, her medical team has decided that the best course of action for Peanut’s health is to end the chemotherapy treatments at this time.

Moving forward, we will closely monitor her daily progress and continually check for signs of relapse. The most common manifestation of relapse would be another obstruction. In the long term, (8 months to a year from now) as part of her annual exam we will include diagnostic imaging such as CT scan, radiology and ultra sound.

The team at Jungle Island would like to thank everyone who has been involved in Peanut’s care and treatment including the dedicated caregivers who dedicated their time during Peanuts recovery, the medical team at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Dr. Joseph Rosenblatt, the team at Miami Veterinary Specialists, the team at Knowles Animal Clinic for their continued dedication to providing the best possible care for Peanut and for the thousands of well wishes and support from the community.

Peanut and her sister, Pumpkin, are 8-year-old fraternal twins, a rarity in the animal kingdom. These lovable girls have very different personalities and tastes in food. While Pumpkin is independent, introverted and quiet, Peanut is outgoing, energetic and demanding. The duo has been a part of the Jungle Island family since their birth and are some of the park’s most famous residents.

For more detailed information, please check out the links below.

Peanut Update 1
Peanut Update 2
Peanut Update 3
Peanut Update 4

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