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Popular seal at Mystic Aquarium fighting serious disease; surgery up next

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MYSTIC -- She's called a celebrity at Mystic Aquarium, the teenage northern fur seal know as Ziggy Star.

Ziggy has been under the care of the team at Mystic for the past five years since she was found stranded on a California beach. Ziggy suffers from a chronic neurological disease which is causing excess fluid to build up on her brain, the affliction induces seizures and clouds her vision.

The team at Mystic Aquarium who cares for Ziggy around the clock, is planning on sending her to the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University to get surgery and improve her quality of life.

"This will be the first surgery of its kind performed on a fur seal," said Dr. Jen Flower, the chief clinical veterinarian at the Mystic Aquarium. "We're cautiously optimistic it will help Ziggy live a better quality of life."

There is no date for the surgery but the Mystic Aquarium staff anticipates it will happen in the next few weeks.

Erin Gibbons, an assistant supervisor at the aquarium who spends hours aiding Ziggy said, "She's been through a lot but she's a fighter and she keeps coming back, I've never seen a spirit in an animal like this girl."

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