loggerhead (Caretta caretta)
Stranding Location: In-water rescue near Huntington Beach State Park, SC
Arrival Date: 05/30/2013
Weight: 65.6 kg (~145 lb.)
Huntington, a 145 lb. loggerhead was seen floating and unable to dive in the water off of Huntington Beach by a family boating in the area. Luckily, the family knew this was odd behavior for a sea turtle and decided to help! The family contacted SCDNR and Huntington was transported to the SCA’s Sea Turtle Hospital.
Blood work taken upon admittance indicated she was anemic (PCV 15) and hypoproteinemic (abnormally low level of protein in the blood). Huntington was started on a regimen of injectable antibiotics, vitamin injections, hetastarch, and 5% dextrose. Radiographs taken at admittance revealed a compacted mix of needle-like, radiodense objects causing an impaction. From the images, the impaction could be compiled of sea urchin spines. Radiographs also showed excessive gas in the intestines on the right side of the body, which is likely causing the flotation disorder.
7 July 2013: Huntington hasn’t passed the impaction, although the impaction itself has broken into two pieces. Vibrational therapy, enemas, and oral cod liver/mineral oils are still being administered regularly, and Huntington is being maintained on fluids. Gastroview (a radiodense dye which will let us examine the GI tract via x-rays) was tube-fed on the 3rd, and we are still hopeful the impaction will pass naturally and not require surgery.
24 July 2013: Huntington passed a large amount of scallop shells last week, which is a great sign. He is still experiencing buoyancy issues, however. We’ve begun feeding him very small amounts of food daily in order to administer oral metronidazole, which hopefully will assist in alleviating his health issues.
18 August 2013: Huntington is finally in a full tank of water and is no longer floating! She has a voracious appetite and is eating 2.5 lb. of food daily. Recent blood work results show Huntington’s PCV (% of red blood cells) and blood protein levels are still below normal range. This was to be expected due to the length of time it took her to pass the impaction. Her diet will slowly be increased to 4.5 lb. of food daily to correct the anemia associated with long-term fasting.
21 October 2013: Huntington is finally back to a healthy weight and continues to recover in the hospital.
3 February 2014: Blood work values are slowly improving. We are hopeful that they will be within a normal range for a spring release!
18 April 2014: Our vet medically cleared Huntington for release! We are currently evaluating release options and making plans to return this feisty loggerhead to the Atlantic Ocean.