loggerhead (Caretta caretta)

Stranding Location: Fort Johnson, James Island, SC

Arrival Date: 05/13/2011

Age: juvenile

Weight: 30.0 kg (66 lb)

Case History

This 30.0 kg loggerhead was rescued from the water surrounding the SCDNR Fort Johnson Grice Marine Lab by two very determined SCDNR employees in kayaks. Initial rescue efforts occurred on 12 May when Grice was first seen entangled in fishing gear and suffering from numerous skin lesions. However, the gear slipped off the turtle as he dove away from rescuers. Rescue efforts resumed on 13 May when the turtle was seen again and, after more than two hours, SCDNR successfully captured Grice and transported him to our Sea Turtle Hospital.

Treatment

Grice arrived with numerous necrotic black skin lesions (due to septicemic cutaneous ulcerative disease, or SCUD) and hundreds (possibly thousands) of leeches and leech eggs on his soft tissues and plastron. Blood work revealed he was anemic, hypoproteinemic (low blood protein level), and hyponatremic (low blood sodium level). Grice’s activity level was good, however, especially considering his blood work. This small loggerhead received IV hetastarch, SQ fluids and vitamin B complex, and antibiotics. In addition, the skin lesions were treated with silver sulfadiazine, a topical ointment which has antibiotic and antifungal properties.

Updates

29 May 2011: Grice is doing much better than expected, especially considering the initial concerns we had due to the hyponatremia. He is active in his filtered tank and is eating fish and live blue crabs eagerly. He continues to receive antibiotics, and topical treatment of the skin lesions has slowed to once every three days. Grice’s prognosis is good!

20 June 2011: This little turtle is such an agressive eater! Grice’s soft tissues show signs of re-keratinization and are healing well. He is receiving 3% of his body weight in food daily and occasional iron injections, and we are hopeful we can reverse the anemia and put some weight on this turtle for a release later this year. You don’t want to miss seeing Grice return to the wild!

Release Date

07/12/2011

Release Location

Beachwalker County Park, Kiawah, SC

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