Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)
Stranding Location: Folly Beach, SC
Arrival Date: 05/02/2018
Weight: 12.62 kg (28 pounds)
Mad-Eye Moody was hooked by a fisherman off the end of the Folly Beach fishing pier. When the fisherman realized he had a sea turtle on his line he quickly alerted pier officials and used a dip net to pull the animal up onto the deck. Rescuers noticed the animal looked unhealthy from the multiple areas of skin lesions in addition to the fishing line tightly wrapped around the turtle’s right front flipper. South Carolina Department of Natural Resource’s (SCDNR) sea turtle technician, Tyler Harrell, alerted Sea Turtle Care Center staff that she would be bringing the animal to the South Carolina Aquarium.
Upon admit, Mad-Eye Moody was lethargic but responsive. He had deep, ulcerative skin lesions all over his body with areas of missing and exposed bone on his shell and head. The fishing line was removed and collected by SCDNR, but the entanglement luckily did not pose a major threat to his flipper. Mad-Eye Moody suffers from a condition called necrotic ulcerative disease (NUD). This disease is a secondary cause of infection and manifests as severe skin lesions. Staff gave Mad-Eye Moody topical treatment for his wounds, and gave him two doses of antibiotics to ward of the brewing infection. After the initial triage was complete, he was placed in shallow water to assess his mobility and activity and was closely monitored for the next couple of days.
May 8, 2018: Mad-Eye Moody made it through the weekend with little change to his condition. Staff offered him a couple of pieces of fish each day which he hesitantly ate. His prognosis is guarded and is being carefully monitored due to the severity of the infection. Staff is continuing to give antibiotics and topical treatments every couple of days.
May 15, 2018: Mad-Eye looks so much better than when he first arrived. Our prognosis for this patient was highly guarded but all of the ulcerations caused by the NUD are on the mend. Mad-Eye Moody will continue to receive antibiotic injections and is eating well.
June 1, 2018: Mad-Eye Moody has made significant progress in the last two weeks! He is eating a normal diet and is very active. He will finish his antibiotics soon, and vet staff will reevaluate his condition to see if he needs more based on his blood values and external condition. His wounds are healing up great, and we continue to treat them topically anytime he is out of his tank for an exam.
June 15, 2018: Mad-Eye Moody was taken out of his tank today to receive a monthly weight and measurement exam. During these exams, staff look for any abnormalities and assess any old wounds the patient may have had. Mad-Eye Moody had many lesions and open sores on his body when he was admitted. These lesions have all healed up wonderfully! All of the major lesions are now covered in pink, healed tissue. We are so happy with how far Mad-Eye Moody has come, and we hope his progress continues!
July 1, 2018: Since his last exam, Mad-Eye Moody has continued to progress. He will eat any type of fish we offer to him, which is a great sign that he is feeling good! He also swims around his tank constantly. We have given him a couple of different types of enrichment, such as a backscratcher, to stimulate him to act naturally and calm him down. The backscratcher provides a place for Mad-Eye Moody to scratch his shell and rest under for protection. In the wild, sea turtles will scrub epibiota off their shell by rubbing on stationary objects in the ocean. Sea turtles get itches just like humans so they will their backscratchers to relieve those hard-to-reach areas on their shells!