Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)
Stranding Location: Dennis, MA
Arrival Date: 12/11/2018
Weight: 19.6 kg (43.12 lbs)
Dumbledore stranded in Massachusetts as a cold stun. He washed up in Dennis, Massachusetts and rescuers took him to the New England Aquarium (NEAq) for triage and treatment. His body temperature was about 45°F when he arrived. Technicians at the NEAq drew blood, administered fluids and antibiotics and slowly warmed up his body temperature until he could be placed in a tank. A week later, he was prepped for transport to the South Carolina Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Care Center (STCC). Chuck Yanke and Mike Lalley from the volunteer organization Turtles Fly Too, volunteered to fly Dumbledore and four other loggerhead sea turtles to South Carolina. Dumbledore was in stable condition when he arrived.
When Dumbledore was brought into the Sea Turtle Care Center he was quickly looked over by our veterinary team. We weighed him, checked his eyes, and gave him a full physical exam. Afterwards, Dumbledore was placed back in his box to warm up a few degrees before he moved into a tank. Overall, Dumbledore was in great condition! He has been prescribed antibiotics to ward off any long-term infection from the cold stunning event.
December 15, 2018: Dumbledore has adjusted to his new environment well. He began eating right away. We had to warm him up a bit before we could place him into his tank because the difference between the tank water and his body temperature was greater than 5°F. It can cause the animal to go into shock if the temperature difference is too great. Dumbledore warmed up in no time and has been doing well ever since. He shares his tank with another cold stun from NEAq, Severus Snape. These two are divided so there is no chance of aggression and biting between them. January 1, 2019: Since our last update, Dumbledore has been doing fantastic. He has started eating and defecating regularly and will soon be finished with his antibiotics. We have so far seen no signs of other longer-lasting side effects from the cold-stunning event. Keep up the great work, Dumbledore!
January 15, 2019: Last week, STCC staff noticed that he was having trouble foraging for food and would not eat unless it was directly in front of him. Dr. Vorbach did another eye and physical exam but his eyes were clear. Radiographs, a CT scan and bloodwork were performed to see if anything had changed since his last vet check. His bloodwork indicated he was dehydrated so he was given fluids. Since then, though he’s been slow to eat, he’s been eating better. We will recheck bloodwork again to make sure everything is within normal limits.
February 1, 2019: Dumbledore has not been eating very well but continues to defecate every few days. We believe this is just a symptom of his cold stunning. When sea turtles cold stun, their bodily functions slow down or stop working properly altogether, and this is most notably seen in the GI. It can take weeks after beginning to eat for their GI to catch back up and digest at a normal rate. As long as Dumbledore continues to eat a little bit each day and defecate regularly, we are not worried.
February 15, 2019: Dumbledore has continued to eat all or most of his diet daily. We continue to play around with which species of fish he is offered since Dumbledore seems to change his preference from time to time. He is a very picky little guy!
March 1, 2019: Dumbledore had his monthly weight and measurement recently and is doing fantastic! Though we thought he was a picky eater, it turns out he is just self-regulating how much he consumes because he isn’t that hungry! Sea turtles are opportunistic feeders in the wild so they tend to stay (what we consider to be) slightly underweight because they aren’t eating as much in the wild as they are in rehab. They may even go days in the wild without eating because there is no available food source they come across. Therefore, sometimes when a healthy animal isn’t eating their entire diet in rehab, it means they are just satiated.
March 15, 2019: Dumbledore is getting tagged and beginning the evaluation process for release. Stay tuned for more details!