Green (Chelonia mydas)
Stranding Location: Bulls Island, SC
Arrival Date: 7/10/18
Weight: 5.4 kg (12.0 pounds)
This young juvenile green sea turtle was spotted floating near the dock on Bulls Island by Captain Lee Taylor. Being an experienced fishing guide, he knew right away that this turtle was in need of medical attention. Fawkes had an older boat-strike injury to the top of his shell and was unable to dive and swim away. Captain Lee Taylor got in contact with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) and coordinated to drop off the turtle at the Isle of Palms Marina. A short boat ride later and Fawkes was handed off to employees of Barrier Island Eco Tours who kept a watchful eye on him until SCDNR volunteer transporters, Mary Pringle and Barb Gobien, arrived. This dynamic duo has brought the Sea Turtle Care Center (STCC) multiple turtles this year and are no strangers to sea turtle conservation. Mary is the leader of the Island Turtle Team, and Barb Gobien is a member of the team and a long-time Sea Turtle Care Center volunteer. Gratitude all around for people working together to help save sea turtles in South Carolina!
Fawkes received the VIP treatment as he was triaged by both our Chief and Associate Veterinarians, Dr. Shane Boylan and Dr. Bryan Vorbach. Upon admission, Fawkes wounds were assessed and flushed with sterile saline. He was given fluids, antibiotics and vitamins. The boat strike was already starting to heal, so Dr. Boylan speculates that it is a minimum of one to two weeks old. Fawkes has some use of his hind flippers, a promising sign as the strike goes over the vertebral scutes in two places, just above the spine. A CT scan was taken, which revealed a tremendous amount of gastrointestinal gas. This would definitely explain the buoyancy disorder and inability to dive. It is possible that the strike is interfering with GI motility leading to ileus (buildup of food material) and creating a potential blockage. Fawkes received an enema in hopes of moving the GI contents along. He was later placed in very shallow water down in ICU.
July 12, 2018: Fawkes continues to rest comfortably in shallow water. We are currently holding off on feeding until a fecal is produced. At which time we will start to slowly offer small amounts of fish and veggies.
July 15, 2018: Fawkes will be receiving another enema on Monday to help move along GI contents.
August 1, 2018: Fawkes is doing well. He was recently moved into a new tank, and this tank has a window and additional filtration. Fawkes loves to spend his days lounging in his seaweed enrichment, made out of car wash strips.
August 15, 2018: Fawkes is next up to receive weights to help offset his caudal buoyancy. Velcro and small weights will be applied this week.
September 1, 2018: Fawkes is doing well, and loves eating his veggies. We are waiting for a few areas on his shell to heal, before applying the velcro and weights. We are hoping to replicate what has worked for Luna and are hopeful that we will have similar results and success.
October 1, 2018: Recently, Fawkes also has some weights attached to the back of his carapace with Velcro, like Luna! Fawkes is now in a tank with deeper water and is able to dive and rest comfortably on the bottom of his tank.
October 15, 2018: Fawkes, much like Luna, continues to be caudally buoyant and remains in shallow water. Staff continues to perfect the amount of weight needed to keep him as level as possible.
November 1, 2018: Fawkes is one our newest patients in Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery! You can now visit Fawkes and see the weight pouch therapy we are using to help him maintain neutral buoyancy when he’s swimming and diving.
November 15, 2018: Fawkes’ weight pouch recently fell off, so he was pulled last week so staff could reattach it. While reattaching the weight pouch, the vet team did a checkup. The last CT showed a gas pocket in Fawkes’ GI track, so the vet team was curious if they could get the air out. We think that because his spinal cord was hit by the boat, Fawkes could have issues defecating, which could be causing the gas build up. They gave Fawkes an enema to try and push out as much fecal as possible. Then vet staff took another CT to see if it made a difference in the air pocket, but they didn’t notice a change. Fawkes now has a weight pouch on each side to help with his trouble floating. We’re adjusting the weight inside them to help him comfortably rest on the bottom and swim throughout the water column.
December 1, 2018: Fawkes is continuing to have weight therapy to help his buoyancy problems. We’ve adjusted the placement of the weights to see if this will help him maintain his buoyancy. Fawkes is still in a tank with low water in Sea Turtle Recovery. Make sure to come see him today!