Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)
Stranding Location: Mount Pleasant Pier
Arrival Date: 9/12/2021
Weight: 1.28 kg (2.8 lbs)
Geode was caught on a fishing hook out on the Mount Pleasant Pier by a fisher. The fisher had removed the hook, but the pier attendant instructed them that the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) needed to be notified per protocol. Meredith Bean, SCDNR technician, notified Sea Turtle Care Center™ staff that the turtle would be arriving shortly. Barb Gobien, SCDNR permit holder, transported the turtle to the Care Center for evaluation.
Geode came in on a Sunday morning, so our vet staff was called in to take a look at the little turtle. Upon arrival, staff was happy to see that the turtle was taking good breaths, was active and was super teeny and adorable! Admitting staff got a weight, measurements, an x-ray and photos to document their injuries. Overall, the little one didn’t look too bad. There were several small abrasions all over their body, but the radiograph revealed that there was a fishhook in the GI tract, which is very difficult to remove. Bloodwork also showed that the lactate levels were very high. It was decided that staff should give sodium bicarbonate, fluids, vitamins and antibiotics to Geode. Staff felt that Geode was strong enough to be put in a full tank right away – and we weren’t wrong! Geode is active and taking great breaths. The hope is that they will pass the hook on their own and no surgical intervention will be necessary! So now we will monitor their tank and fecals closely to see if there is a hook!
September 14, 2021: Fortune favored Geode! A small hook was found in the bottom of Geode’s tank, indicating that they had passed the hook! Phew! Geode has easily become the easiest case of 2021. Not only did Geode pass the hook without medical intervention, they also started eating right away! Vet staff took a follow up x-ray to double check that there were no other hooks present, and Geode is now hook free! We are hopeful this will be a quick turnaround and that Geode can return to their ocean home quickly.
September 29, 2021: Other than being hooked, Geode’s body condition, bloodwork and physical exam are all normal. We gave Geode a few weeks for the trauma from the hook to heal, and we were able to quickly return Geode back into their ocean home!