Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)
Stranding Location: Kiawah, SC
Arrival Date: 07/18/2015
Weight: 36.3 kg (~80 pounds)
This juvenile loggerhead was rescued by the amazing Kiawah Beach Patrol near the Ocean Course Clubhouse. One look at this sea turtle and patrollers knew s/he needed assistance. Kia was clearly underweight and laying lethargically on the beach, and s/he was covered in green and brown algae which gave her shell a furry appearance. This turtle had clearly been sick and floating for some time. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources transported this animal to us for medical treatment.
As our staff and vet are in the midst of a phenomenally busy stranding season and have admitted nearly twenty loggerheads afflicted with debilitated turtle syndrome already this year, Kia’s bloodwork and overall state of health was no surprise. Kia presented with a low heart rate of 12 beats per minute and was anemic (PCV 11%) and hypoproteinemic (insufficient blood proteins). This loggerhead’s blood work parameters were certainly concerning, but we’ve saved numerous turtles with significantly worse blood values in the past. S/he was treated with an injectable antibiotic, fluid therapy, and injectable vitamins. Being in such a weak state, Kia was kept on foam in shallow water overnight.
28 July 2015: Luckily, this sick turtle has a good appetite and isn’t finicky; we are slowly ramping her diet up to promote weight gain. However, Kia has remained somewhat weak since admission and has been in very shallow water until today, when we were finally able to fill her tank up to the normal level (2 ? ft. water depth) without being concerned about her surfacing to breathe. Prognosis is fair.
28 January 2016: Kia has been making great progress the past several months post admit back in July of 2015. S/he is doing so well in fact that we are preparing for an imminent release in the next month or so. Blood work processed earlier this month revealed releasable levels with a PCV of 29.5% and a TS of 4.9 g/dl. Staff has recently increased the daily diet to 3.5% body weight (3 pounds of food), in order to improve his/her overall body condition. Kia will be getting metal flipper tags and a PIT tag this Monday.
February 25th, 2016
Washington Oaks Gardens State Park in Palm Coast, FL