Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)
Stranding Location: Apache Pier, North Myrtle Beach, SC
Arrival Date: 10/25/2017
Weight: 64.64kg (142 pounds)
Clumpy had quite the journey getting to the Sea Turtle Care Center (STCC). South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) received many phone calls from concerned citizens about a sea turtle with a missing front flipper actively going for baited hooks and breaking the line! Finally, someone was able to rescue this patient via a dip net on the Apache Pier. SCDNR’s Kacie Ferguson made the 5-hour round trip drive to transport Clumpy to us for treatment.
Upon admit, the most obvious injury was the partially missing right front flipper. Chief Veterinarian Dr. Shane Boylan quickly triaged Clumpy by conducting a thorough physical exam, a blood draw and taking radiographs. Clumpy’s partially missing flipper was most likely caused by an old entanglement injury. For the most part, Clumpy did a good job healing it on his own. However, some marine leeches took up residence causing an infection. Clumpy also had a significant amount of marine leeches present on the soft tissue inside of his mouth. Additionally, radiographs showed 2 hook fragments, one in the injured flipper and another in the esophagus. Blood work showed that Clumpy was anemic and dehydrated. Clumpy received Hetastarch, which was administered intravenously. Hetastarch helps pull in fluids and vitamins into the vascular space so they can be circulated through the bloodstream and throughout the body more effectively. Additional fluids and vitamins were given subcutaneously, or under the skin, to help re-hydrate him. Clumpy was started on an antibiotic regime to combat the infection present in the injured flipper. Clumpy was fairly active and was placed in a shallow tank of freshwater overnight to help kill the remaining marine leeches and aid in re-hydration.
October 27, 2017: Clumpy was offered a few pieces of fish and ate immediately! The salinity of Clumpy’s water along with his diet will be slowly increased over the next week. So far, Clumpy is settling in well!
November 1, 2017: We are so pleased about how well Clumpy is doing after the first week of being in our care. Clumpy loves to eat and has a serious appetite for salmon! We are continuing to increase his diet slowly, and he is now in a full tank! Clumpy is being pulled twice weekly for an exam of the injured flipper and to receive antibiotic injections.
November 15, 2017: Clumpy is doing very well. A couple of weeks ago, Clumpy passed several pieces of marine debris including pieces of wood, monofilament, fishing lures and styrofoam floats. He also had a very unusual fecal sample full of different types of fish bones as well as a stingray barb! We think that Clumpy was hanging around a pier eating scraps and snagging on fishing lines long before arriving at our hospital. He was pulled out recently for a few X-rays, and the two small hook fragments were removed. Clumpy has been put through a lot in his lifetime, but luckily he made his way to the Sea Turtle Care Center and is now on the road to recovery!