Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Stranding Location: Shelter Cove on Hilton Head Island, SC
Arrival Date: February 26, 2017
Weight: 6.5 lbs
Cove was found floating on the water’s surface by citizens in Shelter Cove on Hilton Head Island. Once South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) was called, volunteer transporter Amber Kuehan quickly responded. Michelle Patte, SCDNR Sea Turtle Coordinator, met Amber halfway between Hilton Head and Charleston, and transported this little green to our hospital. Upon arrival, Cove was alert and responsive but did have a lowered heart rate, and was missing a left rear flipper. Cove is the first patient that we have admitted to our hospital this year!
Our Sea Turtle Care Center staff quickly admitted Cove, gave him/her an initial exam, pulled blood and took radiographs. Radiographs revealed a significant amount of gas in the gastrointestinal tract and bloodwork results indicated that Cove was dehydrated. Subcutaneous (under the skin) fluids and vitamins were administered to treat the dehydration and a course of antibiotics was started. Aquarium veterinarian, Dr. Shane Boylan, also examined both of Cove’s eyes, which were positive for corneal abrasions. The missing left rear flipper was already healed and was most likely caused by a predator attack. Though Cove was pretty active, h/she was placed in a tub with shallow water overnight.
March 1, 2017: The day after admit, Cove was tube fed a radiopaque liquid that allows us to view the G.I. contents through a series of radiographs. Cove defecated a small amount and tested negative for any intestinal parasites. Since Cove cannot dive to rest on the bottom of the tank, he/she was placed in a tank with very shallow water. We are currently treating the corneal abrasions with ophthalmic antibiotic drops, and Cove will be pulled every three days for an antibiotic injection.