Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Stranding Location: Jarvis Creek near Hilton Head Island, SC
Arrival Date: 3/8/2017
Weight: 6.4 lbs
Similar to our last two admits this year, Crush was found floating at the surface of the water and unable to dive. Michael Collins, Sea Turtle Technician for South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), safely transported this little green to us for treatment! Crush had a heavy epibiota load of sea squirts and barnacles on his carapace (top shell). Though Crush’s body temperature was normal, Crush was affected by the cold weather and water temperatures off of SC’s coast.
At admit, Crush received a physical exam, radiographs and a blood draw. Bloodwork results indicated that Crush was very dehydrated and needed subcutaneous (under the skin) fluids and vitamins for re-hydration. Crush was also started on a course of antibiotics to prevent any secondary infections as a result of a lowered immune system from cold-stunning. Radiographs also showed a humeral fracture to the left, front flipper as well as a significant amount of gas present in the gastrointestinal tract. After triage, Crush was left in a waterbed with a small amount of water and lots of foam. He is being closely monitored.
March 15, 2017: Crush has been placed in a tank with very shallow water and is floating with the left side of his body up – this is due to the gas in the GI tract. Our staff has been administering fluids to help with hydration, and he is receiving radiographs and antibiotic injections biweekly. We are reintroducing greens this week as well.
April 3, 2017: Crush is no longer listing to the right, and the water level has been raised to a full tank. Crush will receive his last dose of antibiotics this week and is eating both veggies and protein! Crush will continue to receive radiographs to monitor the healing of the fracture on his left, front flipper. We are pleased to see how well Crush is progressing.
May 5, 2017: Crush is eating very well and shares his tank with BB-8, another green sea turtle patient. Crush recently had radiographs taken to assess the broken flipper. There has been no change in the fracture since admit. This is not unusual as it can take sea turtles many months to fully heal from a fracture. Sometimes, it is difficult to assess the healing progress as radio-dense material (material that is dense enough to show up on an x-ray) filling in the fracture may not appear for a few months. Otherwise, Crush eats all of his fish and veggies and is in good body condition! You got it, dude!
May 19, 2017: Crush recently went to the Charleston Veterinary Referral Center for a CT scan to assess the progress of the fractured flipper. The CT scan showed no significant changes in the fracture, which means Crush is going to need quite a bit more time to heal. Crush has no issues using the flipper while swimming, which is a good sign – that means he feels no pain and continues to eat everything staff and volunteers offer!
June 5, 2017: Crush recently got a new tank buddy named Gill! Crush is often more interested in Gill’s food even when his own is right behind him. As the saying goes, the sea grass is always greener on the other side of the tank divider! Crush will get repeat radiographs soon to assess the progression of the flipper fracture.
June 15, 2017: Radiographs are still showing that the humeral fracture in Crush’s flipper is still displaced and has a fair amount of healing left to do. Crush continues to use that front flipper extremely well and has no issues swimming. We will continue monthly radiographs to monitor the healing of the fracture.