loggerhead (Caretta caretta)

Stranding Location: Capers Inlet

Arrival Date: 09/06/2010

Age: juvenile

Weight: 82.34 kg (182 lb)

Case History

A coordinated rescue effort by US Fish & Wildlife, the SCDNR, and SCA staff on Labor Day resulted in this 190-pound juvenile loggerhead’s successful admission into our hospital. Named in honor of Sarah Dawsey of the USFWS, this turtle’s left front flipper was severely wounded in the recent past (the surrounding tissue is an unhealthy gray color) and movement of this limb is severely restricted. Dawsey also suffers from a prolapsed cloaca and possible septicemia.


Upon arrival, Dawsey received multiple antibiotics, fluids, an iron injection, and pain medication. Bloodwork results were moderately poor (hematocrit = 18, glucose is elevated at 250+). The severe flipper wound is being treated daily with a saline flush via water pick (to encourage blood circulation and flush bacteria from the wound), massage (also to encourage circulation), an antibiotic cream, and a gauze covering. However, Dawsey is actively refusing food and seems unable or unwilling to use the injured flipper.


12 September 2010: Daily wound treatment is currently progressing well, and Dawsey easily tolerates the hour s/he spends dry-docked resting on a tire for this process. The color of the tissue surrounding the wound has changed to a healthier tan shade and, although the flipper bone is exposed in one area, we are hopeful we can save the flipper. Additionally, Dawsey demonstrated an interest in food today and, after a bit of tempting, eagerly consumed 4 small mackerel.

3 October 2010: Dawsey has been moved to a filtered tank and is eating well. Daily flipper wound treatment has been discontinued and we are hopeful that the fibrin membrane visible on the wound is protecting the healing granulation tissue underneath. However, one area of exposed bone is still evident and, although s/he is on pain meds, Dawsey doesn’t use the flipper to swim.

27 November 2010: The severe flipper wound is healing well, and Dawsey is no longer receiving medication. We’ve initiated a physical therapy program that involves exercising the flipper multiple times daily (which Dawsey tolerates surprisingly well!) but, although the flipper’s range of motion has improved, Dawsey’s use of the flipper remains minimal.

22 January 2011: Dawsey’s blood work is excellent! She is doing well, although flipper usage remains minimal.

Release Date


Release Location

Beachwalker County Park, Kiawah, SC

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