Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Admit: April 9, 2017
Rescue Location: MacKay Creek, Hilton Head Island, SC
Weight: 30 pounds
Pearl was found by a fisherman in MacKay Creek near Hilton Head Island. Pearl’s right front flipper had been entangled with monofilament line at the base of the limb. It was noticeably swollen, bleeding and lacked a sufficient blood supply. Realizing this turtle was in trouble, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) was notified. Michelle Pate, SCDNR Sea Turtle Coordinator, transported this patient to us for treatment. Pearl is one of the largest greens we have treated as she is nearly 5 times larger than the juvenile greens we have admitted this year.
Upon arrival, Pearl was quickly triaged and received a thorough physical exam, radiographs and blood pull. Due to the lack of blood circulation caused by the constriction of the monofilament line, some of the soft tissue has become necrotic/dead. Pearl’s flipper was flushed, and loose dead tissue and debris were removed. Silver sulfadiazine cream, a silver based antimicrobial ointment, was gently applied. Based on radiographs, the bones in the flipper look healthy and no fractures present. Pearl’s body condition and bloodwork looked great and s/he received fluids and vitamins for rehydration. Pearl was started on a course of antibiotics to help prevent any further infection from the entanglement injury as well as pain management drugs. Most likely, a good portion of Pearl’s flipper will be lost due to the damage caused by the entanglement, but we will do everything we can to save the healthy part of it.
April 12, 2017: Pearl was moved into a tank in the Sea Turtle Hospital the morning after admit. Pearl has been observed using the right front flipper while swimming and will receive weekly wound treatments to aid in the healing of the flipper. Pain management drugs will be given as needed and the diet will be increased slowly.