Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)
Stranding Location: Price Inlet
Arrival Date: 05/05/2015
Weight: 51.7 kg (~114 pounds)
Captain Chuck Griffin, a sports fishing captain, spotted a sea turtle floating in Price Inlet located between Capers and Bulls Islands. Recognizing this turtle was in distress, he and the passengers on board carefully lifted this large sea turtle onto the boat. After making contact with the appropriate first responders at SCDNR for instructions and authorization, Captain Griffin transported this debilitated turtle to the Isle of Palms Marina where they were met by an SCDNR Marine Turtle Conservation staff member, who then transported this loggerhead to the Aquarium for medical treatment. This debilitated turtle, named “Price,” was admitted the day after another debilitated loggerhead (Portia) currently in our hospital.
It was clear upon admission that Price was extremely lethargic and had severe edema, an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the tissues. Initial diagnostic tests included blood work analysis, obtaining a heart rate, and a full physical examination. Fluids were administered subcutaneously and intravenously to combat dehydration, hypoglycemia (blood glucose was undetectable), and hypoproteinemia (extremely low blood protein levels that are the likely cause of the edema). Additional supportive care included antibiotics and vitamins B complex, C, and K. The turtle was placed on foam in 2” of water overnight because s/he was too lethargic to swim and was at risk of drowning.
14 May 2015: Price still shows signs of edema, particularly in the loose folds of skin around the neck. This accumulation of fluid makes him appear much less emaciated than he actually is. Staff were grateful to discover that Price’s vision wasn’t compromised by his emaciated state (a common occurrence in debilitated turtles) and that he has a strong appetite. Although Price would eagerly eat much more than the small diet we are currently feeding him, we need to ensure that his diet is increased in a slow and controlled manner so that we don’t overwhelm his atrophied digestive system, which is essentially shut down due to long-term starvation.
10 June 2015: In mid-May, shortly after the last update posted here, our vet confirmed Price has cataracts in both eyes. This is an unfortunate occurrence for this loggerhead, and we are now focused on getting him healthy enough to easily tolerate cataract surgery.
12 August 2015: Edings is finally healthy enough to undergo cataract surgery. We are currently in the process of scheduling this important procedure to restore his eyesight.
28 September 2015: We are happy to report that thanks to the amazing work of veterinary ophthalmologist Dr. Anne Cook, Price’s bilateral cataracts were successfully removed. Post-surgery treatment will include giving eye drops twice a day for a few weeks. Staff will also closely monitoring Price’s eyes and vision for the next few months. We are hopeful that s/he will soon be able to locate food on her own.
14 November 2015: Price is doing fantastic, and we are all very pleased with her ability to navigate around the tank and reliable locate food. Price is also skilled at catching live blue crabs, and is on the fast track to release!
17 December 2015: One of the final steps in the pre-release process occurred today for Price. S/he received a set of metal flipper tags that were placed on both front flippers. Each tag has a unique identification number engraved on it. In addition a grain of rice sized PIT tag (Passive Integrated Transponder) was injected into the muscle. This microchip can be detected with a portable scanner which displays a unique alphanumeric code. Both sets of these tags are beneficial as a means to identify sea turtles on an individual basis.
31 December 2015
30 miles off the coast of South Carolina