Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Stranding Location: MacCay Creek near Hilton Head Island, SC
Arrival Date: March 4th, 2017
Weight: 10 lbs
Squirt was found floating at the water’s surface in MacCay Creek on Hilton Head Island. Once South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) was called, our very own volunteers Barb Gobien and Barb Bergwerf transported this little one to our hospital. Squirt’s body temperature was a chilly 52°F due to colder weather. The colder weather caused a drop in water temperature, especially in shallow areas. Colder temperatures cause cold-stunning, which is hypothermia in reptiles. Upon arrival, Squirt’s body temp was very low, s/he was lethargic and had a epibiont load consisting of sea squirts and barnacles.
Our Sea Turtle Care Center staff quickly triaged Squirt, including radiographs, a physical exam and blood draw. Radiographs revealed a significant amount of gas in the gastrointestinal tract and bloodwork results indicated that Squirt was dehydrated. Subcutaneous (under the skin) fluids and vitamins were administered to treat the dehydration, and a course of antibiotics was started. The sea squirts were easily removed, but the barnacles were remained. We slowly warmed Squirt’s body temperature and placed him/her in a water bed with freshwater and lots of foam overnight.
March 15th 2017: Squirt has been placed in a tank with very shallow water and still floating on the surface due to gas in the GI tract. Squirt has received fluids every other day and received several radiographs to monitor the presence of gas. Squirt is hanging in there!
April 3, 2017: Squirt is no longer on antibiotics, and he/she is in a full tank now! Squirt received several radiographs this month to monitor the intestinal gas and was tube fed a drug called metronidazole to help move things along in the GI tract. As of last week, Squirt started eating his/her greens consistently and was finally able to rest on the bottom of the tank.
May 5, 2017: Squirt has made big improvements! He continues to gain weight, and loves to munch on his greens!