Frittata | South Carolina Aquarium

Frittata

Apr 30

Frittata

Green (Chelonia mydas)

Stranding Location: North Myrtle Beach, SC
Arrival Date: 4/20/24
Age: Juvenile
Sex: Unknown
Weight: 5.6 kg (12.32 lbs)

Case History

A juvenile green sea turtle was found stranded along the shoreline near a fishing pier in North Myrtle Beach. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was notified, and a permitted member of the North Myrtle Beach Turtle Team was called to transport the turtle to the Aquarium for treatment.

Treatment

Once Frittata arrived at the Aquarium, we noted that the turtle was covered in sand, algae and barnacles, indicating that the animal had been sick for some time. Upon examination, we also found that Frittata had some old scars and healing abrasions all over her/his body, as well as some swelling on the right side of the head around the ear. We took radiographs (x-rays) and blood samples to learn a bit more about Frittata. Results showed poor bloodwork and large bowel loops. With these results in mind, we started the patient on fluids, dextrose, antibiotics, vitamins and calcium injections. We decided that once Frittata was more stable, we would take a CT to gain more detailed imaging.

After treatments were completed, we decided that Frittata would likely do better in water. Initially, the turtle was tried in a kiddie pool; activity levels were stronger than expected, so Frittata was placed in deeper tank water. However, during this supervised swim time, we observed an awkward swim pattern, and that Frittata was not level while moving about the tank. The other notable observation was that Frittata had a significant head tilt. This means that the turtle is unable to hold her/his head straight and it is tilted to one side. Based on our exam, we believe this head tilt is due to a severe ear infection. With all of these potentially concerning behaviors, we was decided that the safest setup for Frittata would be to go back into the kiddie pool.

Updates

April 23, 2024: We are continuing to keep a close eye on Frittata. Keeping in mind that this is a very sick turtle, we haven’t seen a ton of improvements, and we can’t expect major changes in a few days. We took a CT scan and learned that Frittata has a large amount of gas in her/his gastrointestinal (GI) tract which is likely causing some of the issues. We are continuing to discuss further treatment options. We have also started offering food but haven’t seen any interest from Frittata. This isn’t uncommon with new patients as they don’t feel well and are adjusting to a new environment, so to supplement the lack of appetite, we are administering fluids. Send Frittata all your positive healing vibes!

May 15, 2024: Frittata has been a challenging case, with only minor improvements. Unfortunately, this turtle does not handle being in deep water very well, but we have managed to keep her/him comfortable in a shallow kiddie pool. We have seen minimal interest in food, so we’ve been supplementing with fluids and dextrose. After several days of treatment with not much improvement, staff decided it was necessary to embark on an ear debridement procedure. The swelling in Frittata’s ear was significant and likely causing incredible discomfort. Thankfully, this procedure was successful and we were able to remove a lot of fluid from her/his ear! We will continue to adjust the treatment plan as needed, but for now, Frittata seems to have a little more energy and is behaving a bit more normally.

June 15, 2024: Following Frittata’s ear debridement, this turtle is acting like a whole new patient! Frittata can dive and swim throughout the tank well and eats everything offered, including vitamins! Overall, this patient has markedly improved from last month!

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