loggerhead (Caretta caretta)
Stranding Location: Trawl capture near North Island, SC
Arrival Date: 10/19/2012
Weight: 44 kg (97 lb.)
SCA staff responded to a late night call to rescue a loggerhead turtle that sustained severe stingray barb wounds in two flippers while being brought onboard the SCDNR trawling vessel, the R/V Lady Lisa. While injuries rarely occur when sea turtles are captured in trawl nets with stingrays, this loggerhead we’ve named North Island managed to meet a feisty stingray whose barb punctured him in the right front flipper and left rear inguinal region (the thigh). Barb venom is always a concern, so medications were administered onboard the vessel while enroute to the dock, where North Island was transferred over to SCA staff just before midnight on Friday.
Bleeding from the puncture wounds was severe and lasted several hours, so initial treatments involved managing blood loss, administering IV and subcutaneous fluids, and running blood work to assess the turtle’s health. Thankfully, radiographs showed clear wound tracts, so this turtle will not need to undergo surgery to remove the barb. Two antibiotics and pain meds were administered, and North was strong enough to be placed in a filtered tank once treatments were complete.
22 October 2012: Examination of the stingray barb wounds today showed that tissue necrosis is occurring primarily around the injury to the left inguinal region. This turtle will likely be with us for several months while these wounds are treated.
7 January 2013: With the exception of the mass of caseous exudate that has built up around the barb wound to the left rear flipper, North is in great health. His blood work is excellent, he eats like a champ, and he looks great. Our vet will have to surgically debride the left rear flipper wound and, once that wound heals, North will be ready to return to the wild. Hopefully we’ll be able to clear this turtle for release this spring!
Beachwalker County Park, Kiawah, SC