Green (Chelonia mydas)
Stranding Location: Goat Island, SC
Arrival Date: 10/29/2017
Weight: 2.15 kg (5 pounds)
P. Sherman was found floating at the surface of the water with his hind (caudal) end up and was easily rescued by boaters that happened to spot him. P. Sherman was then transported via boat to the Isle of Palms Marina. From there, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) volunteer transporters Mary Pringle and Barb Bergwerf were able to pick this little green up and bring him to the Sea Turtle Care Center (STCC).
Upon arrival, P. Sherman was very quiet but alert and responsive. P. Sherman’s body temperature was checked and it was a few degrees below the optimal body temperature for a sea turtle. Weighing in at 5 pounds, this little cutie had no visible injuries. After blood was drawn, radiographs were taken followed by a physical exam. P. Sherman’s radiographs showed a significant amount of gas present in the gastrointestinal tract, along with lots of food. No wonder this little guy was floating! He also received some fluids for re-hydration and was started on some injectable antibiotics. P. Sherman was then left resting quietly in a waterbed comprised of comfy foam and shallow water overnight.
October 30, 2017: The morning after admit, P. Sherman was much more alert and active! More radiographs were taken to better access amount of gas present in his GI tract. Concerned that there might be an impaction, or blockage, our vet staff did an enema to help loosen things up and help speed up the motility of his gastrointestinal tract. We then moved P. Sherman into a tank with very shallow water and, within a few minutes, P. Sherman was pooping up a storm – obviously the enema did it’s job! Over the next few days, we will be watching for any potential foreign bodies, such as plastics, that might be passed.
November 15, 2017: At the beginning of the month, P. Sherman was responding well to the enemas and was able to rest at the bottom of the tank. We even started offering a few pieces of veggies to him and he ate them immediately. Last week, he started having problems controlling his buoyancy and was unable to dive again. P. Sherman received another enema and radiographs which showed that existing food in the gastrointestinal tract was slowly but surely moving down. P. Sherman was our first sea turtle patient to receive a CT scan by our newly installed CT machine! With the help of the CT results, we will be able to better access what is going on internally with this little guy.
December 1, 2017: This week, P. Sherman received a full work up, including a series of radiographs with a contrast study, another enema and another full CT scan. Through radiographs, we are able to see that his gut contents are moving through his gastrointestinal tract slowly, but they are not moving past a certain location so the contrast study will help us determine that point. Stay tuned for the results!
December 12, 2017: The CT scan showed that there was likely an impaction somewhere within the gastrointestinal tract that would require surgery to remove. P. Sherman underwent an enterotomy, where an incision was made in the intestinal wall. Compacted algae and shell parts were flushed out and removed. A few days following the surgery, P. Sherman looked brighter and seemed overall. But unfortunately, P. Sherman took a sudden turn for the worst and was found unresponsive by staff on Monday afternoon. A necropsy, or animal autopsy, will be performed by our vet staff and SCDNR to help us gain a better understanding of P. Sherman’s case and allow us to apply this new knowledge to future patients.