Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)
Stranding Location: Wando River, SC
Arrival Date: 09/23/2017
Weight: 11.5 kgs (25 pounds)
Squishy was found floating at the surface of the water in the Wando River. Rescuers noticed a very prominent boat strike injury to the right side of the carapace (top shell) and called the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). SCDNR quickly responded to the call and transported this small Kemp’s to us for triage and treatment.
Squishy’s boat strike fracture looked fresh, and most likely happened within a day or two prior to being found. Squishy received a physical exam, a blood draw and radiographs (x-rays) were taken to better assess the severity of the injuries. Luckily for Squishy, radiographs showed that the boat strike fracture did not affect his spine. They also showed that he was munching down on some crabs when he was hit, as his gastrointestinal tract was full of them! Squishy received fluids to help with re-hydration, was started on a course of antibiotics to prevent any infection and received pain management drugs to make him more comfortable. Squishy’s boat strike fractures were then flushed to remove any debris from the wounds, topical antibiotic ointment was applied and along with a bandage. Squishy was then placed in a waterbed comprised of foam and shallow freshwater to rest overnight.
September 28, 2017: Squishy is in a tank with very shallow water, as he is unable to dive and is mainly floating at the surface of the water. Squishy is receiving an antibiotic injection twice weekly, and we are cleaning the boat strike wounds and giving pain management drugs as needed. We are trying to minimize our handling of Squishy to help lower his stress level and make him more comfortable.
October 1, 2017: After a week in rehab, Squishy has not changed in his behavior or activity levels much. The boat strike wound has been covered in triple antibiotic ointment and is being looked at whenever he comes out for an injection. He is on antibiotics and is being fasted until further notice. When Squishy was admitted he had a belly full of crab parts! While this is a great sign that was thriving out in the wild, staff think the amount of crab shell may be causing issues with defecating. We have given squishy enemas with warm water and mineral oil to help move things along. Once Squishy clears out the crab from his stomach we will begin feeding him every day. He is in great body condition so we all hope he will make a full recovery!
October 8, 2017: Despite our best efforts, Squishy was found non-responsive by our Sea Turtle Care Staff Saturday morning. A necropsy, or animal autopsy, will be preformed by our vet staff and SCDNR. The necropsy will help us gain a better understanding of Squishy’s case and allow us to apply this new knowledge to future patients.