The turtle's carapace (shell) was 90% covered with marine growth including barnacles, mussels, tube worms, skeleton shrimp and slipper shells. Marine leeches were also present on the soft tissue. Outside of this marine growth and the obvious lethargy, the patient's external condition is actually fair, unlike most of the animals we admit into our hospital.
A huge thanks goes to the Hilton Head folks that found this turtle as they walked searching for sea turtle nests on the beach. Also to Jenna Cormany from SCDNR for the hours on the road to get this animal treatment. As always, we owe a tremendous amount of thanks to our incredible volunteer crew and interns at the South Carolina Aquarium's Sea Turtle Hospital.
Normal admission procedures were performed to find out more about the turtle's condition which would help determine the treatment plan. These procedures included taking measurements, scanning for tags, drawing blood, measuring heart rate and conducting a thorough physical examination. Initial treatment included fluid therapy, antibiotics, vitamin injections and a shallow tank of fresh water to kill the marine growth and help keep the turtle hydrated overnight.
This turtle will be posted on the main hospital page with more details of condition, treatment and photographs. Please check back for regular updates!