Monday, February 14, 2011

Frosty makes great progress!

Frosty was one of the most severe of the cold stunned sea turtles admitted by the Sea Turtle Rescue Program this winter. On December 15, the small green sea turtle was rescued from the beach on Hilton Head Island after a night of temperatures well below freezing.

Supportive care was given and the turtle was warmed slowly. The prognosis was very poor but each morning, hospital staff would return to work to find the turtle hanging on to life. Within days, the tips of Frosty's front left flipper turned white. Frostbite is an injury caused by the freezing of skin and tissues and as seen in Frosty’s case, normally affects distal extremities.

Debridement or surgery to remove necrosing tissue could result in damage to healthy tissue so the wound was allowed to take its course. The photos below show the process. During this time, the turtle was receiving two antibiotics, fluid and vitamin therapy, as well as pain medication.

The next image is a striking comparison of the flipper from photographs taken on January 5 and February 9. During this time, Frosty's appetite and behavior have improved drastically. Bloodwork has improved, as well. Great progress!

Stay tuned for a video of Frosty in a blog series on sea turtle enrichment that will start this week. In fact, intern, Megan Walsh and I will be bringing you several videos of sea turtles in our hospital that you won't want to miss!