Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jammer is one tough turtle

Jammer, the severely debilitated loggerhead sea turtle from the Isle of Palms, SC, has surprised Sea Turtle Rescue Program staff and volunteers. This animal is one of the most emaciated sea turtles in the history of the program and is still with us a month after being admitted. "Her" carapace is soft around the margins with ribs showing. We have seen soft shells but never distinctive ribs. But even after a month, this turtle isn't out of the woods yet. One of our greatest medical concerns is that the gastrointestinal tract isn't functioning properly. Basically, we just want to see the animal poop.

The good news is that she is starting to behave like a sea turtle that is feeling better and it gives us even more hope that she will survive. The tight circling that she has exhibited for the last 4 weeks is slowing, she is starting so use her pipe to sleep in like all the other patients, and last night when we were admitting 3 new patients, she was actually watching us out of the window in her tank. This behavior is a wonderful change from the turtle that could barely lift her head out of water to take a breath. Below are some photos of her progress.

First, a quick reminder of what Jammer looked like when she arrived:

Below is Jammer 2 weeks after arrival being taken for x-rays:

Jammer swimming in her tank:

And for all of you that have seen the turtles using their pipes for sleeping, this is sure to make you feel good!

Jammer's prognosis is still guarded but there is certainly improvement since she arrived. We are posting periodic updates on her medical case log (on the main hospital webpage) so be sure to check back!

We have been incredibly busy admitting 5 sea turtles in the last 6 days and have fallen behind getting them on the blog. Stay tuned for a post to introduce you to all the newest patients!