Monday, June 11, 2012

152-pound loggerhead admitted into South Carolina Aquarium

A 69 kg (152 lb) loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) was captured on June 7 by the SC Department of Natural Resources In-Water Program as part of an ongoing health and population assessment of sea turtles in the Western Atlantic. The turtle was caught just north of the Charleston Channel and suffered puncture wounds from the barb of a stingray captured in the same net. Thanks to the quick response to the team aboard the Lady Lisa research vessel, the animal was taken to shore and transported to the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital where it could receive treatment and monitoring of the wounds.

 "Charlie" is a beautiful loggerhead with healthy body score, excellent blood values (PCV 38%, TS 4.0), and a tail length that suggests this animal may be a male moving into maturity. Test are being performed to measure the level of testosterone in the blood which should give a definitive gender identity.

A ceftazadime (antibiotic) injection was administered. Blood gas values showed a minor acidosis (moderate lactates at 7.43 mmol/L) which was treated with bicarb in subcutaneous fluids.
Radiographs show a variety of radiodense materials like crab parts and snail shells in the gastrointestinal tract.
The 4" stingray barb was embedded in the front left flipper at the joint and punctured the ventral side of the neck.
The wounds were flushed well with sterile saline.
After all medical treatments were administered, Charlie was taken down into the Sea Turtle Hospital where he met Dewees, another loggerhead undergoing rehabilitation.
Bloodwork will be closely followed to watch the white blood cell count which often swings after stingray barb venom is released in the animal's tissue. Wounds will be monitored for necrosing tissue as a result of the "sting". Hopefully the exceptional health of this turtle will aid in healing these wounds quickly!

Visit Charlie and the other patients at the Sea Turtle Hospital. Tour days and times are listed here. Hope to see you soon!
Kelly Thorvalson