Loggerhead Sea Turtle #18-0952

Loggerhead Sea Turtle #18-0952
Apr 05 2018

A sub-adult female loggerhead was admitted after being found floating near Cayo Costa. Veterinarians say she is severely debilitated, emaciated and covered in epibiota with weeks old injuries (a skull fracture and flipper wound with exposed bone) likely due to a boat propeller. She is currently being treated with IV fluid therapy, antibiotics and nutrition.

Once stabilized, she will need surgery to repair her flipper and a CT scan to determine the extent of the skull injury.

Status Updates

Placed in Shallow Water Tank - Apr 10 2018 11:15 am

The turtle has shown improved mentality and was placed in a shallow freshwater tank today. As a result of being in freshwater, much of the epibiota has began to die and fall off. The turtle began swimming and even ate some squid. Veterinarians hoping by next week, the turtle will be stable enough to perform the CT scan on its head and address its injured flipper.

Potassium Levels Up - Apr 13 2018 2:55 pm

Blood tested today revealed the turtle's potassium levels have increased and remained up since the last fluid therapy treatment. For the time being, fluid therapy has been discontinued as long as the potassium levels remain within normal limits. The turtle has began eating soft food, such as squid with the beaks removed, well on its own including over 20 squid in one feeding. Rehabilitators plan to start offering other items such as fish and crabs.

Update - Apr 18 2018 11:06 am

According to the veterinary staff and rehab team, a turtle's skull has two layers. Based on radiographs, they do not believe that the turtle's skull fracture penetrates past the first layer, meaning the brain is not affected. A computed tomography (CT) scan is being planned in the near future to confirm if this is the case.

Gaining Weight - Apr 24 2018 10:45 am

The loggerhead was weighed in recently at 38 kg (83.7 lbs) which is up from its intake weight of 34.3 kg (75.6 lbs).

Flipper Surgery - Apr 26 2018 1:15 pm

A minor surgery on the injured flipper was performed today. The purpose of the surgery was to remove exposed bone fragments where the injury had occurred. Once the fragments were removed, the wound was able to be closed with sutures.

CT Scan Scheduled - May 04 2018 2:43 pm

A computed tomography (CT) scan has been scheduled for the loggerhead sea turtle on this upcoming Tuesday. This scan will help veterinarians determine the extent of the injury on the turtle's skull. Due to the amount of travel and stress involved with this procedure, veterinarians had to be sure the turtle was stable and eating on its own before it could be scheduled.

CT Scan - May 08 2018 3:17 pm

The loggerhead was taken to our friends at Specialized Veterinary Services in Fort Myers this morning for a computed tomography (CT) scan. The scans are being reviewed by a Diagnostic Radiologist and the results will determine the true extent of the skull injury.

Weigh-in - May 17 2018 11:06 am

The loggerhead was weighed in today at 41.4 kilograms (about 91 pounds). When she arrived at the hospital, she weighed just 34.3 kilograms (about 76 pounds). We are still waiting for the results of her CT scan last week to be returned from the Diagnostic Radiologist, but rehabilitation staff say she has continued to improve.

CT Scan Results - May 25 2018 9:52 am

The results of the CT scan were received yesterday afternoon. Unfortunately, they revealed the worst fears that the skull fracture was causing swelling in the brain, a condition which is untreatable. The turtle's health began to decline this week and coupled with the grim news, an extremely difficult decision was made to humanely euthanize.