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A green sea turtle

Poppy has been doing much better since her near-death experience.

Our Sea Turtle Healing Center takes in patients needing all levels of care, from recovery from debilitation to those needing lifesaving amputations. We also serve as one of the only critical care centers in the area, so when local turtles need emergency care, they often are brought to our doorstep. 

Poppy was brought to us by the Sea Turtle Preservation Society after being found struggling on the surface of the water near the Sebastian Saltwater Marina Restaurant’s dock. While the severity of Poppy’s condition was not immediately known, it soon became clear that this was a dangerous situation for the little turtle.  

This green sea turtle was rushed to our Healing Center around closing time with severe anemia and hypoproteinemia, or low protein levels in the blood. Sea Turtle Program Manager, Shanon Gann, said Poppy was “on death’s door” upon arrival. Our veterinary team quickly worked together, breaking into teams, to perform an emergency blood transfusion. One group began drawing blood from the donor turtle, McNubbins, while another team was preparing Poppy for the procedure. McNubbins has donated blood to four sick patients while she has been waiting for a forever home. 

“Poppy was dehydrated, so it was difficult to find intravenous access. Our three certified veterinary nurses took turns slowly pushing a total of 50 ml (about 1.69 oz) of blood into Poppy’s sickly little, 4 kg body,” recalled Shanon.  

In the end, the transfusion was successful! Poppy’s heart rate, respiratory rate, blood glucose and hydration levels were monitored closely afterwards to ensure the little turtle was continuing to do well.  

Poppy is still suffering from some anemia but is slowly recovering and being treated with a well-rounded diet and nutritional supplements. The green sea turtle has also shown an interest in the provided “itchies”. These PVC enrichments are a favorite of Poppy for carapace scratches. 

While we love tending to Poppy, we hope we can say goodbye and send this green home to the ocean soon. We will keep you updated on Poppy’s journey with us. Keep a close eye on our Facebook to catch sea turtle release updates and more Sea Turtle Healing Center content!

Have you found a sea turtle that needs help? Visit this page or call the Sea Turtle Preservation Society at 321-206-0646. Want to help the Sea Turtle Healing Center? Support our Zoo, or view our Healing Center’s wishlist.