The Sea Turtle Healing Center cares for sick or injured sea turtles found primarily along the nearby Florida coast. While this facility is not open to the public, the effects of its work impact local sea turtle populations. An in-county facility means a shorter drive for patients, resulting in less stress and quicker treatment for distressed turtles.
Species: Kemp’s ridley
Date admitted: February 18, 2022
Stranding location: Indian River County
Admission notes: This sub-adult Kemp’s ridley sea turtle was stranded on February 18 in Indian River County. They were found struggling to swim by a boater and brought to shore. This patient presented thin, dehydrated and had some deep lacerations on their front flippers. Radiographs uncovered a large bulla and pneumocoelom. This means they have a possible tear in their lung leaking air into their body cavity. Prosecco received a CT scan after intake, which confirmed what radiographs showed us. This can cause difficulty breathing, but Prosecco has been able to regulate their oxygen levels well and does not appear to show signs of distress. This condition has left this sea turtle buoyant, however, so they are unable to dive for food. Our volunteers help by trying to feed this patient with tongs. In attempts to close the tear, we have tried multiple blood patches and attempted relieving the extra air from their body, but they continue to refill with air. Surgery may be in this sea turtle’s near future to fix the tear.
March 24, 2022: Our staff reached out to multiple facilities to gather the proper tools to fix Prosecco’s lung tear. A few days before surgery, Prosecco’s behavior was more lethargic and not as active. On the day of surgery, their PCV was significantly lower than a couple of days prior. Once the veterinarians were in this turtle’s body cavity, there was a large amount of blood present, and the assumption was that it was from the damage to the lung. The surgery was a success and the lung was able to be repaired but they continued to bleed from an unknown location. During surgery, we were able to identify that Prosecco was a male! Unfortunately, shortly after starting recovery, staff noticed Prosecco had stopped responding to any stimulus and they started to decompensate. Staff attempted to resuscitate but they had lost too much blood. Necropsy revealed a very large blood clot in their body cavity and a possible tear in the vessels of the mesentery.
Have you found a sea turtle that needs help? Visit this page or call the Sea Turtle Preservation Society at 321-206-0646.