Species: Green sea turtle
Arrival Date: September 27, 2016
Stranding Location: Palm Beach, FL
Initial Weight: 9.81 lbs.
Current Weight: 10.38 lbs.
Issue: Old Boat Strike and Intestinal Issue
Current Condition: Improving
Rudder was found on Palm Beach. There is an old injury to its carapace and rear flippers, probably caused by a boat propeller. There is spinal damage. The organs underneath the injury may have been affected. Radiographs show a large amount of food and gas in the intestines. Bloodwork shows a high white cell count indicating a systemic infection. We will be cleaning the wound daily and treating with honey.
This turtle is progressing well and responding to therapy as desired.
There is a minor issue that we are working to resolve.
More details to follow.
03/14/2018 – Because Rudder was unable to pass solid feces and unable to pass solid contrast medium, a colonoscopy was attempted to determine the cause of the condition. It turned out that a large fecal mass was forming in a pocket in the lower intestinal tract that appeared to be from nerve damage from the boat/prop strike more than 18 months earlier. That area was distended like a balloon and was trapping all solid wastes. Given that we had attempted all medical treatments known to eliminate the mass (enemas, mineral oil, motility stimulants, mechanical removal, etc.) with no success and surgery was not an option, a quality of life decision had to be made and the turtle was humanely euthanized. A necropsy was then performed that confirmed limited blood supply and lack of nerve supply to the lower intestine. Clearly, nothing we could have done differently would have changed the outcome and it was amazing that we were able to keep the turtle alive as long as we did.
03/09/2018 – The contrast medium is failing to pass through the turtle.
03/01/2018 – The contrast medium was given more than two weeks ago and none of the contrast medium has passed since that time.
02/23/2018 – The turtle is undergoing a contrast medium radiology study.
02/14/2018 – There has been no significant change with Rudder this week
02/07/2018 – Intestinal stimulant does not appear to be having any effect.
01/31/2018 – Rudder has been taken off antibiotics and has been placed on an intestinal stimulant again.
01/25/2018 – No change.
01/17/2018 – The turtle is passing the oral mineral oil well enough to discontinue the treatment.
01/10/2018 – Rudder’s white cell count is within normal limits. The turtle has started to pass mineral oil that has been administered via gastric tube. This indicates that the things are passing through the intestines.
12/27/2017 – Rudder’s white count is slowly coming down with the new treatment.
12/21/2017 – Rudder’s gut stimulating drug was discontinued. The turtle was started on antibiotics.
11/29/2017 – We are continuing to manually remove feces and debris from the cloaca and monitor the situation.
11/22/2017 – No change.
11/15/2017 – Slow progress continues.
11/08/2017 – There has been some progress, but we still need to monitor this patient closely.
11/01/2017 – Rudder is still having difficulties passing feces. We are continuing to monitor this.
10/25/2017 – Manual fecal extractions have continued. The feces that was removed contained some plastic. The feces is moving along better since the start of treatment.
10/19/2017 – Rudder is still having difficulties passing feces. We have done a barium enema to assess the situation. We are now manually removing feces from the colon.
09/27/2017 – There are still signs of slow intestinal emptying time. We have increased the dose for the motility stimulant drug.
09/19/2017 – Rudder did well during transportation and ate aggressively while at the Georgia Aquarium. Rudder is adjusting well to being back at LMC.
09/17/2017 – Our patients have returned home! We are so thankful for the Georgia Aquarium for taking in our patients during this storm.
09/07/2017 – All of our sea turtle patients have evacuated to the Georgia Aquarium due to Hurricane Irma. They will remain there with a member of our staff until it is safe to return. For all of our preparation for Hurricane Irma visit HERE.
08/31/2017 – There now appears to be some movement of the gut contents, so we are continuing to monitor.
08/23/2017 – There is still no movement of the gut contents, so the dose of motility stimulant will be increased.
08/16/2017 – The Barium pellets still have not moved. A medication has been started to stimulate intestinal motility.
08/10/2017 – The barium pellets have not passed. A colonoscopy procedure was performed. No Blockages were found.
08/02/2017 – The barium pellet study is continuing. It usually takes about two weeks for the pellets to pass. We are considering doing a colonoscopy next week.
07/27/2017 – Rudder has been given barium pellets for a radiography study to determine source of ongoing intestinal issues.
07/05/2017 – Rudder received a new antibiotic that has helped bring his white cell count down to nearly normal.
06/08/2017 – Rudder’s white cell count has increased. The treatment plan has been modified.
05/03/2017 – Rudder’s white cell count has been variable, but the turtle is doing well overall.
04/06/2017 – The turtle has a repeatedly elevated white blood cell count. The antibiotics have just been changed.
03/08/2017 – The turtle continues to show improvement.
02/08/2017 – Rudder’s white cell count is showing a continuous improvement. Treatments will be continued.
01/25/2017 – Final blood culture results were negative. The turtle is continuing with the current treatment.
01/12/2017 – A blood culture was taken, but so far the results are negative. Antibiotics have been started for an elevated white cell count
01/04/2017 – Due to a persistent high white count, a sample was taken for blood culture.
12/09/2016 – Rudder’s white cell count has decreased slightly but is still elevated.
11/10/2016 – Rudder’s white cell count has increased. The treatment plan has been adjusted accordingly.
11/02/2016 – Rudder is now eating well and no longer has constipation issues.
10/20/2016 – Rudder has not been eating well. The turtle has had some constipation issues.
10/14/2016 – Rudder’s wound is healing rapidly and the white cell count has begun to improve.
09/27/2016 – Rudder was found on Palm Beach. There is an old injury to its carapace and rear flippers, probably caused by a boat propeller. There is spinal damage. The organs underneath the injury may have been affected. Radiographs show a large amount of food and gas in the intestines. Bloodwork shows a high white cell count indicating a systemic infection. We will be cleaning the wound daily and treating with honey.