Rocky's Tracking Statistics
Tag Date: February 15, 2023
* All work was performed under Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission permit MTP-275. These maps do not constitute publication. All maps and data may not be used or referenced without expressed written consent from LMC.
Species: Carretta carretta (Loggerhead Sea Turtle)
Date Tagged: Satellite transmitter was placed on February 15, 2023
Location When Tagged: Juno Beach, FL
Rocky is a 238-pound female loggerhead sea turtle that presented on Dec 30th, as a "floater." She had evidence of prior trauma, probably a boat strike, to her carapace (top shell). While this wound had healed well, it was suspected that the trauma had resulted in pneumocoelom, a condition in which the lung suffers a tear, allowing air to escape into the body cavity. After stabilization and treatment of secondary infections, she was taken to Jupiter Medical Center for a CT (computed tomography) scan.
The scan showed that there was indeed a large amount of air in the coelom and that her lungs were being compressed by all this free air to about 1/4 of their normal capacity. Coelomocentesis, using a long needle to drain the air from the body cavity, alone was ineffective in resolving the pneumocoelom, suggesting a large and persistent tear in the lung wall. Therefore, a blood patch pleurodesis was performed, which involved taking blood from her vein and putting it into the coelom to help seal the lung defect.
This procedure is novel and has just been submitted for publication in conjunction with 3 cases from 3 other facilities. She responded well to this treatment and immediately demonstrated neutral buoyancy that was maintained for a few weeks. Follow-up imaging and bloodwork were all within normal limits and she was cleared for release. Because blood patch pleurodesis is a fairly novel procedure in sea turtles, a satellite transmitter was placed to be able to monitor Rocky and help to assess the efficacy of the procedure in treating this common ailment.
Update 2/15/2023: Rocky was released from Juno Beach, Florida on February 15, 2023.