TOPSAIL ISLAND, NORTH CAROLINA, USA
Age 5-7 years
Stranding Date: 6/24/98
|THE INJURY or ILLNESS:||This sea turtle was found near the mouth of Wade Creek in Smyrna, NC. The are injuries are consistent with boat propeller cuts. The wounds run the length of the carapace on both sides of the spine.|
|The sea turtle was transported
to the North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine. Here
the carapace and wounds were cleaned and dead tissue removed. The
spinal column had been nicked in one area.
Initially, there was radiographic evidence of spinal cord trauma and it was thought the sea turtle was paralyzed from the injury. Euthanasia seemed the only option. However after an observation period of about two days the turtle's flippers started to move.
The veterinary doctors and students then repaired the carapace. Dr. Denis Marcellin designed and applied large orthopedic plates and two sets of stainless steel screws and wires to stabilize the carapace. The hardware for such an undertaking, which runs about $1,000.00, has been loaned to us by the College of Veterinary Medicine as well as donating all labor costs.
The KBSTRRC received this sea turtle 6/30/98. The wounds are packed with gauze and then covered with 3 full sheets of Tegaderm, an artificial (human) skin. The wounds need to be debrided every 3-4 days, flushed, repacked with gauze and covered with Tegaderm. Additionally the turtle received injections of Amikacin and Clindamycine.
|THE PROGNOSIS:||Smyrna is now able to be fully submerged in water to her great delight. She continues to move her flippers. She is eating on her own. The ability of the sea turtles to heal from these grotesque wounds is amazing. But the recovery has only just begun. There are more steps to be taken before we can be sure everything is functioning as it should.|
|Smyrna is a very peppy sea turtle. She endured the wound debridement like the trooper she is. The wounds continue to heal.|
|All hands on deck Ready to remove plates and 18 screws Plates removed Holes and indentations from plates|
Windy, Bettie and JR.
Happy Camper in the water 4/99
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