Medical Care of Stranded Sea Turtles
IAAAM 1988
M.T. Walsh, DVM; F. Murru, MS; T. McHenry, BS

Stranded Sea Turtles are periodically presented to Sea World of Florida for evaluation and treatment. Abnormalities have included trauma (prop wounds, impact, shark bite) entanglement (crab trap lines) cold shock, neonatal compromise, infection and etiology unknown. Species involved have included Greens (Chelonia mydas) Loggerheads (Carretta cannetta) Leatherbacks (Dermochelys coriacea) and Hawksbill (Eratmochelys imbricata). Turtles have ranged in size from 25 gms to 113.6 kg. General care principles such as rehydration with oral fluids with dextrose and force feeding were utilized on a regular basis. Blood samples for CBC's serum chemistries and electrolytes were taken during initial evaluation. Antibiotics administered included Amikacin (1.5 mg per pound every 4 days for 3 injections) Gentamicin (1.5 mg/lb Q 4 days) and Chloramphenicol. Environmental manipulation included initial maintenance in fresh water for 2-5 days and long term maintenance in chlorinated water (0.5 - 1.0 ppm). All individuals received B-complex injection during fluid therapy and those appearing grossly debilitated with large wounds were given an injection of Vitamin A (100,000 i.u./150 pounds). Wounds were cleaned on a regular basis usually every 2 - 7 days. Total recuperation time varied according to the problems encountered and may exceed 2 - 6 months with the presence of massive trauma.

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Michael T. Walsh, DVM
SeaWorld of Florida
Orlando, FL, USA

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