July 31, 2006
Or at least better news. While Lola has not yet started with the poo, she has started eating on her own. Thanks to the patient weekend volunteers, Lola started eating squid this weekend. We are currently limiting her intake until we know her system is moving well but it is a good sign that she is interested in food. Even the little bit of calories she is getting is a big boost to her overall health.
Lola gives us the “stink eye”.
It takes a good long time for a turtle to starve to death (don’t have an exact number but it’s certainly months) and Lola was certainly on her way. It looks like she may be past that point. Another good sign today was that she tried to crawl off the gurney when having her face scrubbed. She didn’t get too far because she is still very weak but we love to see that bad attitude come out.
July 28, 2006
Here is Lola getting the spa treatment at the LMC. Some of our great volunteers are removing barnacles and leech eggs while Lola receives fluids and medical treatment. She was force fed a bit of fish yesterday and today in hopes of getting that digestive system working but she still not eaten on her own.
On another note, Frappuccino was released by our friends at FWC today. This turtle played ambassador at a surf camp in Stuart. While learning about turtles the would-be surfers got to witness Frappuccino’s release. Let’s hope Frappy converted some of those kids to turtle fans.
July 27, 2006
Here are some shots from Kali’s release (thanks Chris for the stretcher-bearers shot). She is so big and strong that she has the potential to break a rib if she hit someone so we had to do something different from our standard release procedure. 314 pounds of mad turtle is not something to be taken lightly (sorry about the pun). This was the largest turtle that we have released here at the center (thanks to Jeff for the stats).
She was placed in a large manatee sling – she was put on her back to keep her from crawling out of the sling. Then she was driven to the beach in a pick up truck and carried down to the water by a bunch of really strong volunteers and the guys from the power plant. Once placed on the beach she practically launched herself out of the sling (you can see Ed dodging her below). Man, she was big and beautiful and awesome to have around for a few days.
July 26, 2006
And more poo is a good thing! Dr. Mettee came by for rounds today and was able to remove more material from Lola’s lower G.I. tract. (If you are curious about how that happens, let’s just say that it involves a very long glove – and the good Doctor hopes to never have to do it again.) The fact that the material was not there on Saturday – which means that it has actually moved from higher in the colon – is great news.
While she is by no means out of the woods, it is a bit of improvement. The stricture that was encountered on Saturday seems to be gone. This means it was not a permanent defect and so surgery would appear to be ruled out of the picture for now. The next week is very important – her system needs to start working well on it’s own but we are all pleased with today’s progress.
Below is an x-ray of Lola’s left side showing some of the shell material in her intestines. There is 3 times that much material on the right side. (The x-ray is backwards because that is how vets look at them).
Lola’s x-ray: A – barnacles, B – intestine filled with shell, C – left knee
July 25, 2006
At some point this blog would turn to the subject of turtle poo. It was just a question of whether it would be sooner or later – looks like it is sooner.
Wild animals are not inclined to not eat. If a wild animal is not eating, there is something terribly wrong. This is so in Lola’s case. She is not eating because nothing in her gut is moving. So far the meds have not produced the desired effect of stimulating her digestive system. On Saturday Dr. Mettee physically removed some material (sand dollars) that had collected near the cloaca but we have had no improvement since then. We fear this means there is a constriction in the intestines that has shut her down. The only solution is surgery if we don’t get a change – but she is not in the best of health for surgery either. She also seems to be fading a bit – not a good sign.
It’s an odd thing to have an entire group of people hoping to see turtle poo when they arrive in the morning – but such is life in world of sea turtle rehab.
What can you do to help? You can do what we are doing here at the center – pray for poo.
July 22, 2006
So, she’s anemic and drastically underweight. Her x-rays show plenty of shell material in her gut and what appears to be a collapsed right lung. We’re not sure the shell material is moving so we are going to treat with some drugs specifically to help that. Fortunately she is strong enough to have supervised pool time during the day but is currently being dry docked at night. She ate a bit today (with some very strong encouragement from us; we placed squid in her mouth against her wishes, she did not spit it back out). Still keep those fingers crossed – she has got a long way to go before she is even close to being stabilized. Lola’s page
In other turtle news: Gloria and Jay did get released via a boat trip out to the sea weed last week. And we have several turtles that are looking good to go soon. Pending some final blood work, we may be sending Ephie and Hugo on their merry way in the next few weeks.
July 21, 2006
Yesterday, when the FPL guys came to help, they also brought along Lola. This is one seriously skinny and barnacley (is that a word?) loggerhead. She is almost adult size – short by 3 cm. We suspect it’s a female because of the very short tail; we would expect a male to be showing a larger tail at this size even though it is shy of the “adult” size classification.
She was seen offshore near the power plant and one of the sea turtle biologists up there swam out to get her. As weak as she is it’s amazing she hadn’t already drowned out there. We are hoping she has enough strength to be placed in water – we really would like her to get some nutrition, preferably by eating on her own. So far we have no clue as to why she is in this condition. Keep your fingers crossed for this one. . .