Earlier this week, our Animal Rescue team responded to a report of a live-stranded loggerhead sea turtle at Assateague Island National Seashore. National Park Service biologists assisted with rescuing the debilitated turtle from the beach, and National Aquarium staff triaged and transported the turtle to Baltimore to be admitted for rehabilitation.
On admittance to rehab, our staff identified that the animal was underweight, lethargic, and medically compromised. Admitting an 88 pound sea turtle requires a team effort of at least 4 staff, though we were lucky enough to have a team of 7 for this patient.
Animal Rescue staff fill out required paperwork, take photos, and monitor/record basic vitals of the animal being admitted (breathing rate, temperature, heart rate, weight, etc), while veterinary technicians take x-rays, collect and process biological samples (blood, urine, etc), and administer prescribed medications. The veterinarian performs a physical exam, reviews test results and vitals, and prescribes necessary medications, tests, and treatments.
Our newest patient is in guarded condition, though has made some improvements since admittance to rehab. He is still too weak to swim on his own, so our staff are acting as lifeguards while the turtle has supervised swim time throughout the day. For this turtle, swim time is important as it helps stimulate his breathing, increases his heart rate, helps stimulate muscles, and will hopefully stimulate his appetite – these are all good things for a chronically tired, emaciated turtle.
We’ll continue to post updates on our newest patient, so stay tuned for the latest!