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Turtle Assistance Day 1

Aug 21 2010
by Daniel Gray, DVM

Hello everybody!
I started my first day at the Audubon institute and had quite a day!

Currently there are 160-180 turtles consisting of Kemps Ridleys, greens, hawkbills, and loggerheads, in hospital along with one bottlenose dolphin. The turtles started coming to the Audubon Institute in May and some have been at the institute since the beginning.

The day started at 8a and ended at 7p.  I started the day by receivinga tour of the facility. Then we proceeded to perform morning treatments. Between myself and Dr. Pelton we dealt with 20-30 turtles today. During treatments each turtle gets fluids for sure. Then some turtles get iron injections for anemia, calcium injections for low calcium, force feeding if weak and debilitated, or antibiotics/antifungals if appropriate. The records are reviewed for all turtles we contact and further treatments are scheduled accordingly. After we were finished with treatments for the morning lasting about 4 hours we broke for a quick lunch. After lunch we discovered flipper the dolphin managed to get one of his hoola-hoops that he plays with stuck in his teeth. Dr. Pelton, a former dolphin trainer jumped in and managed to convince flipper to stay still enough to remove the stuck hoop. After this excitement we collected 5 turtles that needed to be xrayed yet and set to work taking xrays of fidgety turtles. During this time we found out the boats run by NOAA and Lousinana Fish and Game were turned around due to tropical depression 5 and so we knew we would not be receiving any more turtles that evening. So to finish the night we sat in the lab and looked through and interpreted lab work and xrays from some of the turtles that had blood draws the previous week. This closed out our evening and I am looking forward to an eventlful day tomorrow.