The Turtle Hospital. Rescue, Rehab, Release.



Arrival Date: February 2, 2024


Patient Profile

Name: Bubbles

Species: Green Sea Turtle

Weight: 21.6 pounds

Reason for visit: Boat Strike

Location Found: Islamorada, FL

Status Report

02/02/24: Rescued offshore by Islamorada, Bubbles was found after being struck by a boat resulting in a crack to her shell and additional small wounds found to her rear limbs. Rehab staff begin evaluating Bubbles performing initial diagnostics such as radiographs (X-Rays), MRI, and bloodwork to understand the extent of her injury. Radiographs confirmed there was no Positive Buoyancy Disorder (“Bubble Butt”) present or spinal injury, but Bubbles had sustained internal injuries due to the crack in her shell. Due to the location of the strike and depth of wound Bubbles lungs were exposed. For this type of injury Bubbles will be “Dry Docked” for a week to help her lungs recover before being placed back in the water for her hospital tank. Rehab staff will work to stabilize Bubble’s shell and provide supportive care to help her return to the wild. (Dry Docking is when a sea turtle is placed in a small dry tank without water, products like Vaseline are used to keep their skin hydrated. Sea turtles can survive out of water for days with proper support since just like people they breathe air.)  

02/15/24: Healing an injured shell can be a long process for some turtles, Bubbles is receiving daily wound care which includes a physical exam, bandage changes, measurements and images to monitor her progress, along with repeat diagnostics if needed. To help stabilize the shell out rehab team uses a combination of topical antimicrobials to fill the internal space to assist in prevention of infection and promote healing, waterproof bandaging to protect the wound, and metal braces to provide external support for the shell to regrow and close in the right shape. For Bubbles she has one of the original hotel bronze keys used to help support her shell. Due to the size of the wound rehab staff got creative and used the old key which was a perfect fit and weight for this injury.  

02/26/24: The hard work of our rehab staff is paying off with wound care exams slowly but surely improving Bubbles shell. During the wound care exam today the large opening once seen when Bubbles arrived earlier this month is now closing, with just a small space still open. The bronze hotel key is still in place to support her shell but will be removed later as long as her shell continues to improve. Did you know the individual parts of the shell are called Scoots? These unique pieces together create their shell and are ever growing and shedding. Pretty cool right? 

03/11/24: Bubbles is on a mission to get better, she has been a very good patient for the rehab staff during her daily wound care exams. As a reward for after her exams Bubbles loves to snack on some vegetables in her hospital tank before taking a long nap to rest. Keep up the hard work Bubbles, we are rooting for you!

04/17/24: Wound care is going swimmingly for Bubbles! Her Shell continues to look better with each wound care recheck. Bubbles personality is starting to shine through and is a very outgoing and curious young sea turtle. Rehab staff decided to switch her to a new hospital tank that features a side under water window – how cool is that! Bubbles loves to see the many guests who visit our hospital through the window, swimming down close to see and even displaying more activity. We are so proud of Bubbles. 

05/21/24: Bubbles has come a long way in her recovery journey here at the Turtle Hospital. While she still receives wound care to her shell, Bubbles does not mind the extra attention from the rehab team. Bubbles loves her vegetables and wastes no time to come to the surface to eat every last piece. Stay tuned for more on Bubbles or come say hello during your visit to the Turtle Hospital, she may even give you a flipper wave through her under water window of her hospital tank!

05/27/24: Ms. Bubbles has been the talk of the hospital recently. She is incredibly outgoing and loves to show off her swimming skills to all that will watch. The rehab staff decided to give her a tank upgrade and is not located in our larger hurricane tanks at the front of the facility. Bubbles has been playing with all her new enrichment toys and continues to improve daily. She is still receiving wound care to the crack in her shell, but has been the best patient her rehab team during exams and treatment. Great job Bubbles!

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