The Turtle Hospital. Rescue, Rehab, Release.

Karsten Released October 25!

Karsten was released off of Sombrero Beach in Marathon, Florida Keys and quickly swam away.  Pictured below in blue shirts are Mike Puto and Turtle Hospital staff Jo Ellen Basile, Tom Luebke, and Richie Moretti, along with several of a group of environmental journalists visiting the Keys and the Hospital this week (photo by Larry Benvenuti).

Karsten is a subadult loggerhead sea turtle that was found floating on May 24, 2011, in a local Marathon canal by homeowners. Turtle Hospital staff rescued him by scooping him into a net. He was brought in the Turtle Ambulance to the Hospital where he received medical attention and diagnostics. X-rays showed that Karsten had a fishhook in his jaw and another in his esophagus.


The fishhooks were expertly removed by our veterinarian, Dr. Doug Mader of Marathon Veterinary Hospital, using an endoscope and grabbing tool.  Animal planet veterinarian Dr.  Kevin Fitzgerald was visiting and filmed the surgery that day.

Karsten suffered from lockjaw as a result of his injuries and could not open his mouth to eat.  Animal care staff stretched his jaw daily and fed him squid using a tube to place the squid down his throat. After months of this labor-intensive therapy, Karsten began to open his mouth a little on his own and was able to eat a few small squid.  He passed his big test recently and was able to catch and eat a live lobster:  a sign that Karsten was ready to go home after five months of rehabilitation.

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