Toni, a sub-adult Loggerhead, was admitted March 3rd 2010. She was found floating near Key Colony Beach. Toni was thin and weak but responded immediately to offered squid. However staff quickly realized she was unable to feed herself. Toni is most likely suffering from a condition known as “lock jaw.” Unfortunately there are few documented cases of lock jaw and little is known about it. The common theory is that the afflicted sea turtle may have injested or come in contact with a toxin. Since the toxin is unknown the only available treatment is physical therapy for the frozen jaw muscles. Everyday staff uses two ropes to pry Toni’s upper and lower jaw open and closed. This is repeated several times throughout the day and helps to excercise the stiff muscles. With therapy Toni should be able to open her mouth again and eventually eat on her own!
Update May 14th:
Toni has begun eating small squid on her own! Throughout the past week Toni has improved so much that she can eat nearly 30 squid a day! Her physical therapy for lock jaw continues. It will take more time for Toni to be able to completely open her mouth and eat like a Loggerhead sea turtle should.
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