All Turtle Patients

Meet Cocoa, A Juvenile Hawksbill

Cocoa was a resident of Como Coco Resort and came to us via Marine Savers.

Intake Date: 31st December 2018
Length: 52 cm
Weight: 11.8 kg
Status: Deceased 9th February 2019

Cocoa was adopted by Monika Leuenberger.

Cocoa was very sick and buoyant when she arrived. We performed X-ray and ultrasound examinations and discovered she has left-sided pneumonia and severely thickened and distended guts. We could not see plastic or a foreign body stuck at the time, but considered it a possibility.

We continued to scan her to monitor her guts for any changes. We also did a “barium study” of her gut. This is where we fed her something that shows up on X-ray so we can watch it pass through and find any blockage that may be making her guts so large. Gut transit time in sea turtles are varied, with healthy turtles taking on average 5-16 days. Debilitated sea turtles can take much longer, so we had to X-ray Cocoa over many days. Luckily Cocoa passed all her barium after 4 1/2 days with no sign of any blockage.

After a couple of weeks at the Rescue Centre, Cocoa appeared to be doing better and started eating. She was very underweight so we started feeding her up over a few days, but then she stopped eating again.

We performed a repeat ultrasound and found that some parts of her guts looked better; less thickened and moving a bit better. However, there was one section that looks like it could be blocked. She was treated with drugs for her gut and pneumonia and we surgically placed a feeding tube to ensure she got food every day.

Cocoa then deteriorated and appeared to go back to looking quite sick. She pulled her stomach tube out so she needed another surgery to replace it. Despite giving her just a small amount of sedation as she has had before, this time she reacted badly to the anaesthetic and died 6 hours after surgery.

At post mortem we discovered severe gut disease and pneumonia as we had noted on the X-ray. We are deeply saddened by her passing as we have spent the past 40 days intensively caring for her to try and pull her through her illness.