Turtle Patient 194: Spirit, Sub-Adult Olive Ridley

Turtle patient Spirit, olive ridley. Image.

Spirit was found floating by Prodivers Komandoo in Lhaviyani Atoll on 21 August 2022. She was unable to dive despite sharks circling below and not swimming away from divers approaching her.

The Vitals

Intake Date: 22 August 2022
Patient Number: 194
Rescue Location: Lhaviyani Atoll
Reason: Found floating
Transport Method: 2 seaplanes
Status: Deceased 30 August 2022

Species: Olive ridley
Scientific Name: Lepidochelys olivacea
Sex: Unknown
Age: Aub-Adult
Length: 58 cm
Weight: 19.3 kg

The Adoptive Parents

Spirit has kindly been adopted by Peter Teters.

Spirit’s Story

Spirit arrived at the Rescue Centre after two seaplane flights and a speed boat ride. On physical examination, we found no major external injuries. She was also very energetic. However, she has severe swelling in the inguinal regions with a dome-shaped carapace, protruding eyes, and prolapse of the cloaca.

X-rays confirm pneumocoelom (gas in the body cavity) and distended gas-filled intestines which require further investigation. We have given her pain relief and fluids and placed her in a medium tank overnight for close monitoring.

28 August 2022
Spirit is still severely swollen around her shoulder and neck regions and around her back legs. This indicates she still has air in her body outside of her lungs, a condition called pneunomcaelom. A coelomocentesis was performed on August 25th; essentially this means we drained the air out of her body cavity using a needle, but air accumulated again after she took breaths. This suggests the possibility of a lung tear. Thus, her condition is described as unstable, and her prognosis is guarded. We will try again to drain the air after 1 week and hope the any lung injury has healed in this time frame.

30 August 2022
Despite our best efforts, Spirit passed away today. Due to the lack of entanglement injuries, it is likely that her buoyancy issues were related to lung damage. The presence of air outside of her lungs is a very difficult condition to treat and, unfortunately, she was too unwell to pull through.