#67 Kaboom: On the way to recovery!

We've been following turtle #067—a rescued Kemp's ridley sea turtle—during rehabilitation after it washed up on a beach in Brewster, Massachusetts with hypothermia this fall. First she took a field trip for specialized diagnostics, then she had a brochoscopy and a laparoscopy. Today's post is an update on her recovery.

We would like to give you a quick update on Kaboom, a Kemp's ridley sea turtle that for a long time was our most critical patient.

Kaboom "showing off" her beautiful shell!

Back in January, Kaboom was transferred to the Veterinary Referral Hospital in Woburn, MA, for a CT scan, which revealed several areas of diseased lung and severe pneumonia. In the next couple of months Kaboom also underwent a bronchoscopy and a laparoscopy, to further diagnose the nature of her pneumonia and obtain some lung samples for better diagnosis.

Based on the bacteria that was isolated from her lung tissue, Kaboom's prognosis was very guarded, but we all felt she had a fighting chance. She was started on three different types of antibiotics that were given to her both through injections and by mouth. Kaboom's appetite was initially very poor and the rescue team volunteers and interns had to work very hard to get Kaboom to eat her medications.

Over the next few months, Kaboom grew stronger and stronger, her appetite increased and her overall appearance has changed dramatically. She morphed from this malnourished, skinny looking turtle with multiple scars and lesions on her shell and flippers to a beautiful, much healthier looking turtle. For those who have not seen her for longer periods of time, the transformation was so remarkable that many did not believe Kaboom was the same turtle they saw a few months ago.

Just recently our veterinary staff scheduled a convalescent CT scan to see if the overall improvement in Kaboom's condition would be reflected in the results from the CT scan of her lungs. Below are two images of Kaboom's lungs, one from January and one from May. Even for an untrained individual, the difference is remarkable! The lung area is the dark area in the upper half of the turtle, just under the carapace (upper shell).

Kaboom's January CT scan.

Kaboom's May CT scan.

As you can see by comparing these two images, the lungs in January, especially the right one, have many areas of diseased tissue marked by "white" patches. The same areas in May are almost completely dark, which is healthy lung tissue.

Kaboom on the CT table right before the procedure.

Shortly after the CT Kaboom was discontinued from all antibiotics and is on the way to recovery!

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