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LK-KLC-12-09-24-01    Kemp’s Ridley   10.56 lb
10/24/12 at 6:30 a.m. Wed 10/24/12 N.E.S.T. Rehab volunteer Rita Jenkins and I picked up the little Kemp’s Ridley from Rehab with the help of Aquarist Kristin Clark who has taken over “sea turtle rehab duty” while Christian Legner has been lolling about on a beach with new husband Dave. We understand; we’re not sure Hernando de Soto does. All photos taken at NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine are by rehabber Rita Jenkins.

Dr. Greg Lewbart and soon-to-be Dr. Jennifer Beasley examined
Hernando de Soto when he arrived.

The day at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine in Raleigh, NC was so much more than we had expected. After registering the little Kemp’s, Dr. Greg Lewbart, DVM, Exotic Medical Animal Service, greeted us with a huge smile outside the building as we were carrying Hernando in! How welcoming is that! The tone was set for the day. Dr. Lewbart kept us with Hernando and those examining this turtle all day. As volunteers, we had expected to be waiting for Hernando to be returned to us after all his tests. Thank you, Dr. Lewbart and staff, for not only teaching us but being so caring of our little Hernando de Soto, brought in with the fear we would not be taking him back to N.E.S.T. Rehab.

The little Kemp’s was wheeled thru the halls to the recently opened, state-of-the-art, Terry Center: 30 exam rooms, 10 surgery suites, intensive care  unit, pharmacy capable of compounding drugs, etc. So many people on the way wanted to see our little “explorer,” commenting on his great name and how cool he is. He was quite a star, promoted by Dr. Lewbart at every opportunity! Thank you, Dr. Lewbart! Second stop was for a CT Scan in the Terry Center.  Followed by a neurological exam of Hernando de Soto by Dr. Peter Easley while in that area. Dr. Easley explained his findings to us while Dr. Mason Savage read the x-rays from the CT Scan. Then everyone decided we needed a photo of the colorful  Dr. Savage with little Hernando de Soto:

Eventually, we returned to the orginal area and awaited discharge information.

The assessment was that Hernando’s exam showed no trauma to the brain or his body; he might have been exposed to a toxin but changes should have occurred during the month he has been in Rehab if that were true; his neurological exam showed good muscle tone and eye response. There may be some forebrain damage from lack of oxygen if he had been in a situation which prevented his surfacing to breathe. That could possibly partially correct itself over time. His blood work revealed a very elevated white cell count, indicating his body is fighting invaders such as bacteria. Hernando is now receiving an injection every 72 hours to fight that, being given fluids as necessary to prevent dehydration, and being force fed twice a week until he is able to eat.

We are much more optimistic about this little guy. We hope you will follow his progress!