Big Kahuna

Kahuna, a 185 lb adult female Loggerhead sea turtle found on August 22, 2010 with approximately 60% of her left front flipper missing and several other deep lacerations from a shark attack. Despite 9 months of rehabilitation and surgical repair, osteomyelitis (infection of the bone) and and septic arthritis persisted.

She was aggressively treated for 1 year with a combination of surgeries and antibiotics, however, she progressively became anorexic, lethargic, and depressed once treatment stopped. A potential release threatened her life as she would likely not survive on her own.

In hopes of getting Kahuna stable and healthy, she began hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Kahuna arrives at the Equine Hyperbaric Center of South Florida

Kahuna received 18 hyperbaric oxygen treatments over 6 weeks and was treated with Amikacin injections (an antibiotic used for a number of bacterial infections including joint infections, intra-abdominal infections, meningitis, pneumonia, sepsis, and urinary tract infections) just prior to HBOT sessions.

Radiographs showed progressive healing. After HBOT treatment and antibiotics were discontinued, she continued to eat and was rehabilitated to swimming on her own. Kahuna was successfully released back into the ocean 1 year after the initial HBOT treatment. Kahuna has been monitored with a tracking device for 2 years and has migrated as any other sea turtle would normally do.