Diagnosing Sea Turtles

Written on March 15, 2013 by Sommer Aweidah Hospital: Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital

On Wednesday, doctors at Mass Vet had the opportunity to work on two rescued sea turtles brought to us by the New England Aquarium and their Marine Animal Rescue Program.

Dr. Jennifer Brisson preparing the turtle for a CT Scan

In this case two Kemp’s ridley sea turtles have been suffering from chronic pneumonia.  Kristle Weadick, CVT, one of our experienced radiology technicians, Dr. Jennifer Brisson, one of our boarded radiologists and Dr. Charlie Innis, the Aquarium’s head veterinarian and a renowned turtle specialist, collaborated on anesthetizing and running a CT scan on each of the two turtles.

The CT Scans produce 3D images, in this case of the lungs, allowing doctors to isolate the area of concern, diagnose the disease and pinpoint ideal locations for biopsy. The scans on the second turtle showed a section of lung that concerned the doctors. As a result they decided to take a biopsy of the lung to determine the type of infection and allow the Rescue Program team to treat accordingly.

Drs. Blake and Brisson discussing the biopsy procedure and placement.

Once the decision to biopsy the lung was made, Dr. Cara Blake, a board certified veterinary surgeon, came in to work with Dr. Brisson to prepare and perform the biopsy.

As you can imagine having sea turtles at the hospital is always an exciting change of pace for our animal-loving staff, and Wednesday was no exception! We love being able to play a part in the health and well being of the greater New England wildlife population, even if it is only once in a while! Thank you New England Aquarium for letting us be a part of your important rescue efforts!

Click here for more information and their version of the day’s activities. Special thanks to Connie Merigo for letting us use the great pictures she took!
New England Aquarium Facebook Page

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