We performed a retrospective review of medical records for 574 eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina) that presented to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine (UTCVM) wildlife clinic between 1995 and 2007. These cases were reviewed to document and investigate the presenting complaints, as identified by a good Samaritan, final diagnoses, treatment modalities, days in hospital, and final disposition. Presenting complaints were consistent with the final diagnoses in 81% of cases. Trauma was both the most common presentation and final diagnosis. Associations between final diagnosis and either environmental temperature or precipitation were not significant (P>0.05). However, precipitation had a statistically significant positive association (P<0.05) with aural abscessation. Approximately 5% (28/574) of the box turtles were evaluated for packed cell volume total protein and white blood cell count. No differences were observed between sick and healthy animals for any of these variables. Multiple treatment modalities were used in these cases and were often used in combination, rather than as individual therapies. The number of days spent in the hospital ranged from 0 to 66 days, with a median of 2 days. The wildlife clinic of UTCVM should continue to evaluate the health status of eastern box turtles. Our findings indicate that the high caseload, as well as case variety of eastern box turtles in eastern Tennessee, suggests potential use as a biomonitor for this species.
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Vol. 46 • No. 4