Translator Disclaimer
1 September 2017 MORBIDITY AND MORTALITY OF WILD TURTLES AT A NORTH CAROLINA WILDLIFE CLINIC: A 10-YEAR RETROSPECTIVE
Author Affiliations +
Abstract

The medical records from 1,847 wild turtle patients seen between 2005 and 2014 by the Turtle Rescue Team at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine were analyzed. Eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina; n = 947), yellow-bellied sliders (Trachemys scripta scripta; n = 301), cooters (Pseudemys spp.; n = 235), common snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina; n = 165), and eastern painted turtles (Chrysemys picta; n = 93) made up 94.3% of all patients. Patient admissions peaked in May when 25.6% (473/1,847) of all turtles were admitted. Cooters were the most-likely species to be gravid, and the loss of gravid females may put this population at increased risk for decline. The majority of wild turtles presented for anthropogenic causes, primarily vehicular trauma (63.2%; 1,168/1,847), which also had the greatest mortality at 57.8% (675/1,168) of any presenting complaint. Coelomic breach was the presenting injury with greatest risk of dying, increasing the risk of dying by 4.8 times. Other factors that were associated with increased mortality included head injuries, myiasis, and cranial or caudal midline injuries. Of all turtle species, eastern box turtles most commonly presented for nontraumatic conditions including aural abscesses (8.2%; 78/947), upper respiratory infections (6.3%; 60/947), and both conditions concurrently (2.5%; 14/947). While many turtles presented with little to no chance for survival in the wild, 47.6% were eventually released and that number increased to 62.0% released for those that survived 24 hr or longer after presentation. This study adds to the knowledge about the treatment of injured and diseased wild turtles in order to potentially ameliorate the overall impact of humans, especially as a result of vehicular trauma.

Copyright 2017 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians
Alexandra Sack, Eric Butler, Peter Cowen, and Gregory A. Lewbart "MORBIDITY AND MORTALITY OF WILD TURTLES AT A NORTH CAROLINA WILDLIFE CLINIC: A 10-YEAR RETROSPECTIVE," Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 48(3), 716-724, (1 September 2017). https://doi.org/10.1638/2016-0053.1
Accepted: 1 April 2017; Published: 1 September 2017
JOURNAL ARTICLE
9 PAGES


SHARE
ARTICLE IMPACT
RIGHTS & PERMISSIONS
Get copyright permission
Back to Top