This study describes four cases of loggerhead sea turtles with fishhooks in the gastrointestinal tract. Two dead turtles with a hook in the esophagus had local fibrosis with an invagination of the keratinized stratified squamous epithelium surrounding the hook, isolating it from the subjacent stroma, one had a hook in the cloaca which was expelled spontaneously, and one had plication of the intestine with necrosis caused by the long monofilament line attached to the hook lodged in the esophagus. Lethal injuries were related to the effect of strangulation and traction produced by the line throughout the gastrointestinal tract rather than the presence of the hook in the esophageal mucosa. Hook size, point of attachment to the gastrointestinal tract, the presence or not of a long monofilament line, and the traction applied by it could be crucial for turtle survival.
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Vol. 43 • No. 4