A subadult female loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) was caught in a trawl net off the west coast of Florida with a spotted eagle ray (Aetobatus narinari) spine lodged in the left stifle. Surgical removal of the spine was performed and antibiotic treatment was initiated. Four weeks later, endoscopy revealed a second spine entering an intestinal lumen. The fistulous tract of the left prefemoral fossa was surgically excised and the intestinal perforation was repaired. Dehiscence occurred and a vacuum-assisted closure (VAC) system was used on the wound for approximately 18 days to help reduce infection and increase the rate of healing. The left stifle wound was treated to heal by second intention. The turtle remained in rehabilitation for 19 mo before being released off the west coast of Florida. This case describes stingray envenomation injuries as a complex and potentially life-threatening bycatch effect to sea turtles caught in trawl nets.
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