The Turtle Hospital. Rescue, Rehab, Release.

Surgery Day

Six turtles underwent surgery yesterday at The Turtle Hospital. The raucous menagerie included four juvenile Green sea turtles, an adult Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, and a sub-adult Loggerhead sea turtle. Green turtles Coraline, Dre, and Logan were examined for internal fibropapilloma tumors and had external tumors removed; another Green, Diana, underwent a risky procedure to remove fishing line from her intestine; a Kemp’s Ridley named Snoop had a partial flipper amputation; and Loggerhead Goulet had his lungs inspected for pneumonia. Dr. Doug Mader began the marathon surgery session early in the morning and it lasted late into the afternoon. Unfortunately, Coraline was found to have internal tumors, but the other turtles did great and are currently recovering in the rehab enclosure.


Above: Administrator Ryan Butts and Dr. Doug Mader perform an endoscopy on Dre, a Green sea turtle with fibropapilloma. When an endoscopy is preformed, a small video camera is inserted into the hip area from which the body cavity can be inspected. If no internal tumors are found, Dr. Mader will begin removing external tumors.


Above: Dr. Mader inspects Goulet’s lungs for signs of pneumonia. Goulet was found with fishing line around his neck which was tethered to a lobster trap buoy line underwater. This apparently caused Goulet to inhale water and thereby contract pneumonia.


Above: Diana, a small Green sea turtle, underwent a procedure of last resort to remove fishing line from her intestines. Once ingested, fishing line is almost impossible to pass, and is almost always fatal. After several weeks of laxatives and gentle encouragement, the fishing line showed no sign of passing. In order to save this little turtle’s life, Dr. Mader made a small incision at the hip and actually brought the intestines out of the body cavity in order to then remove the line from five different points. It is a very risky procedure, but Diana is recovering and is alert and active.

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