On January 20th, three of our most critical turtles #41, #49 & #51 “Quasimodo” received CT scans courtesy of Cape Cod Veterinary Specialists in Buzzards Bay. They were able to donate the CT scans by using the opportunity as a training session for new technicians. The turtles handled their scans well. During the procedure, our staff temporarily taped their flippers to their shell. This was to ensure the turtle’s safety and for the best possible quality scan. This coming week we will be bringing three more turtles for CT scans. Our veterinarian, Dr. Sea Rogers Williams, is still in the process of reading the results.
We CT scan sea turtles to look for two things…
1) Pneumonia, which is a very common complication of cold stunning and stranding in sea turtles, regular digital radiography of the lungs of turtles is hindered by their shell, CT uses x-ray technology to image the lungs and has great detail overcoming the issue of the shell (carapace and plastron).
2) Some of the turtles also have positive buoyancy or are “floater turtles” which is often caused by gas within the body cavity, locating the gas be in the GI tract or free gas in the coelom can many times be determined by CT and positional CT exams. Quasimodo also has an irregular shaped shell and we are hoping to get more information from the CT as to why.A big THANK YOU to Cape Cod Veterinary Specialists for donating staff and equipment time to the National Marine Life Center. The turtles can’t thank you enough!