Diagnostic and therapeutic procedures cannot be administered until you and your staff can safely handle and restrain the turtle or tortoise patient. Many chelonian patients presented to the veterinary hospital are ill and therefore their temperament and strength level can be reduced. Normal, healthy chelonians tend to be bright, alert and very strong, making them extremely challenging to restrain. Gaining control of the head can be particularly difficult, however multiple techniques have been described.
Part of a unique series on sea turtle veterinary medicine and wildlife rehabilitation, this article explores many components of the sea turtle physical exam. Evaluation of the shell is discussed in both cheloniids and leatherbacks (Dermochelys coriacea) as well as assessment of the cardiopulomonary system, skin, long bones and joints, cloaca and tail. Evaluation of the coelom by inguinal palpation is described as well as measurement of body temperature. Specialized testing such as neurologic and in-water examinations are also described. Common physical examination findings like fibropapillomas in green turtles (Chelonia mydas) and epibiota in loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) are also discussed. LOGIN to view references.
The bird egg, sometimes called a “miracle of packaging”, can be intimidating for the avian veterinarian. This amazing structure comes with a plethora of new vocabulary terms, complex anatomy, and intricate physiology. LafeberVet’s “Understanding the Avian Egg” describes the basics of egg anatomy from the eggshell to the embryo with a brief description of hatch.
Understanding shell fractures
Shell fractures are one of the more common presentations of Chelonia to the private exotic animal practitioner. Shell fractures are frequently caused by vehicular trauma, lawn mowers, predation by dogs and raccoons, or drops from balconies or porches. I have even seen one case in which a person tried to use a tortoise […]
The shell is a bony structure unique to order Chelonia. No other animal, living or extinct, has its body enclosed within a bony shell similarly constructed in its entirety. LafeberVet’s “Understanding the Chelonian Shell” describes pertinent shell vocabulary terms and explores shell function, morphology, growth, and pathology.