Sea turtles

image of Sea turtles
Online Access: £25.00 + VAT
BSAVA Library Pass Buy a pass


There are seven species of sea turtles; the flatback, green, hawksbill, Kemp’s ridley, leatherback, loggerhead and olive ridley. This chapter considers their natural history and conservation, unique anatomical characteristics, diagnostic work-up, veterinary support and common medical ailments.

Preview this chapter:
Loading full text...

Full text loading...



Image of 27.4
27.4 Blood draw in a juvenile green sea turtle.
Image of 27.5
27.5 Photomicrographs of peripheral blood cells in a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle representative of white blood cells. (a) A heterophil; (b) a monocyte; (c) a lymphocyte next to three thrombocytes; (d) erythrocytes with basophilic inclusions (degenerate organelles; no clinical significance); (e) an eosinophil. (Original magnification X100 oil) (Courtesy of Dr Nicole Stacy)
Image of 27.8
27.8 Radiographs of sea turtles. (a) Anteroposterior view demonstrates severe opacity of right pulmonary lobe. (b) Lateral view. (c) Dorsoventral view demonstrating a right proximal humeral fracture in a juvenile green sea turtle.
Image of 27.9
27.9 Contrast radiograph demonstrates barium-impregnated polyethylene spheres used to assess gastrointestinal motility in a green sea turtle.
Image of 27.10
27.10 Computed tomography of the skull of a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle. Fracture involves the neurocranium (arrowed).
Image of 27.17
27.17 Carapace fracture in a subadult loggerhead sea turtle () illustrating zip ties and plates for shell repair. (a) An unstable carapace fracture. (b) Zip tie bases and zip ties are secured with epoxy and used to temporarily stabilize the fracture. (c) Marine epoxy is used to reinforce the zip ties and RediHeal and bone cement are placed in the open portions of the fracture. (d) Five bone plates were used for long-term stabilization of the fracture. The fracture healed in approximately 8 weeks. RediHeal and bone cement were changed weekly with flushing and debridement of the wound prior to reapplication.
Image of 27.18
27.18 Loggerhead sea turtle having suffered a shark bite of the front flipper. The wound was dressed using suture loops, Medihoney-, honeycomb- and Vaseline-impregnated gauze bandage.
Image of 27.19
27.19 Waterproof vacuum-assisted wound-care therapy for a juvenile green sea turtle. (a) Boat strike injury with lung exposed in a juvenile green sea turtle. Marsh mud and debris were packed between the lung and the carapace. (b) Vacuum-assisted wound care (VAC) application: appropriate size pore sponge is cut to fit the wound with one layer of silicone applied around the wound where the sticky bandage will be applied. (c) Sticky bandage placed with additional layers of silicone placed, a quarter size hole is cut in the dorsal aspect of the sticky bandage to allow placement of the suction apparatus. Silicone is applied for an airtight seal. (d) Green turtle in the water with waterproof VAC in place. The turtle can move freely in the tank.
Image of 27.20
27.20 Juvenile green sea turtle with fibropapillomas on the sclera and nictitating membrane.
Image of 27.22
27.22 Debilitated loggerhead sea turtle covered with epibionts. Barnacles are not uncommonly found on the shell, but finding a heavy load on the skin is usually a sign of a severely ill animal. Cases of pericardial and cardiac tears have been documented in debilitated sea turtles.
Image of 27.23
27.23 Radiographs of a subadult loggerhead sea turtle with intestinal impaction from shells and chitinous exoskeleton parts from prey items ingested (left (L) and right (R) sides of coelomic cavity, increased radiopacity). Numerous epibionts were also present on top of the carapace. (a) Cranial left quadrant of the coelomic cavity. (b) Caudal left quadrant of the coelomic cavity. (c) Caudal right quadrant of the coelomic cavity.
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error