Bronchoscopy on #21

Hi all,

Yesterday we performed a bronchoscopy on # 21, a green sea turtle. # 21 has severe pneumonia, far worse in the left lung. This animal is on the critical list and being monitored constantly. Radiographs (X-Rays) showed that the left lung is collapsed, most likely from the disease. The Aquarium's chief veterinarian, Dr. Charlie Innis, determined that a bronchoscopy was necessary. During the bronchoscopy, a 2.7mm scope with a magnifying camera is inserted into the trachea, bronchus and lungs to provide a view of the condition of the tissues. This procedure is performed in the same manner as it is in human medicine.

In this photo you can clearly see # 21's severe list to the left. Since the left lung is 
collapsed, there is no air in that lung. The right lung contains air making that side buoyant.

The exam revealed significant amounts of mucoid debris in the left lung, as we suspected. Once the vets gained enough information about the condition of the lungs we performed a sterile saline lavage and suction to remove as much of the mucoid debris as possible.

This turtle remains on the critical list. After watching #21 swim in one of the hospital tanks this morning, we have restricted his swimming to a kiddy pool to help with breathing and to maintain energy reserves. The animal is on systemic medications and receives nebulizer treatments daily to resolve the pneumonia. The road to recovery will be long and difficult for this little turtle; the next seven to ten days will be the most critical.

- Connie

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