Photos from Turtle Rescue Season: Turtle Exams

The Rescue Team will be posting details about the transports and treatments at the Animal Care Center in the days and weeks ahead. In the meantime, we'll be sharing pictures and video of the activity at the sea turtle hospital so you can have a feel for the action during this incredibly busy year—more than 150 live turtles treated so far, and still counting!

One the most crucial—and time consuming—parts of the day at the turtle hospital is doing physical exams and health checks on the turtles. Rescue staff and veterinarians at the Aquarium spend hours drawing blood, examining each animal, treating injuries and studying individual blood results to determine the best possible treatment for each animal. When an animal is transported to another facility, they travel with a detailed medical chart that explains their treatment/medical plan.

Here is a glimpse at sea turtle exams:

Turtle exams take at least two people: one person (often a volunteer) to hold the animal while it sometimes energetically flaps its flippers, and a staff biologist to draw blood, administer medication, treat wounds/injuries and all other parts of the exam. 

Part of the exam entails a visual inspection of the turtle, including its plastron (or bottom of its shell).

During turtle exams, you'll usually spot a rolled up towel propping up the little patient. The rescuers call this a donut. It helps facilitate breathing by allowing the lower shell to easily expand during breaths.

What medical exam would be complete without a look inside the patient's mouth? Rescuers make sure the mouth and throat look normal, without any infections or obstructions.

Say ahhh!

Many thanks to the people and institutions helping out during this extremely busy stretch! From our partners at the Mass Audubon Sanctuary at Wellfleet Bay walking beaches to rescue scores of turtles to volunteers feeding turtles to donors helping to shuttle turtles to distant rehabilitation facilities, there are a lot of people to thank. And there are lots and lots of turtles to introduce. Stay tuned. 

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