This little Turtle was brought into WellPet Vets Nepean when a member of the public found it with a damaged shell.
Dr Alexandra Swan examined the turtle. The turtle was ok despite a depression fracture to the carapace. This type of fracture would involve a surgical procedure. During the procedure Dr Swan would place stabilisation wires on the turtle’s shell and then a brace to support these wires whilst the fractured shell healed. Dr Swan, would, however, need to prepare the turtle and its shell first.
Because this is a wild turtle, its shell was dirty and like many turtles covered in moss and plant material from its habitat. Therefore before she could perform the procedure she needed to clean and dress the broken shell. Daily bandage changes with antibiotics were required until the fracture was clean enough for surgery.
The turtle required a general anaesthetic in order to perform this procedure pain-free, contrary to some belief turtles do feel pain when their shell is damaged. The turtle had an IV catheter placed in his jugular vein which would allow us to administer fluids to him during his procedure as well as medications needed to keep him pain-free and anaesthetised.
The human dental material (dental composite) was used to mould to the shell and hold the orthodontic wire. This was then set with a very bright blue curing light.
The stabilisation braces were painted black as when the wires are removed in a few weeks the mounts may stay attached. Painting them black allows him to not stand out to potential predators.
The turtle recovered from anaesthetic very well and was sent to a WIRES experienced turtle care member for healing.
This turtle returned after a week for Dr Swan to recheck his progress. She is pleased he is doing well and will see it again in a few weeks time and hopefully be able to cut off the wires.
Get well soon little turtle!
WellPet Vets opens its doors to hundreds of injured and orphaned wildlife species every year. We work closely with WIRES groups and members to ensure they are back in their natural habitat as quickly and safely as possible.
If you find injured wildlife, please approach it with caution and contact WIRES immediately for advice. Carefully transport the animal to any one of our three hospitals for help. Remember, our WellPet Vets Nepean hospital is open 24/7. Ph: 1300 WELLPET