Anesthetic management of a Kemp's Ridley sea turtle
A male juvenile Kemp's Ridley sea turtle presented to the Marine Animal Rehabilitation Hospital at the New England Aquarium in Boston in November of 2001 for treatment of disease associated with "cold-stunning". On presentation at the rehabilitation hospital, the turtle received initial therapies to correct hypothermia, dehydration, electrolyte abnormalities and malnutrition. Once stabilized, he was gradually introduced into a controlled aquatic environment but was unable to control his buoyancy. The turtle could swim and float at the surface but could not dive. Radiographs and ultrasound were non-diagnostic, and the veterinary staff elected to perform a laparoscopic exploratory under general anesthesia. Anesthesia of sea turtles presents several unique challenges. Unique aspects of the cardiovascular system include the potential for perianesthetic intra-cardiac shunts and the adaptation to breath-hold for extended periods of time. The dive reflex triggers significant bradycardia, peripheral vasoconstriction and prolonged apnea which can have marked effects on induction as well as recovery from anesthesia. The anesthetic protocol used in this case will be presented including a description of monitoring techniques and supportive peri-operative care. Recovery is often markedly prolonged in sea turtles as was true in this case, and the paper will conclude with a brief discussion of select alternative protocols with potential to expedite recovery from anesthesia.
Seminar SF610.1 2003 B34;
Series: Senior seminar paper (Cornell University. College of Veterinary Medicine) Notes: Senior seminar (D.V.M.) -- Cornell University, 2003. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 14-15).
Advisors: Dr. Noha Abou-Madi Dr. Lysa Posner
Sea turtles -- Surgery -- Complications -- Case studies; Sea turtles -- Diseases -- Case studies