North Grafton, MA, February 25, 2010
Two rescued and endangered turtles from the New England Aquarium today underwent CT scans at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine to diagnose persistent pneumonia.
The scans revealed the extent and location of fluid build-up in the Kemp’s Ridley turtles and will serve as a baseline as the pneumonia is treated over the coming months.
Dr. Mauricio Solano, section head for the Diagnostic Imaging section at the Cummings School, led the study. Utilizing the veterinary school’s new 16-slice CT scan, Cummings School personnel completed each exam in just over a minute for each turtle. Veterinary staff from the New England Aquarium, led by head veterinarian Dr. Charles Innis and veterinary fellow Dr. Julie Cavin, sedated the turtles prior to each study.
The Toshiba Auillon CT scanner, installed in September 2009, creates three-dimensional images of the inside of bodies. Together with a 1.5-Tesla MRI machine installed in 2008, digital radiography equipment and six board-certified radiologists, the school’s imaging service offers sophisticated diagnostic tools for large and small animals alike.
The two Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles, named
King’s Canyon, were among more than 80 sea turtles rescued by the New England Aquarium earlier this winter near the outer parts of Cape Cod. Both have had persistent pneumonia that has not responded well to treatment and today’s scans gave Aquarium and Tufts personnel a better image of the lungs. The scans will be used to establish a more refined treatment protocol and also serve as a baseline as the turtles’ pneumonias are treated.
The New England Aquarium hopes to release the turtles in July or August, pending a recovery from the lung condition.
Videos are available online on the Cummings School YouTube Channel.