Descriptive Epidemiology for Turtles Admitted to the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine Turtle Rescue Team; Manuscript #: 072015-JFWM-056R2) is now available in Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management at:
The North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine Turtle Rescue Team has been treating and releasing wild turtles since 1996 and has compiled a collection of almost 4,000 medical records, now available for consultation by researchers via the North Carolina State University Libraries Special Collections Research Center. Data available for each case include county where turtle was discovered, patient identification number, admission date, species, sex and reproductive status, physical examination findings, clinical diagnosis, last case-entry date, length of stay, and final disposition. Additional data in the records include a day-by-day description of treatment and husbandry performed for each turtle. This report summarizes 2,613 turtle cases examined between 1996 and 2012 by the Turtle Rescue Team, including 12 native species of turtle from 63 North Carolina counties. The sex distribution of those of known sex were evenly distributed. The most common presenting condition was vehicular trauma while garden equipment and fish-equipment–related trauma, pet surrender, and other human-induced injury represented an additional 154 cases. Animal attacks and trauma due to unknown causes were also represented. Other conditions diagnosed on presentation included infection, aural abscessation, nutritional disorder, neurologic disorder, buoyancy disorder, prolapse, and other. A small number of turtles were not diagnosed or were healthy. Ultimate disposition data were available for 2,318 turtles, of which 1,227 were released to the wild. The epidemiological data presented here are similar to information collected in Illinois, Tennessee, and Virginia. Medical records from wildlife hospitals and primary care facilities represent an important opportunity to gain valuable insight into the epidemiology of human interaction with native wildlife species.
Authors: Lauren Stranhan, Kristine M. Alpi, Ronald K. Passingham, Todd J. Kosmerick and Gregory A. Lewbart