Painted Turtle Is Off the Hook

PATIENT:  Eastern Painted Turtle, #10-2041 LOCATION:  Rawley Springs, Rockingham County, Virginia CAUSE OF ADMISSION:   Ingested a fish hook ADMISSION DATE:  September 25 PROGNOSIS:  Released on October 8 On Saturday, September 25, an Eastern Painted Turtle was found at  a fishing hole in Rockingham County, Virginia.  After noticing fishing line coming out of the turtle's mouth, the rescuer picked up the turtle and brought it to the Wildlife Center of Virginia.  While it's not uncommon for the Wildlife Center to admit several Painted and Snapping Turtles each year that have ingested fish hooks, this turtle looked to be particularly tricky to treat. When Center veterinarians performed the intial physical exam, the fish hook was not visible in the turtle's mouth, though there was some inflamed tissue.  Radiographs confirmed that the hook was indeed inside the turtle.  The next step to was to pinpoint the location of the hook with an endoscope - a device that has a long, thin tube with a camera attached to the end of it to look inside the turtle's esophagus and stomach.  Unfortunately, the endoscopy procedure didn't reveal the hook either.  With the endoscope still in the turtle, another  piece of equipment was brought out to assess the turtle's condition - a fluoroscope.  This tool allows the veterinary team to see a "real time" x-ray of the patient while moving it around to continue to search for the hook.  Still not being able to visualize the hook, the vets suspected that it might have punctured the stomach wall and might moved outside of the turtle's gastrointestinal tract -- a serious complication. After a brainstorming session with several experts, including Dr. Natalie Hall, a former Wildlife Center veterinary intern, the team decided to perform the endoscopy procedure again.  This time, however, they would also inject saline solution into the turtle's stomach to inflate the many folds that might be hiding the hook.   As the turtle was being prepped for the second endoscopy, it was noted that the fishing line was no longer visible.  Once the endoscope was in place, neither the line nor the hook was spotted.  A fter a quick search of the turtle's enclosure .. the hook and line were found there!  Somehow, over the course of the night, the Painted Turtle took matters into its own hands ... so to speak. While the turtle has some tears in its esophagus and mouth after the entire ordeal, Wildlife Center staff anticipate that the turtle will heal and will be released.  Currently the Eastern Painted Turtle is swimming but is not being fed, to allow healing in the GI tract with a minimal risk of infection.            Your donation will help support the Center’s work with patients like this turtle … and with 2,500 other wild animals in need.