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Metabolic and respiratory derangements associated with death in cold-stunned Kemp's ridley turtles (Lepidochelys kempii): 32 cases (2005–2009)

Krista A. KellerSchool of Veterinary Medicine, Ross University, West Farm, Saint Kitts, West Indies

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Charles J. InnisNew England Aquarium, 1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110.

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Michael F. TlustyNew England Aquarium, 1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110.

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Adam E. KennedyNew England Aquarium, 1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110.

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Sarah B. BeanNew England Aquarium, 1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110.

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Julie M. CavinNew England Aquarium, 1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110.

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Abstract

Objective—To assess selected clinicopathologic variables at hospital admission (day 1) for cold-stunned Kemp's ridley turtles (Lepidochelys kempii) that died during the first 3 days after admission (nonsurvivors) and turtles that survived (survivors) and to determine the percentage change of each variable from day 1 to day of death (nonsurvivors) or to day 2 or 3 of hospitalization (survivors).

Design—Retrospective case-control study.

Animals—64 stranded, cold-stunned Kemp's ridley turtles hospitalized from October 2005 through December 2009.

Procedures—Blood gas, pH, Hct, and selected biochemical values in blood samples determined on day 1 and day of death (nonsurvivors; n = 32) or day 2 or 3 of hospitalization (survivors; 32) were obtained from medical records. For each variable, initial values and percentage changes (from initial values to values at the day of death or day 2 or 3 of hospitalization) were compared between survivors and nonsurvivors.

Results—Compared with blood analysis findings for survivors, nonsurvivors initially had significantly higher potassium concentration and Pco2 and significantly lower Po2, pH, and bicarbonate concentration than did survivors. For the first 2 or 3 days of hospitalization, percentage changes in potassium, lactate, and ionized calcium concentrations were significantly higher and percentage changes in pH and plasma glucose and bicarbonate concentrations were significantly lower in nonsurvivors.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—At hospital admission, cold-stunned Kemp's ridley turtles were affected by metabolic and respiratory derangements; severe derangements were associated with death. Evaluation of blood gas, pH, Hct, and selected clinicopathologic variables provided useful clinical and prognostic information during rehabilitation of cold-stunned Kemp's ridley turtles.

Abstract

Objective—To assess selected clinicopathologic variables at hospital admission (day 1) for cold-stunned Kemp's ridley turtles (Lepidochelys kempii) that died during the first 3 days after admission (nonsurvivors) and turtles that survived (survivors) and to determine the percentage change of each variable from day 1 to day of death (nonsurvivors) or to day 2 or 3 of hospitalization (survivors).

Design—Retrospective case-control study.

Animals—64 stranded, cold-stunned Kemp's ridley turtles hospitalized from October 2005 through December 2009.

Procedures—Blood gas, pH, Hct, and selected biochemical values in blood samples determined on day 1 and day of death (nonsurvivors; n = 32) or day 2 or 3 of hospitalization (survivors; 32) were obtained from medical records. For each variable, initial values and percentage changes (from initial values to values at the day of death or day 2 or 3 of hospitalization) were compared between survivors and nonsurvivors.

Results—Compared with blood analysis findings for survivors, nonsurvivors initially had significantly higher potassium concentration and Pco2 and significantly lower Po2, pH, and bicarbonate concentration than did survivors. For the first 2 or 3 days of hospitalization, percentage changes in potassium, lactate, and ionized calcium concentrations were significantly higher and percentage changes in pH and plasma glucose and bicarbonate concentrations were significantly lower in nonsurvivors.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—At hospital admission, cold-stunned Kemp's ridley turtles were affected by metabolic and respiratory derangements; severe derangements were associated with death. Evaluation of blood gas, pH, Hct, and selected clinicopathologic variables provided useful clinical and prognostic information during rehabilitation of cold-stunned Kemp's ridley turtles.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Keller's present address is the Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616

Address correspondence to Dr. Innis (cinnis@neaq.org).