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Metabolic and respiratory status of stranded juvenile loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta): 66 cases (2008–2009)

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  • 1 Veterinary Faculty, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Trasmontana s/n, 35416 Arucas (Las Palmas), Spain.
  • | 2 Department of Mathematics, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Campus de Tafira, 35017 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain.
  • | 3 Veterinary Faculty, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Trasmontana s/n, 35416 Arucas (Las Palmas), Spain.
  • | 4 Tafira Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Tafira Baja, 35017 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain.
  • | 5 Tafira Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Tafira Baja, 35017 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain.
  • | 6 Veterinary Faculty, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Trasmontana s/n, 35416 Arucas (Las Palmas), Spain.

Abstract

Objective—To document venous blood gas, acid-base, and plasma biochemical values for stranded juvenile loggerhead turtles at admission to a rehabilitation facility, compare these values among stranding causes, investigate differences in these values for turtles that survived versus those that died, and establish the baseline values for successfully rehabilitated loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta).

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—66 stranded juvenile loggerhead turtles that were hospitalized between 2008 and 2009.

Procedures—Venous blood gas, acid-base, and plasma biochemical values at the time of admission were compared retrospectively among turtles with different stranding causes. Initial results were compared between turtles that survived and turtles that died. Results for survivors were compared between the time of admission and time of release.

Results—57 (86.36%) turtles had various types of acid-base disorders at the time of admission to the rehabilitation facility. Of these, 33 (579%) had mixed acid-base disorders and 24 (42.1%) had primary acid-base disorders. All acid-base disorders were classified as mild to moderate, except 1 case of severe metabolic and respiratory acidosis. Except for the debilitated turtles (in which the mean initial glucose concentration was much lower than that observed for the rest of turtles), there was no difference in initial values when comparing stranding causes. Turtles that died during rehabilitation had significantly higher initial anion gap and osmolality, compared with turtles that survived.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Acid-base disorders were present in most stranded juvenile loggerhead turtles. Evaluation of accurately obtained, temperature-corrected venous blood gas, acid-base, and plasma biochemical values can provide important clinical and prognostic information and a valuable basis for the implementation of adequate and rapid treatment for stranded loggerhead turtles admitted to rehabilitation facilities.

Abstract

Objective—To document venous blood gas, acid-base, and plasma biochemical values for stranded juvenile loggerhead turtles at admission to a rehabilitation facility, compare these values among stranding causes, investigate differences in these values for turtles that survived versus those that died, and establish the baseline values for successfully rehabilitated loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta).

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—66 stranded juvenile loggerhead turtles that were hospitalized between 2008 and 2009.

Procedures—Venous blood gas, acid-base, and plasma biochemical values at the time of admission were compared retrospectively among turtles with different stranding causes. Initial results were compared between turtles that survived and turtles that died. Results for survivors were compared between the time of admission and time of release.

Results—57 (86.36%) turtles had various types of acid-base disorders at the time of admission to the rehabilitation facility. Of these, 33 (579%) had mixed acid-base disorders and 24 (42.1%) had primary acid-base disorders. All acid-base disorders were classified as mild to moderate, except 1 case of severe metabolic and respiratory acidosis. Except for the debilitated turtles (in which the mean initial glucose concentration was much lower than that observed for the rest of turtles), there was no difference in initial values when comparing stranding causes. Turtles that died during rehabilitation had significantly higher initial anion gap and osmolality, compared with turtles that survived.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Acid-base disorders were present in most stranded juvenile loggerhead turtles. Evaluation of accurately obtained, temperature-corrected venous blood gas, acid-base, and plasma biochemical values can provide important clinical and prognostic information and a valuable basis for the implementation of adequate and rapid treatment for stranded loggerhead turtles admitted to rehabilitation facilities.

Contributor Notes

Supported by the Loro Parque Foundation, Tenerife, Spain.

Address correspondence to Dr. Orós (joros@dmor.ulpgc.es).