• 1.

    Meyer J, Selleri P. Dermatology—shell. In: Divers SJ, Stahl SJ, eds. Mader’s Reptile Medicine and Surgery. 3rd ed. Elsevier; 2019:712720.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 2.

    Melidone R, Selleri P. Shell repair in chelonians. UK Vet. 2010;13(3):6974. doi:10.1111/j.2044-3862.2008.tb00262

  • 3.

    Brown JD, Sleeman JM. Morbidity and mortality of reptiles admitted to the Wildlife Center of Virginia, 1991 to 2000. J Wildl Dis. 2002;38(4):699705. doi:10.7589/0090-3558-38.4.699

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 4.

    Hartup BK. Rehabilitation of native reptiles and amphibians in DuPage County, Illinois. J Wildl Dis. 1996;32(1):109112. doi:10.7589/0090-3558-32.1.109

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5.

    Rivas AE, Allender MC, Mitchell M, Whittington JK. Morbidity and mortality in reptiles presented to a wildlife care facility in central Illinois. Hum Wildl Interact. 2014;8(1):7887. doi:10.26077/34wh-vh39

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 6.

    Norton TM, Fleming GJ, Meyer J. Shell surgery and repair. In: Divers SJ, Stahl SJ, eds. Mader’s Reptile Medicine and Surgery. 3rd ed. Elsevier; 2019:11161126.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 7.

    Bogard C, Innis C. A simple and inexpensive method of shell repair in chelonia. J Herpetol Med Surg. 2008;18(1):1213. doi:10.5818/1529–9651.18.1.12

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8.

    Fleming GJ. New techniques in chelonian shell repair. In: Mader DR, Divers SJ, eds. Current Therapy in Reptile Medicine and Surgery. Elsevier; 2014:205212.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 9.

    Horowitz IH, Yanco E, Topaz M. TopClosure system adapted to chelonian shell repair. J Exot Pet Med. 2015;24(1):6570. doi:10.1053/j.jepm.2014.11.009

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10.

    Richards J. Metal bridges—a new technique of turtle shell repair. J Herpetol Med Surg. 2001;11(4):3134. doi:10.5818/1529–9651.11.4.31

  • 11.

    Divers SJ. Zip-tie closure for turtle shell fractures: quick, simple and cheap. Abstract in: Proceedings of the North American Veterinary Community Conference. North American Veterinary Community; 2011.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 12.

    Heatley JJ. Surgical repair of the chelonian carapace/plastron. Abstract in: Proceedings of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners Symposium. American Board of Veterinary Practitioners; 2017:405406.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 13.

    Lloyd C. Alternative method for cable tie shell repair in chelonia. Exotic DVM. 2009;9(3):910.

  • 14.

    Joy N, Jhala SK, Mehraj UDD, et al. Carapace fracture in a turtle—a case report. Vet World. 2010;3(7):337338. doi:10.5455/vetworld.2010.337-338

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 15.

    Fleming GJ. Clinical technique: chelonian shell repair. J Exot Pet Med. 2008;17(4):246258. doi:10.1053/j.jepm/2008.08.001

  • 16.

    Mitchell MA. Diagnosis and management of reptile orthopedic injuries. Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract. 2002;5(1):97114. doi:10.1016/s1094-9194(03)00048-3

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 17.

    Roffey J, Miles S. Turtle shell repair. In: Doneley B, Monks D, Johnson R, Carmel B, eds. Reptile Medicine and Surgery in clinical practice. John Wiley & Sons Inc; 2018:397408.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 18.

    Hampel MR, Robinson D, Baverstock W, Hyland K. Repair of a fractured plastron in a green turtle (Chelonia mydas). Wildl Middle East News. 2008;3(3):5.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 19.

    Joshi MM, Darji PP. Shell fracture repair in red eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) using k-wire and cortical screws—a case report. Int J Vet Sci Anim Husb. 2017;2(5):2526.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 20.

    Mitchell MA, Diaz-Figueroa O. Wound management in reptiles. Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract. 2004;7(1):123140. doi:10.1016/j.cvex.2003.08.006

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 21.

    George RH, Lee M, Moein-Bartol S. Nuts, bolts, plates, and screws: practical techniques for repairing fractured turtle shells. Abstract in: Proceedings of the 16th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; 1996:54.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 22.

    Vella D. Management of freshwater turtle shell injuries. Lab Anim (NY). 2009;38(1):1314. doi:10.1038/laban0109-13

  • 23.

    Chitty J, Raftery A. Fractures of the shell. In: Chitty J, Raftery A, eds. Essentials of Tortoise Medicine and Surgery. John Wiley & Sons Ltd; 2013:216221.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Advertisement

Successful outcome of shell fractures in freshwater turtles treated with plate or screws and wire fixation techniques: 51 cases (2014–2019)

Courtney N. PatsonDepartment of Surgical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

Search for other papers by Courtney N. Patson in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
 DVM
,
Erin M. LemleyDepartment of Surgical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Dane County Humane Society, Madison, WI

Search for other papers by Erin M. Lemley in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
 BA
,
Eric W. SmalleyGlobal Equities Operations Innovation Division, JP Morgan Corporate and Investment Bank, Chicago, IL

Search for other papers by Eric W. Smalley in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
 MBA
,
Grayson A. DossDepartment of Surgical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

Search for other papers by Grayson A. Doss in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
 DVM
, and
Christoph MansDepartment of Surgical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

Search for other papers by Christoph Mans in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
 Dr med vet

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To evaluate the outcome of surgical fixation of shell fractures in rehabilitated wild freshwater turtles.

ANIMALS

51 freshwater turtles with 86 shell fractures.

PROCEDURES

The medical record database of a wildlife rehabilitation center in Wisconsin was searched from 2014 through 2019 for records of freshwater turtles with shell fractures repaired with a plate technique, screws and wire technique, or both. Signalment, fracture location, therapeutic approach (including the type of hardware used for repair), dry-docking duration, time to hardware removal, postremoval care, and outcome were evaluated.

RESULTS

36 of 51 (71%) turtles with shell fractures experienced successful fracture healing following surgical hardware fixation, and 33 (65%) were released. Shells of 38 (75%) turtles were repaired with plates only, 5 (10%) turtles with wire only, and 8 (16%) turtles with a combination of plates and screws and wires. Of the 51 turtles, 13 (25%) did not survive > 4 weeks following hardware repair, leaving 38 animals available to assess fracture healing. Median time to start staged removal was 42 days (range, 35 to 49 days) and to complete removal of the applied hardware was 56 days (range, 26 to 77 days). Complications associated with placement of the hardware occurred in 6 of 38 (16%) turtles. Complications included screw hole infection (4/38 [11%]), fracture necrosis (1/38 [3%]), and deep screw hole penetration (1/38 [3%]).

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results indicated that shell fractures in freshwater turtles treated with surgical fixation techniques had a successful outcome. Most complications were minor, and fractures improved with time, resulting in acceptable fracture healing for release.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To evaluate the outcome of surgical fixation of shell fractures in rehabilitated wild freshwater turtles.

ANIMALS

51 freshwater turtles with 86 shell fractures.

PROCEDURES

The medical record database of a wildlife rehabilitation center in Wisconsin was searched from 2014 through 2019 for records of freshwater turtles with shell fractures repaired with a plate technique, screws and wire technique, or both. Signalment, fracture location, therapeutic approach (including the type of hardware used for repair), dry-docking duration, time to hardware removal, postremoval care, and outcome were evaluated.

RESULTS

36 of 51 (71%) turtles with shell fractures experienced successful fracture healing following surgical hardware fixation, and 33 (65%) were released. Shells of 38 (75%) turtles were repaired with plates only, 5 (10%) turtles with wire only, and 8 (16%) turtles with a combination of plates and screws and wires. Of the 51 turtles, 13 (25%) did not survive > 4 weeks following hardware repair, leaving 38 animals available to assess fracture healing. Median time to start staged removal was 42 days (range, 35 to 49 days) and to complete removal of the applied hardware was 56 days (range, 26 to 77 days). Complications associated with placement of the hardware occurred in 6 of 38 (16%) turtles. Complications included screw hole infection (4/38 [11%]), fracture necrosis (1/38 [3%]), and deep screw hole penetration (1/38 [3%]).

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results indicated that shell fractures in freshwater turtles treated with surgical fixation techniques had a successful outcome. Most complications were minor, and fractures improved with time, resulting in acceptable fracture healing for release.

Contributor Notes

Corresponding author: Dr. Mans (christoph.mans@wisc.edu)