Case Studies

Case Study 6 - Treating a Blanding's Turtle

1 - The Patient

This is a female Blanding's Turtle, a threatened species in Minnesota. They can live to be 70 years old but do not reach sexual maturity until age 12. See those round holes on the front of her shell? She wore a transponder at one point in time so she's helped the MN DNR learn more about this fascinating species! She was found by the Weaver Dunes in Kellogg, Minn.

2 - The Injury

She is with us because she was struck by a vehicle on the road, most likely crossing to go to a nest site, which can be far away from water. The injury didn't just split the shell but crushed it. Crushing injures are tricky to treat if we don't have the pieces of the shell, whereas when a shell is just cracked we can pull the fractured edges together and wire them in place while they re-knit. In this photo you can see the fibrous tissue that the body is forming to protect itself from outside exposure. Shell may never regrow in this area, it may remain scar tissue.

3 - Treatment

While that scar tissue is forming, our job is to keep the wound area clean and healthy. Here the turtle is receiving its daily medications via a subQ injection (just under the skin). Cool fact: Turtles must receive injections in the front half of their body due to their kidney structure! Every other day we remove the bandaging, clean the wound, treat it with a topical medicine and rebandage it. It's also undergoing low level laser treatment to help the tissue regenerate faster.

4 - Treatment Done!

A few more weeks of care and she'll be ready to return to her territory!

Other Case Studies

  • Case Study 1 - Healing a Heron
  • Case Study 2 - Kingfisher with a Luxation
  • Case Study 3 - Rehabilitating a Gunshot Swan
  • Case Study 4 - An Injured Sandhill Crane
  • Case Study 5 - One Lucky Duck
  • Case Study 6 - Treating a Blanding's Turtle
  • Case Study 7 - A Surprising Find in a Juvenile Herring Gull
  • Case Study 8 - Hook, Line and Sinker - Spiny Softshell Turtle
  • Case Study 9 - Coyote caught in a Trap