Case Studies

Case Study 8 - Hook, Line and Sinker - Spiny Softshell Turtle

1 - Meet the Patient

Not only is this by far the largest Spiny Softshell Turtle we've ever seen, it presented a unique case for Vet Agnes. It had what appeared to be a foot long wire coming out of its mouth. If you look closely at this photo you can see the grey line extending away from the turtle's face.

2 - Initial Examination

Certified Vet Tech Jamie holds the sedated turtle so Agnes can get a closer look at the turtle's neck where she can feel a protuberance.

3 - Clinical Findings

After some manipulation Agnes decides that the protuberance is attached to the line. She decided to make a small incision in the neck and they get a closer look at what the object is: A very large fishing hook.

4 - Removing the hook

She then enlarged the incision to extract the hook and discovered that the bait fish was still on the hook! She cut the wire off as close as possible to where it was connected to the hook. In this photo, she's removed the hook, you can see it on the white cotton pad on the left of the exam table.

5 - Suturing the Wound

Once the hook was removed from the line, Agnes and Jamie were able to carefully pull the wire back up through the turtle's esophagus and mouth. Agnes then cleaned up the area of the wound and sutured it.

6 - Post-surgery

From being on death's door to this small incision perfectly sutured up, this Spiny Softshell is one fortunate turtle. It was released three weeks later back where it was found in the St. Croix River.

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