Veterinarians from the Florida Aquarium trying something new to save an injured sea turtle

Getting a CAT scan for the sea turtle

A meeting of the minds today between veterinarians from the Florida Aquarium and doctors at the USF Health Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS).


Their goal, figure out what's wrong with Freud. A green sea turtle found injured in the panhandle of Florida. "When this turtle came to us, he was a floater, so he's got a ton of air trapped in his body cavity," Dr. Kathy Heym, a Veterinarian with the Florida Aquarium said. 


The air is causing his shell to become deformed and putting pressure on his internal organs.  "Best case scenario is that we find where the air is coming from, and that it's in a place that we can actually repair," Dr. Heym said.


That's where the doctors at CAMLS come in. Administering a CAT scan to find the leak. "Is there an area, just like a chronic wound, it would look swollen, we can look at on a cat scan and say this is the area we need to focus on," Dr. Luis Llerena said. He's the Medical Director at CAMLS.


The CT Scan of Freud shows where the air is building up. It showed up as a black area between his lungs and organs. It also shows that the lung is in good condition. But that can mean bad news as well because it means the air is coming in from a central location such as his windpipe. Meaning it can be a more traumatic injury.


Since doctors couldn't pinpoint the leak they put a scope down his throat, checking for any tears or rips in his windpipe.  "There's some source of air, somewhere either in the lung or in the windpipe itself that keeps bringing air into the body.," Dr. Llerena said.


They'll take these findings to pulmonary experts who'll decide the best course of action to take next. Hopefully getting Freud healthy and back in the ocean where he belongs. 

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