In January, 2,000 sea turtles that had washed up on the shores of North Carolina. They were feeding when the temperatures dropped and they were unable to get back to warmer water quick enough. While some have been released back into the water, others are still in rehab and three had to make a trip to the Triangle Veterinary Referral Hospital in Durham, N.C., for treatment.
One turtle arrived with a hole in its shell, which a CAT scan revealed had nearly missed the spinal cord, according to The News & Observer. The turtle is expected to recover over the next few weeks. Another turtle arrived with paralyzed flippers. NC Aquariums’ Emily Christiansen, DVM, is considering an acupuncture treatment.
The third sea turtle arrived at the veterinary hospital with a lacerated flipper. Mike Grafinger, DVM DACVS-SA Dipl. ACVS and co-owner of Triangle Veterinary Referral Hospital, performed the surgical repair.
Dr. Grafinger pioneered sea turtle flipper repair while he was a resident, The News & Observer reports. As seen in the video above, Grafinger stitched the flipper using a metal wire, then used red tubing as a splint. When the sea turtle woke, “it began fiercely flapping its front limbs.”
While the surgery was successful, there’s a chance that the sutures will tear.