“Give Wildlife a Brake!” Week

Next week is “Give Wildlife a Brake!” week, but we want you to be aware of wildlife all year ’round.  Today we are treating this box turtle, who was run over by a car and brought to us for care by another veterinary clinic.  While we do not normally treat wildlife, we are working with the South Carolina Aquarium to reconstruct this poor turtle’s shell, and they will continue its care through the coming months of rehabilitation to help it heal and hopefully eventually return to the wild.

box turtle injury - top
This box turtle has suffered severe damage to its shell due to being run over by a car. We are working to clean the wounds and repair the shell.
box turtle injury - bottom
Bottom view of box turtle’s shell after being run over by a car. Once we have cleaned the wounds and repaired the shell, it will take months of healing and rehabilitation before this turtle is ready to go back to its normal life.

We realize these pictures are graphic, but feel that they illustrate how helpless these animals are in the face of our powerful vehicles. It is our responsibility to watch for them. Simply driving at or below the speed limit can give you the extra reaction time needed to save a life. Today and every day, look out for animals in the road, because they can’t look out for themselves!

Read more about “Give Wildlife a Brake!” week here: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/give_wildlife_brake.html

Kemp’s Ridley Turtle “Blu” Recovering Well

In July, the South Carolina Aquarium brought a Kemp’s ridley turtle to our clinic because it had been hooked by a fisherman and swallowed the hook.  Dr. Biascoechea surgically removed the hook and the turtle was returned to the Turtle Hospital at the Aquarium for continued care.  We recently received the good news that “Blu” is recovering well and will be ready to return to the ocean in about 3 weeks.  We are proud to serve the South Carolina Aquarium and to be able to help our ocean’s wildlife stay wild!
blu the kemp's ridley turtle

For more information on “Blu”, click here: http://www.scaquarium.org/blu/

Dr. Biascoechea and the Shark

Shark vet at the SC Aquarium

Dr. Biascoechea recently worked with Dr. Shane Boylan and a team of biologists at the South Carolina Aquarium on a male sand tiger shark that had been circling in the SCA’s ocean tank for several weeks.

Shark intubation

They anesthetized him, performed a comprehensive physical exam, an ultrasound, took blood samples and also took radiographs which showed some lesions on the spinal cord. His long term prognosis is guarded at this time but they are working on a treatment plan.

Shark swims after anesthesia

Goldfish Swimming Upside-Down: Case Study #4

“Sherman” is a 4 year old Black Moor goldfish.  His owner called us because he had been swimming on his side for about a week and a half, and that morning had started swimming upside-down and his left side was swollen.  The owner had the aquarium water tested and corrected any issues in water quality, but “Sherman” was still floating upside-down at the top of the water so we scheduled a visit for him at our clinic.

Black Moor goldfish swimming upside-down

goldfish radiograph

We performed a radiograph and found an excess of air in his coelom. Our doctor aspirated the excess air and further diagnostics revealed evidence  of an inflammatory response. Medications were prescribed for infection and pain management which his dedicated owners administered at home. “Sherman” was kept in a hospital tank for the course of his treatment. With the excess air removed, he was able to swim normally for the first time in weeks!

Black Moor goldfish in hospital tank

After his course of treatment was complete, “Sherman” was returned to his normal tank with his pal “Penny” and as this video shows, boy, were they happy to see each other!

Click to watch the fish reunion!

Digital Radiography Comes to Birds and Exotics Animal Care!

We are excited to announce that we have invested in a new iCR 3600+ digital radiography system.  With a majority of our patients weighing under 5 pounds, standard x-ray equipment does not provide the detail needed.  This high-definition equipment provides improved resolution and image clarity, as well as the ability to magnify and adjust images for optimum viewing and interpretation.

We are one of the few clinics in the Southeast to offer this technologically advanced radiographic option, and we are already seeing the benefits of the increased definition, which helps us better serve our patients and clients.

Digital Radiography Station

Chameleon with Ovarian Follicles: Case Study #3

“Napoleon” is a 6 month old female veiled chameleon. She was brought in because she had been sitting near the bottom of her enclosure for 2-3 days and breathing with her mouth open over the past day. After an external physical exam and discussion of her diet, care, lighting, and housing we did an x-ray and found her to be severely calcium-deficient and retaining many reproductive follicles.
chameleon xray
She was given fluids with calcium and prepared for exploratory surgery to remove the ovarian follicles.
chameleon spay
The surgery went well and she recovered quickly and was ready to go home the next day.
chameleon recovery
Sometimes in reptiles the reproductive organs regenerate, and this was the case with “Napoleon”, who came back to see us 6 months later with similar issues as before. X-rays confirmed that she was again suffering from follicular stasis and surgery was repeated. Improvement in her bone density is visible on the second x-ray, showing the benefits of proper calcium supplementation and UV lighting over the 6 month period between visits.
chameleon xray
She is now healthy and happy and reproductively inactive thanks to her owner’s dedication to her care.
chameleon postsurgery

Guinea Pig with Uterine Tumor: Case Study #2

“Claire” is a 4 year old female guinea pig. She was presented to us with a history of undesired reproductive behaviors, including mounting her cagemate and having a wet bottom. Upon examination, she was found to have a lump in her abdomen. An ultrasound verified the presence of a 2.5cm uterine mass requiring surgical removal.
guinea pig surgery
“Claire” was prepared for her surgery on a warm water circulating pad to maintain her body temperature under anesthesia. Special equipment was used to monitor her pulse, temperature, and respiration, and an IV catheter was placed so we could provide her with fluid support during the procedure.
guinea pig uterine tumors
The mass we saw on the ultrasound turned out to be several uterine tumors. They were removed and “Claire” was spayed to ensure that this situation would not recur.
guinea pig post spay
Postsurgically, “Claire” recovered very well, and continues to be a healthy, happy guinea pig. She and her cagemate get along great now that they are both spayed!

Duck with Broken Leg: Case Study #1

“Quackers” is a Muscovy duck. He was brought to us after his owner noticed him limping on his left leg for a week. Radiographs showed a closed fracture of the leg with some early callous formation due to his attempts to walk on his broken leg.
duck leg xray

We performed orthopedic surgery on “Quackers”, removing the excess bone and placing several pins to keep the bone properly aligned during the healing process. The surgery took approximately two hours, and “Quackers” recovered well. He was given antibiotics to prevent infection and analgesics to prevent pain. His owner was instructed to perform gentle physical therapy at home and “Quackers” returned to us for twice-weekly more intense physical therapy sessions under anesthesia to help improve and preserve the leg’s function and range of motion.
duck leg xray

After two months of recuperation and therapy, the pins were removed and “Quackers” was given a clean bill of health, ready to return to his flock. Here he is with a couple of his “girlfriends” (he is the one standing in the back), fully recovered and ruling the roost. We are very proud of “Quackers” and his owner for committing to the treatment plan necessary to ensure a good outcome.
duck postsurgery

CASE UPDATE 10/30/13:
We have just received a message from “Quackers’ ” owner that he is the proud papa of ten adorable ducklings, hatched 10/24/13. Congratulations!

ducklings

Dr. Biascoechea: Book Reviewer

The duties of a veterinarian go well beyond diagnosing conditions and prescribing medications; there are papers to be written, case studies to be presented, and publications to be reviewed.  Dr. Biascoechea recently reviewed a book on aquatic veterinary medicine.  This is not his first review, but it is his most recent.  We are proud that he was chosen to review this book.