Marine debris ingestion and the use of diagnostic imaging in sea turtles: A review

Oliveira REM, Attademo FLN, Moura CEB, Araujo Junior HN, Costa HS, Reboucas CEV, Silva FJL, Oliveira MF (2020): Marine debris ingestion and the use of diagnostic imaging in sea turtles: A review. Vet Med-Czech 65, 511–527.

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Worldwide, sea turtles are affected by anthropic waste. Animals, unable to differentiate anthropic waste from food, ingest this waste from their surroundings. After ingestion, the waste may cause a digestive tract blockage, thereby compromising the feeding and digestion capacity of the turtles, causing malnutrition, which may lead to death. Radiological imaging can be performed in turtles under rehabilitation to identify alterations of the digestive tract, such as intussusceptions, impactions, obstructions, torsions, neoplasms, and foreign bodies. These alterations are a result of either the ingestion of anthropogenic residues or natural causes. Moreover, diagnostic imaging exams play an important role in interventional medicine as they can indicate the location and type of ingested waste, thereby facilitating decision-making for the treatment of the afflicted animals. The aim of this study was to analyse the published scientific literature surrounding the effects of the ingestion of anthropogenic residue by sea turtles and the main imaging modalities used for their diagnosis. This was undertaken to provide clinicians with a greater amount of information regarding the digestive tract diseases of these animals and consequently, provide better outcomes of the rehabilitation processes. Furthermore, the outcomes of this study provide key information regarding the conservation of these species, among others.

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