Successful rehabilitation of an oiled sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) affected by the biggest oil spill disaster in Brazil

https://doi.org/10.17221/81/2020-VETMED
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The standardisation of protocols and discussion of therapeutic procedures in the rehabilitation of turtles affected by oil spills are necessary to optimise the recovery time and increase the chances of survival of these animals. This study aimed at reporting the processes adopted for the stabilisation, decontamination, rehabilitation and release of an oiled olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), rescued alive on September 23, 2019, at Santa Rita Beach, Extremoz municipality, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. Its entire body was covered by oil. At first, the animal was mechanically dry cleaned using a gauze soaked in mineral oil in the keratinised regions (carapace and plastron) and a gauze soaked in vegetable oil was used on the oral, nasal, ocular, and cloacal mucous membranes. The second stage of the oil removal consisted of washing the animal with heated pressurised water (39 °C) and a neutral detergent using a soft foam sponge. The animal received treatment with antitoxins, antibiotics, analgesics, gastrointestinal protectors, and fluid therapy. After 7 days of treatment, the blood count showed that all the parameters were within the normal range. The oil cleaning process and the therapeutic protocol used in the rehabilitation of the olive ridley sea turtle were efficient.

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