Death of a loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) from ingestion of an eel (Myrichthys ocellatus)

https://doi.org/10.17221/83/2020-VETMEDCitation:

Oliveira REM, Pires JML, Batista JS, Attademo FLN, Farias DSD, Freire ACB, Bomfim AC, Lima LRP, Oliveira RM, Gavilan SA, Silva FJL, Oliveira MF (2020): Death of a loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) from ingestion of an eel (Myrichthys ocellatus). Vet Med-Czech 65, 415–420.

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Gastrointestinal perforation in sea turtles may be associated with the ingestion of solid waste; however, other factors, including the ingestion of marine organisms, may cause intestinal perforation. Herein, we report, presumably, the first case of a death of a loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) from ingesting a live goldspotted eel (Myrichthys ocellatus) and describe the necropsy findings. The adult female loggerhead sea turtle was registered alive by a team of the Cetáceos da Costa Branca Project of Rio Grande do Norte State University (PCCB-UERN). The animal died in captivity after 8 days of an attempted rehabilitation process, and the carcass was immediately sent for necropsy. After incision, an encapsulated structure in the cranial region of the left lung was identified as a specimen of the ingested eel. The histopathological examination of the lung showed fibrin and numerous leukocytes, mainly macrophages, in the alveolus and bronchioles. The necropsy revealed that the ingestion of a live goldspotted eel (M. ocellatus) caused a gastric perforation in the turtle; this resulted in the displacement of the eel to the celomatic cavity with its cranial portion in the left lung, leading to sepsis and the consequent death of the turtle.

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