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Title: Lesions Observed Post Mortem in Post-hatchling Loggerhead Sea Turtles (Caretta caretta) from a Head Start Programme
Authors: Orós, J. 
Suárez-Saavedra, A.
Liria-Loza, A.
Arencibia, A. 
UNESCO Clasification: 3109 Ciencias veterinarias
2401 Biología animal (zoología)
Keywords: Caretta Caretta
Head Start Programme
Loggerhead Sea Turtle
Issue Date: 2020
Journal: Journal of Comparative Pathology 
Abstract: Head start programmes are ex-situ conservation procedures consisting of the captive rearing of sea turtle hatchlings for several months in order to avoid high mortality rates in the first year of life. Studies of the diseases of hatchling and post-hatchling turtles belonging to these programmes are scarce. We describe the gross and histological lesions found in 78 post-hatchling loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) that died during captive rearing in the conservation programme of the Cape Verde-Canary Islands, initiated with 113 hatchlings. The main organ systems affected were respiratory (57.69%), integumentary (41.02%) and digestive (41.02%), affecting 94.87% of the animals. Other less frequently affected organ systems were cardiovascular (3.85%), excretory (3.85%), muscular (2.56%) and reproductive (1.28%). The most common lesions were different types of dermatitis (41.02%), mainly ulcerative and/or heterophilic ulcerative dermatitis; these lesions were compatible with a traumatic origin caused by biting and subsequent infection with gram-positive cocci. Purulent and/or fibrinonecrotizing rhinitis associated with mixed populations of bacteria were commonly detected respiratory lesions (21.79%). Acute interstitial pneumonia was the most common form of pneumonia diagnosed (20.51%). Fibrinonecrotizing stomatitis associated with sparse gram-negative rods was the most common digestive tract lesion (29.49%). A possible explanation for the high mortality rate (88.50%) observed in this study could be the occurrence of a decrease in water temperature during the growth phase of the turtles. Despite the limitations caused by an absence of microbiological studies, the survey provides useful information on the lesions found in post-hatchling loggerhead turtles from this head start programme. In addition to maintaining water temperature above 20°C, attention must be paid to lesions that can easily be detected, such as dermatitis, rhinitis and stomatitis.
ISSN: 0021-9975
DOI: 10.1016/j.jcpa.2019.11.001
Source: Journal of Comparative Pathology [ISSN 0021-9975],v. 174, p. 73-80
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