Texas A&M University-Kingsville Veterinary Technology program assists Texas State Aquarium with surgery on Green Sea Turtles
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Veterinary Technology program assists Texas State Aquarium with surgery on Green Sea Turtles

Posted on Monday, November 25, 2019

Two women monitor a green sea turtle that is intubated.

A&M-Kingsville students were able to ask questions, intubate and monitor anesthesia giving them a unique hands-on learning opportunity.

Through a cooperative arrangement with the National Park Service and the Texas State Aquarium, the Texas A&M University-Kingsville Veterinary Technology (VETT) program assisted with a series of surgeries on green sea turtles at the VETT facilities on Thursday, Nov 21.

 

This collaborative effort was established to perform medically necessary surgical procedures on sea turtles in order to facilitate their eventual re-release in to the wild. Sea turtles are subject to benign growths, called fibropapillomas, that often inhibit movement therefore limiting food gathering abilities and eventually leading to severe debilitation or death.

 

“These turtles all had fibropapillomas which are wart-like tumors that impair their ability to engage in normal behaviors. These are an endangered species and will be released back into the bay once they have healed,” Dr. Clayton Hilton, DVM, Jo and Bruce Gunn Endowed Director of Veterinary Technology in the Department of Animal Science & Veterinary Technology, said.

 

Hilton, along with Dr. Cariann Galloway, DVM, and adjunct professor for the Veterinary Technology Program in the Department of Animal Science and Veterinary Technology, were entrusted to with the task of removing the tumors using surgical lasers.

 

The anesthesia team consisted of Dr. Taylor Yaw, Head Veterinarian at Texas State Aquarium, Julia Rogers, LVT, and Instructional Veterinary Nurse I in the Department of Animal Science and Veterinary Technology and senior A&M-Kingsville VETT students.

 

Studies have shown, and many sea turtle rescue operations report, that the surgical removal of these masses, is a beneficial procedure that should be performed before an animal is released.

 

The Texas A&M-Kingsville VETT program is uniquely situated to assist in this type of procedure because of faculty and staff expertise in exotic animal medicine and the equipment available at the facility. This program trains students with the newest technology, including a CO2 surgical laser, which is the most appropriate surgical equipment available for this procedure.

 

“We have a unique set up here to have multiple anesthesia machines, veterinarians and staff. We have everything we need to have a really productive day doing as many sea turtles as possible, so we can get them released sooner and the students get an opportunity to observe non-traditional medicine practiced on reptiles, these sea-turtles, wild animals that are something you don’t normally see,” Christine Hoskinson, L.V.T. and Assistant Director of Veterinary Technology in the Department of Animal Science & Veterinary Technology, said.

 

A&M-Kingsville students were able to ask questions, intubate and monitor anesthesia giving them a unique hands-on learning opportunity.

 

“Honestly as a student, this opportunity is amazing,” Recca Heiner, a senior studying veterinary technology, said. “Who else can say in their senior year of college they get to work with sea turtles?”

 

“This is another example of the incredible experiences our students get in our very unique veterinary nursing program,” Hilton said.

 

Category: General Univ, Ag/Env & Wildlife Sci

Contact

Shelby Purdy
 Email
 361-593-4532


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