Morbidity in a juvenile green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) due to ocean-borne plastic.J Zoo Wildl Med. 2009 Mar; 40(1):196-8.JZ
An emaciated 2.36-kg juvenile green sea turtle, Chelonia mydas, was found floating off of Melbourne Beach, Florida, USA (28 degrees 2'4"N, 80 degrees 32'32"W). The turtle exhibited signs of cachexia, positive buoyancy, lethargy, and obstipation; was covered with barnacles; and was anorexic at the time of presentation. Dorsal-ventral radiographs with positive contrast confirmed obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract. Serum chemistry abnormalities reflected metabolic/nutritional deficiencies. Gastrointestinal prokinetics and oral/enema mineral oil applications were effective in relieving gastrointestinal obstruction with the turtle defecating a total of 74 foreign objects over a period of a month. After the removal of the foreign material, the turtle quickly regained normal behavior and health. The lack of blood parameters demonstrating infection or inflammation; the failure to respond to antibiotic and antifungal treatment as well as the parallel improvement in behavior and health after incremental evacuation of the plastic is highly suggestive of a cause and effect association.