Recently, the National Aquarium’s Animal Health team worked with Veterinary Imaging of the Chesapeake to perform a diagnostic MRI on our 17-year-old female snake-necked turtle.
The Animal Health team was initially alerted after exhibit staff observed the turtle basking more frequently. Increased basking, also known as environmental hyperthermia, is a potential indicator of either illness or egg laying. After radiographs confirmed that the turtle had no eggs, we decided to do a CT and MRI to diagnose what was causing the turtle to exhibit this abnormal behavior.
Partnerships with organizations like Veterinary Imaging of the Chesapeake grant our team much-need access to the kinds of medical scanners that the Aquarium doesn’t have on-site.
We’re happy to report that both scans came back normal and the turtle did later develop eggs. She was moved behind-the-scenes for close observation, has laid two eggs so far and continues to do very well.