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Allender, M. C. , Health and disease in the conservation of the eastern box turtle, terrapene carolina carolina. Paper presented at Third Box Turtle Conservation Workshop. 
Added by: Admin (14 Aug 2008 20:33:41 UTC)
Resource type: Proceedings Article
BibTeX citation key: Allender2007
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Categories: General
Keywords: Chelonia, Cheloniidae, Emydidae, Gopherus, Gopherus polyphemus, Habitat = habitat, Nordamerika = North America, Pelodiscus, Pelodiscus sinensis, Schildkröten = turtles + tortoises, Terrapene, Terrapene carolina, Testudinidae, Testudo, Testudo hermanni, Trionychidae, Trionyx, Veterinärmedizin = veterinary medicine, Viren = viruses
Creators: Allender
Collection: Third Box Turtle Conservation Workshop
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Testudinidae Rehabilitation centers and veterinary schools that frequently encounter box turtles are potential sites for sampling and monitoring health. Routine screening for overall health function using blood, or sampling of dead individuals are key to identifying diseases or toxins that are emerging or persisting in a population. Numerous infectious and non-infectious agents have been implicated in mortalities affecting free-ranging turtles and tortoises. One infectious agent that has been increasingly reported to affect chelonians is Ranavirus, a member of the iridovirus family. Worldwide Ranavirus infections are emerging among wild and captive chelonian populations. Chelonian species diagnosed with Ranavirus infections include the Hermann’s tortoise (Testudo hermanni), Russian tortoise (Testudo horsfieldi), eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina), soft-shelled turtle (Trionyx sinensis), and gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus). Clinical manifestations of iridoviral infections in reptiles are not always present, but may include lethargy, dyspnea, ocular, nasal and oral discharges, and death. Oral lesions are usually slightly raised, white plaques that are easily seen during an oral examination. Other signs may include subcutaneous edema, hepatitis, necrotizing splenitis, conjunctivitis, and pneumonia. The duration of disease is short, and many free-ranging animals likely die prior to their presentation at wildlife rehabilitation centers or clinics. The mode of transmission of reptile iridoviral infections is unknown; however, the occurrence of viral particles in circulating blood cells suggests the possibility that the virus may be transmitted via blood-feeding parasites. Diagnosis of iridovirus is currently validated by using a polymerase chain reaction. Samples should be taken from tissues with a high viral load such as the spleen, liver, oral mucosa, and blood. Treatment of iridovirus has been successfully attempted in some cases. Successful conservation programs of chelonians require integration of numerous types of ecological and biological data, including those addressing habitat quality, nutrition, disease, reproduction, and survival. Research programs focused on free-ranging animals should be more often complemented and triggered by clinical monitoring of animals that are presented for veterinary care at wildlife health centers, rehabilitation centers, and zoos. Cooperation among biologists, veterinarians, local, state, and national governments, and the public will be integral to the management of iridovirus infections in chelonians.
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