Myrtle the Turtle in good hands
South Hedland Veterinary Hospital vets have successfully come to the aid of a 38kg saltwater turtle which was attacked by a shark.
The turtle was brought into the clinic by rangers after a resident spotted the injured turtle, which has been named Myrtle, at Spoilbank beach in Port Hedland on Tuesday, May 22.
Veterinarian Dr Charlotte Krisanski said examinations had made it clear the turtle had come off “second-best” to a shark and had suffered partial amputation of one of her front flippers.
The clinic team started supportive care with antibiotics and pain relief and took radiographs of her injured flipper to plan her surgery.
“After much consultation with our Exmouth vet, Dr Jane Giliam, who has expertise in marine life, it was decided removing the rest of her flipper would give Myrtle the best chance of survival,” she said.
“After a successful surgery which was quite risky for a turtle that doesn’t normally have to breathe out of water for long periods of time, and especially under anaesthetic, we are thrilled to say Myrtle is now recovering well.”
Myrtle will receive rehabilitation in Exmouth by Dr Giliam, who is in talks with the Shire of Exmouth about establishing a purpose-built turtle rehabilitation centre.
Dr Giliam is also caring for another turtle, Bertha, who was brought up from Coral Bay with gas trapped inside her because of a parasite infection.
“These are such incredible creatures and we are thankful as regional vets that we get the chance to help them get back on their feet again thanks to the generosity of the local businesses in Exmouth, because marine animals like this may not make it if they had to wait to be transported to Perth for care,” she said.
Janelle Drury, Dr Josie Williams, Dr Charlotte Krisanski and, Dr Tamara Duirs with Myrtle.