Postmortem Diagnostic Investigation of Disease in Free-Ranging Marine Turtle Populations: A Review of Common Pathologic Findings and Protocols

  title={Postmortem Diagnostic Investigation of Disease in Free-Ranging Marine Turtle Populations: A Review of Common Pathologic Findings and Protocols},
  author={Mark Flint and Janet Patterson-Kane and Colin James Limpus and Thierry M. Work and David Blair and Paul C. Mills},
  journal={Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation},
  pages={733 - 759}
Over the past few decades, there have been increasing numbers of reports of diseases in marine turtles. Furthermore, in recent years, there have been documented instances of apparently new diseases emerging in these species of which the etiology and/or pathogenesis remain unknown. These instances i) raise concern for the survival of marine turtles, and ii) question the health and stability of the benthic marine environments in which turtles live. Knowledge of common disease processes and… 

Postmortem examination of Australian sea snakes (Hydrophiinae): Anatomy and common pathologic conditions

  • A. GillettR. PloegM. FlintP. Mills
  • Environmental Science
    Journal of veterinary diagnostic investigation : official publication of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, Inc
  • 2017
An illustrated description of sea snake anatomy is presented and a systematic approach to postmortem examination of sea snakes is described, which describes common pathologic conditions identified from clinical and postmortem examinations of stranded Australian sea snakes from southeast Queensland.

Clinical and Pathological Findings in Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas) from Gladstone, Queensland: Investigations of a Stranding Epidemic

Overall, there was no evidence to indicate a unifying disease as a primary cause of the mass mortality of green turtles near Gladstone, Queensland, and recent adverse weather events, historic regional contamination and nearby industrial activities are discussed as potential causative factors.

Molecular epidemiology and pathology of spirorchiid infection in green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas)

Molecular epidemiology and pathology of spirorchiid infection in green sea turtles ( Chelonia mydas ) International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife

Molecular data in this study provides the first species-level ex-amination of spirorchiid ova and associated pathology, and paves the way for the future development of targeted ante-mortem diagnosis of spirOrchiidiasis.

Mortality associated with ingestion of sea urchins in loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta): A case series

Intestinal impaction with large amounts of sea urchins should be included in the differential diagnosis of gastrointestinal diseases in sea turtles, and the possible toxic effect of someSea urchin species on sea turtles should also be investigated.

Health Surveillance of Stranded Green Turtles in Southern Queensland, Australia (2006–2009): An Epidemiological Analysis of Causes of Disease and Mortality

Assessment of the likelihood of disease being influenced by risk factors (season, maturity, and gender) showed that: there were more observed cases of spirorchiid infection in summer when compared with the other seasons than winter or spring, and immature turtles had more severe spirorchid parasite infections than mature turtles.

Caryospora-Like Coccidia Infecting Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas): An Emerging Disease With Evidence of Interoceanic Dissemination

Low genetic variability among the coccidia found in green turtle populations with minimal natural connectivity suggests recent interoceanic dissemination of these parasites, which could pose a risk to sea turtle populations.


A severely debilitated juvenile green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) was discovered floating in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of St. Kitts and Nevis and presented to the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM) Chelonian Laboratory for evaluation.

First report of Caryospora sp. infection in free-living green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in Northeastern Brazil

The pathological findings were restricted to the lower gastrointestinal tract, with different presentations and intensities, and this is the first report of coccidiosis in green turtles on the north coast of Bahia.



Marine Turtles as Sentinels of Ecosystem Health: Is Fibropapillomatosis an Indicator?

Field observations support that the prevalence of the disease is associated with heavily polluted coastal areas, areas of high human density, agricultural runoff, and/or biotoxin-producing algae.


  • R. J. GreenblattT. Work J. Casey
  • Medicine
    Journal of zoo and wildlife medicine : official publication of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians
  • 2005
Three examples of fibropapillomatosis are documented by histology, quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), and sequence analysis from three different geographic areas to illustrate geographic variation in both the pathology and the virology of fibroblastoma.

Diseases and causes of mortality among sea turtles stranded in the Canary Islands, Spain (1998-2001).

This paper lists the pathological findings and causes of mortality of 93 sea turtles stranded on the coasts of the Canary Islands between January 1998 and December 2001.

A survey of the diseases of marine turtles in northern Australia. I, Farmed turtles

A total of 104 farmed turtles were examined for signs of chnical disease including 1 2 bactenal, 4 parasitic and 4 nutritional diseases, and skin lesions due to biting (traumatic ulcerative dermatitis) were almost universal in farmed Turtles.

Chlamydiosis in Mariculture-reared Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas)

From August 1990 to June 1991, a moderate die-off of 4- to 5-year-old green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) occurred at Cayman Turtle Farm, Grand Cayman, British West Indies. Clinical signs included

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The article discusses the clinical and epidemiological aspects of fibropapillomatosis in marine turtles, a highly debilitating disease, characterized by the presence of multiple epithelial

Retrospective pathology survey of green turtles Chelonia mydas with fibropapillomatosis in the Hawaiian Islands, 1993--2003.

Turtles with FP had significant additional complications including inflammation with vascular flukes, bacterial infections, poor body condition, and necrosis of salt gland, and Turtles with oral tumors were more likely to have secondary complications such as pneumonia.

Bacteraemia in free-ranging Hawaiian green turtles Chelonia mydas with fibropapillomatosis.

It is found that the percentage of turtles with bacteraemia increased with the severity of FP, and that the majority of bacteria cultured were Vibrio spp.

The Elusive Baseline of Marine Disease: Are Diseases in Ocean Ecosystems Increasing?

A proxy to evaluate a prediction of the increasing disease hypothesis: the proportion of scientific publications reporting disease increased in recent decades is developed, the first quantitative use of normalized trends in the literature to investigate an ecological hypothesis.


Lesions were associated with fibropapillomatosis (FP) and/or spirorchidiasis (SP) in 16 of 17 green turtles examined and Histologically, lymphoplasmocytic endarteritis was observed in vessels of turtles with both conditions.