NORWICH, N.Y. – An Upstate veterinarian has gone the extra mile to heal a painted turtle she recently found on the road with a cracked shell.
Dr. Stevi Culverwell, of Compassionate Care Veterinary of Norwich in Chenango County said she was driving to Rome, N.Y. about two weeks ago when she spotted a painted turtle on the road.
She stopped and got out of her car with the intention of helping it on its way. However, she noticed it had been run over, with the back third of its shell cracked in three places.
Culverwell brought it back to her clinic and examined it, noticing that no internal organs were exposed and that it had full use of its tail and feet. That meant it most likely didn’t have any nerve damage.
The turtle, a male, was about the size of a small coffee saucer, she said. It weighed .84 pounds.
Culverwell set about healing the turtle’s cracked shell. During the process, she’s been consulting with a fellow vet who deals with zoo and exotic animals.
She said began by using an anesthetic to “numb the area” where the cracks were. She then applied some cooling epoxy to the cracks, wrapped the area with medical tape and used zip ties to keep everything together during the healing process. She also injected it with some anti-inflammatory medicine, along with an antibiotic.
The turtle, who Culverwell’s boyfriend named Splash Gordon, is currently doing fine, she said.
“He’s a little spitfire. He races (around) fast for a turtle,” Culverwell said.
She said she’s been feeding it a diet of lettuce, turtle pellets that contain shrimp bits, worms and other bugs.
Culverwell plans to release him in another month. He will be put in her boyfriend’s pond where there are “tons” of other painted turtles.
“And there’s not a (nearby) road, so we won’t have to worry about him crossing the road again,” she said.
Culverwell speculated Splash Gordon was crossing the road to mate with a female turtle when he got run over. See the state Department of Environmental Conservation website about why turtles cross roads and what to do if you happen upon one in the process of doing that.
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