Aquarium turtle goes for brain scan

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A Loggerhead turtle from the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth has made a 320-mile round trip for an MRI scan.

The turtle, known as Snorkel, is one of the star attractions at the Aquarium, but she has suffered from suspected epileptic fits for the last five years, and has to be given anti-epilepsy medication twice a day to control them, as a fit suffered underwater could be particularly serious.

Staff are worried that she might have a brain tumour, hence her trip to the Cobalt Centre, in Cheltenham for the scan.

Snorkel was rescued back in 1990, after she was washed up in Cornwall. The 71kg turtle has spent the last 10 years being cared for at the National Marine Aquarium as various health problems have meant she cannot be released back into the wild. Staff believe that many of these problems stem from a trauma suffered when she first came ashore.

Snorkel was covered in petroleum jelly for the trip to prevent her skin and shell from drying out. She was then placed in a foam box to prevent her from being injured on her journey from Plymouth to Cheltenham, during which she was accompanied by a vet and several experienced aquarists.

The National Marine Aquarium vet, Sue Thornton, who is part of the International Zoo Veterinary Group and has been caring for Snorkel for five years, said: “Once we have the scans of her head, we will be able to see if she has a brain tumour. This will then allow us to make a decision about her future treatment."

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