A female eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina) was presented to the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine
Turtle Team's student run emergency care group for shell repair after suspected collision with a motor vehicle. Along with multiple shell fractures, the turtle
was extremely depressed, anorexic, and was paretic in the right front leg. She also appeared blind in the right eye (hyphema). Rehabilitation was attempted for
five months with no improvement noted. Consequent physical and neurologic examination indicated depression/stupor, cranial nerve deficits, no menace response in
the left eye, phthisis in the right eye, circling to the right, and a paretic right front leg. Complete blood count and chemistry profile results were normal. A
skull fracture was identified on conventional radiographs, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A right forebrain injury associated with the
fracture site was identified on MRI. The turtle was euthanatized and histopathology from necropsy is pending. Neurologic examination has not been widely reported
in turtles. This presentation outlines an examination format and compares normal to abnormal box turtles. These findings indicate the need for neurologic
examination of any animal that has undergone vehicular trauma, especially in the case of wildlife intended for release.
We thank the NCSU-CVM Imaging Center, the NCSU Turtle Team, Heide Newton, Kaari Snook, and Jenny Holman for their assistance with this case.
Thanks also to Dr. Greg Lewbart for help in manuscript preparation.