This young female Red-eared Slider was rescued by Pasadena Texas Animal Rescue officers. She was spotted on a log in a park pond and had a fishing hook in her throat and was tangled in the line. Once the turtle was rescued, the shelter contacted GCTTS rehabber, Anita Peddicord. It was obvious that the hook had been in the turtle's mouth for probably several days. She was in distress from the swelling in her mouth and the tissues that had started to die. Ms. Peddicord immediately contacted Dr. Dale Lonsford of the Deer Park Animal Hospital. Dr. Lonsford has helped the GCTTS with many ill and injured turtles over the years. The turtle was dropped off at his office.
At Dr. Lonsford's office the turtle was sedated and x-rayed. The hook had to be pushed through the outside of the neck and the barb cut off. The hook was then easy to remove without the barb. A suture was used to close the exterior opening in the neck. An injectable antibiotic was started to prevent infection.
Dr. Lonsford had photos taken of the procedure to remove the hook. He was kind enough to share those photos with GCTTS.
Photos may not be appropriate for younger or more sensitive viewers!
If you find a turtle with a hook in its mouth or throat, you should never try to back the hook out. The barb will tear tissues. Only a vet should do a hook removal as in the photos above. Turtles need to be sedated in order to do this procedure humanely. Injectable antibiotics need to be administered to prevent infection. Attempt at removal without training by pushing a hook through could cause puncture of a neck vein, artery or airway, etc. and death.