Foil tape—a simple, versatile tool for turtle shell repair
Keywords:turtle, shell repair, fracture, chelonian, traumatic injury
The repair of shell fractures in turtles is often delayed due to the time, labor and resources involved in many current shell repair methods, resulting in increased stress, handling and recovery time for the patient. This article introduces a new repair technique using aluminium foil tape combined with cyanoacrylate glue, which allows quick, simple and long-lasting closure of fresh shell injuries. Strips of malleable but inelastic foil tape are cut to size and positioned across the fracture at critical junctures, then glued in place on either side of the wound and burnished down to conform to surface irregularities and insure consistent adhesion. This technique is non-invasive, requires no curing time and can be customized for a wide range of turtle sizes and injuries, either as a stand-alone method or a preliminary stabilization tool. In the author’s experience, it has proven to be consistently effective at reducing fractures and staying in place until removal, when it is easily peeled off with no residual damage. The speed, ease and endurance of the foil tape method may encourage more widespread repair of fresh shell fractures and, in so doing, optimize recovery time and results for chelonian patients.
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