Friday, December 16, 2005

Do they realize it is a turtle?

When I first read this, I thought it was kind of cool, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought... What about little poor kids who have a horrible overbite or TMJ. Maybe they should have put braces on a poor kid instead of the turtle...

WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- Hermie the Turtle's little defective beak made meal time a struggle. Unable to close his mouth completely, the tiny 20-gram reptile underwent an experimental orthodontic procedure to try to keep him alive.

An account of Hermie's ordeal was published in the Watertown Daily Times Thursday. The New York State Zoo in Watertown's Thompson Park was hoping for a Christmas miracle, but officials said that Hermie died of kidney failure later Thursday.

An autopsy revealed the pre-existing condition, the zoo's executive director Angela Baier said.

After receiving Hermie in May, zookeepers noticed the turtle was having difficulty eating. Medical exams then showed Hermie's lower jaw growing downward because the turtle was unable to process calcium.

"I've worked on animals before but nothing this small," said Dr. Peter M. Virga, a Watertown dentist who along with veterinarian Jeffrey G. Baier performed the unique procedure.

Turtles, who are toothless, use their beaks to break food down before grinding it with the plates in their mouths.

After Baier injected Hermie with two anesthetics Wednesday morning, Virga inserted four pins into the turtle's jaws.

During a meeting with reporters, the doctors placed the immobile turtle, believed to be between 2 and 3 years old, on a table. As Baier held Hermie's head, Virga placed two rubber orthodontic elastics _ the same kind used by children with braces _ on the pins across the turtle's mouth.

Zookeepers were planning to remove the rubber bands once a day to allow the turtle to eat.


peebugg said...

I don't think they do.

I wish some people would care that much about people in their own community as they cared for this turtle.