NewsLocal News


Dentist's clever idea may have saved vulnerable turtle species

Posted at 8:05 AM, Jul 17, 2019

SHOREWOOD -- A reminder to be on the lookout for turtles actively nesting this time of year.

One is on the mend three years later, thanks to a dentist's clever idea.

"We're cautiously optimistic that this shell has healed in a way that no one has ever tried before!" said Dr. Nicole Mueller, Dr. Noah's Ark Veterinary Clinic.

The excitement in the veterinary surgery room was palpable. We saw smiles on the faces of Dr. Mueller and wildlife caretaker Mandy Feavel three years in the making.

The Blanding's turtle, a vulnerable species, came to Oconomowoc's Wildlife In Need Center clinging to life after it was likely struck by a vehicle in Hartford.

Dr. Mueller was able to get its skull fracture and top shell healed but,

"The bottom is a problem because there's no great way to stabilize it, so we had to get creative with how we were going to help it," she said.

That is where Dentist Kenneth Waliszewski came in for the last two procedures to create a so-called "turtle splint."

"A sheet of plastic commonly used in the back room of a dental office in the making of removable appliances like dentures," said Dr. Waliszewski.

Then the moment they had been waiting for, it seems to have worked!

By the way, Dr. Waliszewski and Mueller are a father/daughter duo.

The 20-year-old Blanding's turtle could be released back into the wild soon.

"We'll make sure to inform other people who work tirelessly on turtles that this may be a new technique to try," said Dr. Mueller.

Click here to learn more about Blanding's turtles.