WEIRD NEWS
06/29/2011 10:49 am ET Updated Nov 15, 2011

Epileptic Turtle Gets Brain Scanned For Tumor (VIDEO)

British scientists are sparing no expense to treat a very special patient with epilepsy: A 154-pound turtle named Snorkel.

The loggerhead turtle has had many health problems, including epilepsy, since she washed ashore 11 years ago on a beach near Cornwall, England.

She has been at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth and, according to the Sun, worried keepers recently went to the unusual expense of getting her an MRI scan on a machine usually used for obese people to see if she has a brain tumor.

In order to determine if Snorkel did have a tumor, aquarium officials had to shell out the cash to take their turtle on a 320-mile round trip to Gloucester, the closest city with a scanner big enough to accomodate the 5-foot-long loggerhead.

But it was worth every penny to employees like John Crouch.

"We need to know how best to treat her," he said.

Besides being sedated, Snorkel had to be covered with petroleum jelly from tip to toe, er, claw, to prevent her from drying out.

Snorkel is believed to be around 25, and has had numerous issues since her arrival, not the least of which is her epilepsy, a real problem for an air-breathing animal that spends much of its life underwater, according to the BBC.

Currently, Snorkel's fits and seizures are controlled via twice-a-day medication -- the same kind used by humans with epilepsy, but if a tumor is discovered, some "very difficult decisions" will have to be made, according to Sue Thornton of the International Zoo Veterinary Group.

"It is in her best interest to have this scan and we will do everything we can to reduce any stress that she will experience," she said.

So far, results from the unorthodox brain scan seem to be positive according to James Wright, a senior biologist at the NMA.

"Everything went very smoothly on the day –- she came out of the scan and was woken back up fine," Wright told ThisIsCornwall.co.uk. "Early indications are that she does not have a brain tumour. Our vet could not see anything wrong but is taking the results to a specialist radiologist so we should know for sure soon. All in all it's positive news."

But not without surprises.

For instance, the scan revealed the presence of several eggs inside Snorkel, which have probably been lying dormant for several years.

Snorkel is reportedly still a little groggy from the journey so she is being kept in a separate tank for a few days away from the other creatures. She will be back on display for visitors by July 4.