Dr. Carolina Medina gives tortoise electro-acupuncture therapy

Though this wildlife center cares for thousands of animals every year, this is the first time they have ever used acupuncture on a patient.

The special case was a 10-year-old gopher tortoise that was found on the side of the road with a deep crack in her shell and no motor control left in her back legs.

The South Florida Wildlife Center (SFWC) took the tortoise into their care and started a life-saving treatment of “electro-acupuncture”: a therapy that connects electrical leads to acupuncture needles with the goal of improving the stimulation of damaged nerves through mild electrical currents.

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Their efforts paid off within just a week in April, as she regained movement in her back legs. One month later, the tortoise was wandering around her outdoor enclosure and munching on tasty grass shoots.

A threatened species in Florida, gopher tortoises make their homes by burrowing into the dirt. To ensure this particular patient’s survival, the final step is waiting until she regains her digging abilities before releasing her back into the wild.

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The tortoise was a perfect example of SFWC’s promotion of the One Health concept, which recognizes that each individual species is linked to the survival of every other.

“Gopher tortoises are a keystone species,” said the Humane Society of the United State’s senior director Debra Parsons-Drake. “The burrows they dig are essential to the survival of hundreds of other species who use them for safety and shelter.

“By saving this one animal, we are not only benefitting her, but positively affecting the environment in which we all co-exist.”

Dr. Carolina Medina, SFWC volunteer, gopher tortoises, electro-acupuncture therapy

Click To Share This Cool Rescue With Your FriendsPhotos by Jesus Aranguren/AP Images for HSUS

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