Clinical Diagnostics and putting a Tortoise back together again (Day 624)

Tortoise Dog Attack

Todays Diary Entry is sponsored by Pet Hooligans

This morning I did my clinical diagnostics exam, the first part was practical where I had to examine a cow for a suspected foreign body (of course it was negative!) and then justify what I did. The second part of the exam was theory based and I had to talk about clinical methods, different methods of diagnosis and the different ways to assess the nervous system. I manage to do ok and got a C!

To celebrate I went into clinic, for me after spending so long stuck in books seeing patients is a reminder of just why it is all worthwhile. A week or so ago I was talking to some colleagues in the UK when dog bites on tortoises came up – rather stupidly I said I had never seen it here so today not 1 but 2 dog bite victims turned up in clinic. These had both been attacked by a dog for just a few seconds… This was really sad for me as these tortoises were nearly the same age as me 🙁

Sadly the first patient had very severe injuries, both the top (carapace) and bottom (plastron) parts of the shell were broken, and there were severe lung injuries (the lungs are just inside the top part of the shell) so sadly we had to euthanise this patient to end its severe suffering. The second one had part of the side of the shell missing along with fractures to the carapace and more shell pieces missing elsewhere. We could not determine any internal injuries so are hopeful it has a chance of survival.

To do this we used dental acrylic, along with a framework of thermoplast (a cast material used for fractures), some old x-ray film and several hours of time. These are the before and after photos…

Tortoise dog attack shell repairNow as you can see we have basically built an entire framework for the shell to heal, sadly however in tortoises this process is extremely slow. This repair material will be in place for at least 6 months with the high probability that it will take over a year to heal.

Please, as interesting as the surgery is, I’d be happy to never have to see this again so please do not let dogs mix with a tortoise or turtle as cute as it may look!!!