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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've just checked on wurtle, who's hibernating and noticed what looks like a cut in his plastron. I haven't noticed it before and neither did the vet when he was checked before hibernation but I can't imagine it's happened in hibernation so I wonder whether it's just showing up more now as he's getting more dehydrated or something, or whether it was there but neither of us saw it (bad tortoise owner that I am :( ).

Could someone tell me if I should be worried? It is dry and there's no redness or anything like that.

I really don't want to wake him up from hibernation unless it's necessary but I don't want to take any risks either of course.



 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
He's at least 25 yrs plus (probably nearer 40) though we don't know for sure. He was inherited from my best friend who passed away 2 yrs ago. Her family had him for 25yrs and he was originally found, fully grown, at the side of the road. He has old injuries to the top of his shell and is missing an eye (probably a road traffic accident) but no other signs. His plastron is fairly battered though. It could be old and it's just sort of peeled back during hibernation making it more obvious I guess.

Does it look like anything I need to be concerned about?
 

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It is or was shell rot. You need to remove the dead shell and bathe in a betadine or the like antiseptic/disinfectant for reptiles (diluted). Then if not before a visit to the vets to get it checked out properly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
It is or was shell rot. You need to remove the dead shell and bathe in a betadine or the like antiseptic/disinfectant for reptiles (diluted). Then if not before a visit to the vets to get it checked out properly.
The shell is rock hard - should I try and cut it off? He's hibernating so can I do it while he's asleep?
I have some betadine (for humans!) does that need to be further diluted?
sorry for all the questions :blush:


edited to add: ok I've just found this photo from a year ago. You can see there's a white blemish in the same place. So given the current photos, above, and this one - does anyone think it's still active or has he just caught it on something (I'm so ashamed I didn't spot it before - that's the weird thing though, he had a vet check pre-hibernation too and the vet checked his whole shell :( )

 

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im sorry to hear your problems,maybe if you ring a vet,to be on the safe side you will get a awnsre more quickley than waitin gfor people to come home from work and log in,
i wish you all the best with him i couldnt coment on what to do i would be the same as you,worried sick,let us know what ever u do X
 

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just a thought but could a rodent have gotten in with him and had a nibble?
 

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like I said just an idea, wouldn't shell rot have been seen before putting the tort down? I thought shell rot needed or was caused by damp surely a tort boxed or fridged wouldn't be damp or at least mine aren't, its not unheard of for a mouse or rat to get into a box (if boxed) and I'd imagine it would only need a slightely raised area to start, if it can gnaw into a smooth peice of wood a shell wouldn't be much of a problem.
 

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Nancy - why dont you pm Rodney Vet and ask him to take a look at your post - he will be able to advise you as you do have clear pictures of the problem

Good Luck - I hope it isn't anything to worry about.
 

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The shell is rock hard - should I try and cut it off? He's hibernating so can I do it while he's asleep?
I have some betadine (for humans!) does that need to be further diluted?
sorry for all the questions :blush:


edited to add: ok I've just found this photo from a year ago. You can see there's a white blemish in the same place. So given the current photos, above, and this one - does anyone think it's still active or has he just caught it on something (I'm so ashamed I didn't spot it before - that's the weird thing though, he had a vet check pre-hibernation too and the vet checked his whole shell :( )


If you are pretty sure it was not there at the start of hibernation then I would get this tortoise up and treat it, I would certainly not attempt to treat a hibernating tortoise. The tortoises metabolism is much slower during hibernation so not a lot of point really anyway.
 

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Bathing in betadine or the like can be done while asleep if needed. This is to stop any bacteria setting in. A vet can/will remove any dead shell, going back to new shell underneath.
Getting your tortoise up might stop any stresses you might have. You could always phone a vet for more information as to what it the best thing to do, about getting the tortoise up or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
just a thought but could a rodent have gotten in with him and had a nibble?
No I don't think so. He's in a box, inside a box, both of which are rodent-proof and there's no sign of any rodent activity - thankfully! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If you are pretty sure it was not there at the start of hibernation then I would get this tortoise up and treat it, I would certainly not attempt to treat a hibernating tortoise. The tortoises metabolism is much slower during hibernation so not a lot of point really anyway.
I'm not 100% certain it wasn't there but I don't see how I could have missed it as I checked him really thoroughly - unless, as I said, as he's got more dehydrated the shell has splintered out which is what I've now noticed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Bathing in betadine or the like can be done while asleep if needed. This is to stop any bacteria setting in. A vet can/will remove any dead shell, going back to new shell underneath.
Getting your tortoise up might stop any stresses you might have. You could always phone a vet for more information as to what it the best thing to do, about getting the tortoise up or not.
I'll try giving the vet a call but I think I'd better wake him up. I've got to go away tomorrow for work at 5:30am and won't be back until the evening though so perhaps for tonight I'll bathe it in the betadine and wait to wake him up in the daylight.

Just to clarify, if I have "betadine" (the branded iodine solution that is already diluted) do I need to dilute it further?

Sorry for all the questions - am panicking slightly and just feel absolutely terrible that I didn't notice this sooner :(
 

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With concentrated betadine its one part betadine to ten parts water, and should look like weak tea.
You could do a one off as it is, until you find out from the vet what to use and how.
If you were medicating orally or injection I would agree to get the tortoise up. But for the shell, I would do it when the tortoise was asleep, and then get the vets advice.
 

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With concentrated betadine its one part betadine to ten parts water, and should look like weak tea.
You could do a one off as it is, until you find out from the vet what to use and how.
If you were medicating orally or injection I would agree to get the tortoise up. But for the shell, I would do it when the tortoise was asleep, and then get the vets advice.
I would agree, if the actual area is rock hard, this is more like splintered old damage from some point as you suggested.

While the lifted area will need to be removed and the area betadine/pevidine/tamodined to remove any nasties lurking underneath.

How long has he now been in hibernation and how long left to go? This doesn't appear (to me in my experience: victory:) to be anything serious enough to warrant waking him up at this point,
Lotte***
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Bathing in betadine or the like can be done while asleep if needed. This is to stop any bacteria setting in. A vet can/will remove any dead shell, going back to new shell underneath.
Getting your tortoise up might stop any stresses you might have. You could always phone a vet for more information as to what it the best thing to do, about getting the tortoise up or not.
I would agree, if the actual area is rock hard, this is more like splintered old damage from some point as you suggested.

While the lifted area will need to be removed and the area betadine/pevidine/tamodined to remove any nasties lurking underneath.

How long has he now been in hibernation and how long left to go? This doesn't appear (to me in my experience: victory:) to be anything serious enough to warrant waking him up at this point,
Lotte***
He's been in hibernation 9 weeks and I was thinking of another 2 - 3 weeks as he's only lost about 1.5% of his body weight and appeared otherwise ok. I think I would have left him if I was more experienced but I'm not so I'm going to wake him but thank you for your help. In fact thanks to everyone who's replied - it's such a relief to know there are people on here I can turn to for advice - so thanks :2thumb:


I pm'd Rodneyvet on here (who was really helpful - thank you :2thumb:) and called my vet (C J Hall in East Sheen) who both advised waking him up and doing as several of you have suggested - bathing in betadine. So that's what I'm going to do. In fact I've already given it a scrub with betadine (which I diluted). I don't want to risk leaving him asleep as I'd be heartbroken if something happened and I could have prevented it. I've only had him a couple of years but I inherited him from my best friend when she passed away and he's such a fabulous character (a real little nightmare actually but it's great!) so although I've not had him long he's really important to me.

I'm rigging up a temporary indoor area for him now - he's rather large and destructive so it's not that easy but I won't put him outside now, even with a heated inside bit as I want to keep him dry and warm until this is sorted. The vet suggested waiting until he was fully awake before bringing him so he could metabolise any antibiotics administered (assuming they are) better so am taking him on Friday morning.

Thanks again everyone :)
 

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Good luck Nancy... I really hope things will be okay - I can understand how important he must be to you. **hugs** x
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Good luck Nancy... I really hope things will be okay - I can understand how important he must be to you. **hugs** x
Thanks Tina :)


Update
: Wurtle's awake! He's had 3 long baths today and has been under a heat lamp (though he keeps walking away from it into the cool end of his temporary table). My mum helped out while I was at work. We haven't seen him drink but we didn't watch every second so it's possible he drank when we weren't looking. He did swallow a bit of water when I dribbled it over his mouth. He's also just started eating - woohoo! He's had a piece of cucumber, a small slice of tomato (and yes I know I shouldn't feed that but it's a good way to get him to start eating and get some fluid/nutrients into him, I won't be giving anymore once he's eating properly), 2 small dandelion leaves and a bit of a plantain leaf. He ate quite enthusiastically and his mouth looks a healthy pink and clean (though I didn't get a great look so will get the vet to do a proper check).

The suspected shell rot/lesion thing has been scrubbed with dilute betadine a couple of times and actually looks slightly better which may be a result of the baths softening the dead shell so it lies more flush with his plastron.
He's off to the vet on friday and fingers crossed he'll be fully up and running by then so he can cope with any medication the vet pescribes.
 
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