EMERGENCY: Need Help Rescued Russian Turtle Yesterday

LanaJoy

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I took in a small Russian turtle that had been chewed on by a big dog and then thrown into somebody’s yard who contacted me and I went and got her. As soon as I got her home, I soaked her in warm water, which she seem to love, and Fed her live mealworms and a big Canadian nightcrawler which she loved. She drank very good and walks around great except for one leg that is injured. I suppose it looks fine but she doesn’t walk on it much. The terrible problem is the dog ripped off almost half of her shell . I was able to find a vet that would see her late yesterday and she immediately wanted to euthanize her. I begged her to let me for a week to get her better. I begged her for antibiotics which she gave me a weeks worth and pain meds, all intravenously, of course .
The main problem, as I see, it is her skin where the shell was chewed off is all intact but underneath you can see that it is very dry and rotting or decomposing or something. There are no skin abrasions where the teeth tore into her and all her organs seem to be working fine. You can see her breathing her lungs moving. She’s eating and drinking and walking great. Last night I gave her a warm bath because I’m trying to clean that area out and she loved it and swam and kept ducking up and down in the water for over an hour. I kept warm water at all times. I have many questions on how to keep helping her all I can, but I’m so afraid of doing something that will not be helpful. The vet is washing her hands of the situation and made me sign a release form saying that I was offered euthanasia, but refused it. I totally understand that the vet was probably right and she may not make it and I’m praying with all my heart that she’s not hurting in anyway. I haven’t given her the pain medicine yet because I gave her the antibiotic injection as soon as we got home and I went into not double up on medication’s at the same time so I will start the pain medicine today.
So my questions are:

I’m thinking of putting Neosporin ointment on her skin that’s exposed in hopes that it would help rejuvenate it from the outside while she’s taking the antibiotics on the inside. Any ideas on that or some other spray or cream that I could put on the outside to help her skin to rejuvenate?

Didn’t mention I’m keeping her in a dry terrarium very large with plenty of water and food and no dirt or substrate. Just very soft, clean flannel sheet, folded up in the bottom that she snuggled up underneath in and slept like a baby all night. Any other recommendations on what I should do there?

I’m watching the heat in her terrarium because I don’t want to burn the raw skin so I’m keeping a close eye on that with heat on and off and not close down. I’m keeping her in a warm room in the house of course. Any other ideas on that?

I understand she is so damaged. It probably will not grow back, but I am going to try to figure out a way to cover this area if she survives with some type of prosthetic shell, but I worry about that later if she can survive the next few weeks.

Any information you can pass on about what I should be feeding her to help her get healthy and nutritious ideas?

Thank you so much. You are such a blessing with your knowledge and helpful hence.

Lana 🐢💕
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Lana: First of all, we need to see pictures of this "Russian" I'm not so sure that's what you have, as they don't eat worms. Russian tortoises are vegetation eaters, and all the russians I've ever come into contact with hate being put in water.

If the shell has been chewed away exposing the organs, there's no way you can keep the interior of the tortoise moist so the organs don't dry out. There is no "skin" under the shell, just a membrane. So pictures, please.
 

LanaJoy

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Hi Lana: First of all, we need to see pictures of this "Russian" I'm not so sure that's what you have, as they don't eat worms. Russian tortoises are vegetation eaters, and all the russians I've ever come into contact with hate being put in water.
Ok I’m waiting for her to wake up & I’ll send pics. I totally must be wrong!
Thank you so much
 

wellington

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Ok I’m waiting for her to wake up & I’ll send pics. I totally must be wrong!
Thank you so much
Sounds like you either have a box turtle or a water turtle. But we really can't help without picture. We need to positively ID the species and to evaluate how bad the wounds are.
If they are too bad, it may be best to humanly have her euthanized.
But pictures will tell us more.
 

LanaJoy

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Sounds like you either have a box turtle or a water turtle. But we really can't help without picture. We need to positively ID the species and to evaluate how bad the wounds are.
If they are too bad, it may be best to humanly have her euthanized.
But pictures will tell us more.
IMG_6222.jpegIMG_6219.jpegIMG_6218.jpegIMG_6217.jpegIMG_6220.jpeg
 

LanaJoy

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The piece of white tape you see across her is where that part of her shell was partially broken off and hanging over her leg so she couldn’t move her leg and walk. I put it back and glued it and taped it and she’s able to walk now much better.
 

Yvonne G

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That's a little western ornate box turtle. I've seen box turtles recover from terrible shell injuries, so maybe this lucky little tortoise can make it too. But all that dirt will have to be cleaned off., and once it's clean some sort of cover to keep it clean. Also, I don't know how on earth you're gong to keep any exposed organs moist. Allowing them to dry makes them inoperable and is a death sentence. The turtle doesn't appear to be in distress. I wish you the best of luck.
 
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wellington

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See if you can find a wildlife rehab in your area
If not and you want to try and help her, you will have to house her inside. That would is too big and dirt and flies will invade and kill her.
It is such a deep big area and hole, I don't know if there is anything that could save her. But setting her up as best you can inside and if you can a vet visit.
 

Ink

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😲 thank you for trying to care for the turtle. However I agree with Wellington. Please keep us posted.
See if you can find a wildlife rehab in your area
If not and you want to try and help her, you will have to house her inside. That would is too big and dirt and flies will invade and kill her.
It is such a deep big area and hole, I don't know if there is anything that could save her. But setting her up as best you can inside and if you can a vet visit.
 

LanaJoy

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That's a little western ornate box turtle. I've seen box turtles recover from terrible shell injuries, so maybe this lucky little tortoise can make it too. But all that dirt will have to be cleaned off., and once it's clean some sort of cover to keep it clean. Also, I don't know how on earth you're gong to keep any exposed organs moist. Allowing them to dry makes them inoperable and is a death sentence. The turtle doesn't appear to be in distress. I wish you the best of luck.
Thank you so very much. I did not know her breed. That makes me feel a little better and gives me some hope. That explains why she liked the water so much.
I just gave her the pain shot and it seemed like in about 15 minutes. She was wanting to get up and run around so I did take her out on my porch where it’s clean and dry and let her walk around for a while but now she’s back in bed after eating, two or three more ! I’ll let her get back in the soaking tub in a little bit to keep that moist. The dark that you see really dirt the guy got him from yesterday. Said he had kind of washed out the dirt and took out three maggots. When I got her home, I washed it really good and used a Q-tip to try to reach up in there and clean it and nothing else is coming off of it. Part of that is just I think decay and dried up skin on the outside that was attached to the shell that’s missing.
 
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