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Lump on radiated tortoise head. Is it abscess?

Discussion in 'Tortoise Health' started by arifn, Nov 22, 2018.

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  1. arifn

    arifn New Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi everyone,

    This is my first post after being a silent reader for some time. :)
    Need some help on identifying my friend's radiated tortoise which has a lump on the side of its head. My friend is very worried and asked me to take care of the tortoise. He did brought the tortoise to a vet and the vet gave him a gentamine ointment to be applied but to no avail so far.

    Could anyone help identify what is it? I have read some prior threads and guess that it might be an ear abscess. Just to be sure please do advise me what is it so I could take care of it correctly. I have attached some pictures below.

    Any help would be very much appreciated

    Thank you



    IMG-20181121-WA0072.jpg IMG-20181121-WA0073.jpg
  2. Ben02

    Ben02 Well-Known Member

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    That looks like a ear abscess, did your vet give you antibiotics?
  3. Ben02

    Ben02 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry just saw gentamine. How long have you been using it or have you only used it once
  4. arifn

    arifn New Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi Ben,

    Thanks for the reply

    Have been using it around 3-4 days, 2 times daily. Haven't seen any difference for the better or worse though. The lump started to grow for the past 2-3 weeks. The tortoise itself is still very active and pretty much eating regularly. But of course the lump is still worrying.
  5. Ben02

    Ben02 Well-Known Member

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    That's good it's not affecting him eating and being active. Keep the cream going for a couple more days, if no improvement I recommend getting a experienced veterinarian do lance it of. It's not to stressfull for the tortoise and there is very few risks. Good luck and let me know how you get on.:)
  6. arifn

    arifn New Member 5 Year Member

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    One more question. From some of the threads discussing about ear abscess it was mentioned that to lance it of require some degree of severity in the abscess. Is that correct? How do I determine when would be the most appropriate time to lance it of? Thanks
  7. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    It looks like it's ready now to be lanced. Make sure your implements are sterile (I use a razor blade). Make an 'X' across the lump. You don't need to cut deeply, you're just cutting through the skin. A lot of what's inside should come out as soon as you make the cut, but then depress gently on either side to get more out. I also take the round end of a tooth pick and probe around inside the hole to get out any left over pus particles. Then I flush the wound with Betadine. This tortoise will have to be kept indoors so that flies can't lay eggs on the wound. The open wound closes by itself and scabs over very quickly.

    Ear abscesses generally occur due to an infection somewhere inside the animal, not necessarily at the ear location. So a round of antibiotics is in order.
    jsheffield and TammyJ like this.
  8. Markw84

    Markw84 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    I have always done a straight line cut as opposed to an "x". It heals much better in my experience. Still easy enough to get all the cheesey matter out through the incision.
  9. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    I feel the X incision allows drainage better
  10. arifn

    arifn New Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi Yvonne G,

    Thanks for the detailed and through suggestions. Very much appreciated.
    Since the illness started couple of weeks ago, this tortoise has been kept indoors. Will do the same after the lancing. This is my first experience of abscess after keeping tortoise around 7-8 years now. Would be a good experience if we go through this unschated.

    Thanks for the suggestion Markw84.
    Would need to watch more videos on how to lance it before deciding the type of the cut required for my case. Whatever it is hopefully will get the problem sorted.
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  11. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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    Hope this works out well! All the best.
  12. arifn

    arifn New Member 5 Year Member

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    just would like to update everyone who has helped giving suggestions that I did the lancing of the abscess just now. I hope i managed to get all the pus particle out.

    Amazingly immediately after the lancing the tortoise ate the left over food I provided earlier tonight. Hopefully the would would close up nicely and everything would be back in normal.

    I do need to ask whether I should still apply the gentamine or just leave the would alone to heal?

    Thanks a bunch
  13. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    If you have first aid ointment you can put a dab of that on the wound
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  14. arifn

    arifn New Member 5 Year Member

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    May I know what kind of ointment are you referring?
    I applied some antiseptic during the lancing. I notice some swelling on the wound this morning. Should i apply the gentamine?
  15. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    I flush out the wound with Betadine, then I just leave it alone.
  16. Stoneman

    Stoneman Active Member

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    I had an absess once and the doc stuffed it with guaze to keep it open and provide drainage, then the guaze was removed days later.
  17. daniellenc

    daniellenc Well-Known Member

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    I’d stick with the cream still 1-2 a day and mark the edges of the wound with a pen. If it swells beyond that he needs a vet for oral antibiotics.
  18. Stoneman

    Stoneman Active Member

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    In humans, if an absess breaks and the puss enters the blood stream, it can cause shock to the immune system (sepsis) which is incredibly hazardous and can lead to death.
  19. Ghazan

    Ghazan Member

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    Not really true of superficial abscesses, first line therapy is always incision & drainage for an abscess...
  20. Stoneman

    Stoneman Active Member

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    You may be right, I may be wrong. But healthline.com agrees with me that if an absess remains untreated it can lead to life threatening complications.

    https://www.healthline.com/symptom/skin-abscess
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