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Pyramiding in tortoises with Metabolic Bone Disease

Discussion in 'Tortoise Health' started by Yvonne G, Aug 18, 2009.

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  1. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

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    I thought I would start a new thread on this topic and place some pictures for you all to see.

    Don Williams of the Bakersfield chapter of CTTC had two empty shells and he cut them apart to take a look at the effects of pyramiding. Here's the two shells before he cut:

    [​IMG]

    The pyramided shell on the right, shows just a mild form of pyramiding.
    This is that shell with a cut off portion:

    [​IMG]

    If you look closely at the inside of the carapace, you can see that the inside of the bumps goes up into the bump that shows on the outside..

    Here's a view of a cut off section of the normal carapace:

    [​IMG]

    My Dudley is now a little over 100lbs and 20 years old. When I first got him at 35lbs his pyramiding was worse than the tortoise shown here in these shots. He shows no ill effects from the pyramiding and the growth since living here has been smooth. I don't think this is going to adversely effect his life. However, if a heavy object were to fall on him, I imagine his carapace wouldn't be as strong as a normal sulcata the same size having that object fall on him. But under normal circumstances and in a normal life, I think he will live a long time.

    Yvonne
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  2. Meg90

    Meg90 Active Member 5 Year Member

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    RE: pyramiding

    Really great pictures Yvonne. I am glad you posted this, it helps everyone SEE what really happens when an animal is pyramided. Because, yes, usually it is only cosmetic when caught early, but it has the potential to be detrimental as well.

    thanks for posting.
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  3. Isa

    Isa New Member 5 Year Member

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    RE: pyramiding

    Very interesting Yvonne,
    Thank you so much for posting this. Someone should stick this thread, it is very important to see what pyramiding can do to a tortoise.
  4. micki

    micki Member 5 Year Member

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    RE: pyramiding

    good post Yvonne, useful pics as well.
  5. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    RE: pyramiding

    I'm not clear on this.

    General tort question: Scutes are keratinus growth on top of flat bone, right? This is what I've always thought and that's what it looks like in the first pic. You can see the flat, skeletal bone where some scutes have been removed.

    Question 2: Pyramiding then, is abnormal, upward growth of the keratinus scutes, right? From the pics it looks like the keratin forming the scute is less dense and has "air" pockets in it, but the bone underneath seems normal.

    Do I have this wrong? This is why I think MBD and pyramiding are two totally different things. You can certainly have both problems in the same tort, but they are two independent problems with different causes.

    Can anyone recommend a good tortoise anatomy book?
  6. allegraf

    allegraf Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    RE: pyramiding

    Thanks for the pics! That is fascinating stuff!
  7. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

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    RE: pyramiding

    In the second picture, there is no scute material over the slice of bone. The porous section you see is actually the bone. If there were a scute on the bone, it would look like a lump on the outside, but a cut off side view would look perfectly normal.
  8. Stephanie Logan

    Stephanie Logan Active Member 5 Year Member

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    RE: pyramiding

    Sorry, but this stuff makes me cringe...the truth hurts!

    I'm still hoping Roachman is right and a well-kept pyramided tortoise can still lead a long and comfortable life. The fact that "only time will tell" is my purgatory.
  9. -EJ

    -EJ New Member 5 Year Member

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    RE: pyramiding

    I wonder about people who post information out of context. Dons photos show nothing.

    First, the cuts you are showing are in totally different areas. One of those areas is normally porous and one of those areas is normally dense.

    Do you enjoy misinforming the people who are looking for real information?

    All I can offer is a sigh and hope the readers of this trash do some research of their own.
  10. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

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    RE: pyramiding

    Thanks for the accusation, Ed. I don't knowingly misinform anyone. Instead of accusing, can't you provide a better picture or explanation?
  11. Stephanie Logan

    Stephanie Logan Active Member 5 Year Member

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    RE: pyramiding

    I have been a good girl and reported your post instead of typing something to express my feelings about this ABUSE.
  12. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    RE: pyramiding


    EJ, please let us know where to go too find "real" info. on this subject. I obviously do want to learn, but I'm limited to magazines, old, out-dated books and reptile shows. I've been researching this topic since the early nineties and haven't gotten very far, until very recently. I learned about this forum a couple of weeks ago and its been a great source of info.

    Please share what you know and help erase all the ignorance(especially mine) associated with this subject.
  13. -EJ

    -EJ New Member 5 Year Member

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    RE: pyramiding

    It's not an accusation... it's a fact.

    You're posting misinformation... which has been covered at length.

    I'll get around to posting a better photo... one day.

  14. Stephanie Logan

    Stephanie Logan Active Member 5 Year Member

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    RE: pyramiding

    Why wait? You didn't hesitate to offer pointed criticism.

    Now it's time to ante up, or apoligize if you've misplaced your proof.
  15. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

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    RE: pyramiding

    Ed: THIS is the accusation part of your post.
  16. -EJ

    -EJ New Member 5 Year Member

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    RE: pyramiding

    If you'd like to read it that way.

    I'm not making an accusation... I'm stating outright.

    It is a fact that pyramiding IS NOT a sighn of MBD.

    I'll restate what I usually state... A tortoise with MBD is sometimes pyramided. You can have a perfectly healthy tortoise that has pyramiding.

    Would you agree with what I'm stating?


  17. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

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    RE: pyramiding

    Ed: You implied that I enjoy posting the wrong information. I would be the first person to admit it if I found out that what I said was wrong. But so far you haven't proved to me that my original post IS wrong.[hr]
    Ok Ed...apples and oranges. Go back and re-read my original post. Did I say anyplace in that post that this is what MBD looks like?
  18. bettinge

    bettinge Member 5 Year Member

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    RE: pyramiding

    Not to mention that I don't feel anyone is knowingly posting misinformation here on the forum, let alone enjoying it. Relax Yvonne, I have been accused of posting misinformation myself! It rubs you the wrong way, dosen't it? It does me!
  19. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

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    RE: pyramiding

    I've been called on posting the wrong information lots of times by Danny. But it never bothered me because he let me know how I was wrong. This one is just way out there. If my pictures are wrong, then I'll certainly apologize, but I don't think they are and I haven't been shown yet how they are wrong.
  20. -EJ

    -EJ New Member 5 Year Member

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    RE: pyramiding

    If you read the original post you will see that the entire post leads one to believe that pyramiding causes the porous bone development... this is wrong... nuf said.
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