Red foot shell spliting open, not sure whats going on.

jacksknight

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Hey guys, been a log time since I posted. This is Groot she is about 6 to 7 years old now, after cleaning her the other day we noticed this going on with her shell. Otherwise seems healthy and is eating fine. Since we noticed it we have been keeping the area clean and wrapped with some veterinarian vet wrap to keep the area clean. It has started working its way back on her shell though, although before the shell was much more open it seems to have closed a bit.

She stays outside full time here in florida in an enclosed pen, with two other females with no issues. We have a separate male too, but he also has no issues. No behavioral issues at all and like I said eating just fine. Would love to know what the problem is or what we should do. Thanks a bunch for any help!!
 

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zovick

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Hey guys, been a log time since I posted. This is Groot she is about 6 to 7 years old now, after cleaning her the other day we noticed this going on with her shell. Otherwise seems healthy and is eating fine. Since we noticed it we have been keeping the area clean and wrapped with some veterinarian vet wrap to keep the area clean. It has started working its way back on her shell though, although before the shell was much more open it seems to have closed a bit.

She stays outside full time here in florida in an enclosed pen, with two other females with no issues. We have a separate male too, but he also has no issues. No behavioral issues at all and like I said eating just fine. Would love to know what the problem is or what we should do. Thanks a bunch for any help!!
Not sure why it happened, but it appears that some of the scutes are loosening and are going to come off, exposing the bone under them. If it were my tortoise, I would take it to a good reptile vet and have the scutes professionally removed and/or trimmed back to healthy points so that the areas can heal properly.

There is a lot of debris under those loose scutes which is probably contributing to them loosening. Removing the loose scutes (or portions thereof) should allow for better bone health and formation of new scute keratin.
 

Yvonne G

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Looks like she's been rammed. I've seen that sort of injury on a tortoise that was rammed by a sulcata.
 
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ZEROPILOT

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That's a relatively serious injury. Either she got kicked, stepped on, dropped by a human or harmed by another tortoise. (Or a dog) it's all just a guess. I've personally never seen a Redfoot damaged like that from another Redfoot. I'd expect to see bites to the legs or tail. Not shell damage.
Where in Florida are you located? Do you have a vet?
I reccomend BROWARD AVIAN AND EXOTIC. It's in Deerfield Beach.
Dr. Pardini there is fantastic. So is Dr. Kelleher. They both know tortoises.
Are you able to isolate her while she heals? Keep her clean.
 

jacksknight

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Yeah it's really strange, she doesn't have any bite marks or anything, we have always watched for that sorta of thing. Those three have been together for 6 or 7 years so far with no issues, although I know that means nothing and they could develop an issue. They are in a fenced in backyard in an enclouser so no one has access to them, so she wasn't dropped or attacked by any animals. If you look at the first picture that one big scute that is hanging open was the first one I noticed. We scrubbed her with dilluted chlorhexidine, and wrapped her in vet bandage to keep it clean.

Its been about a week so we went to take photos tonight to post and it was a lot worse. To me it seems like it's bulging out from the inside. Like a growth is underneath causing swelling. Originally it was just the one scute, now it is what you see.

We live on the west coast and I found two local vets that see torts, so I'm going to call them tomorrow. Thanks for the advice.
 

jacksknight

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That's a relatively serious injury. Either she got kicked, stepped on, dropped by a human or harmed by another tortoise. (Or a dog) it's all just a guess. I've personally never seen a Redfoot damaged like that from another Redfoot. I'd expect to see bites to the legs or tail. Not shell damage.
Where in Florida are you located? Do you have a vet?
I reccomend BROWARD AVIAN AND EXOTIC. It's in Deerfield Beach.
Dr. Pardini there is fantastic. So is Dr. Kelleher. They both know tortoises.
Are you able to isolate her while she heals? Keep her clean.
These are the pictures we took the other day, I didn't post them because they were blurry. You can make out though that it was more localized at the time. This was also before cleaning the area. Today when we cleaned her and took new pictures it had spread down the side of her shell and the scutes above the original was split open too.
 

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ZEROPILOT

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These are the pictures we took the other day, I didn't post them because they were blurry. You can make out though that it was more localized at the time. This was also before cleaning the area. Today when we cleaned her and took new pictures it had spread down the side of her shell and the scutes above the original was split open too.
That's very odd.
Maybe you're correct about something pushing outwards.
I'd invest in an X ray and a general exam.
 

jacksknight

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I'm sorry that I have so little to say. It's unusual.
Hey, so a follow up to what's going on. Groot has an infection in the layer between the bones and outer shell. The inner flesh was swelling causing them to push open. Xrays show everything else all clear. The Doc was able to remove the one scute and scrub out off the dead flesh. She is on antibiotics and will be indoors to keep her clean for a bit. We are going to home depot now to build an enclouser in the house. Will post pics when it's all done.

She is doing good though, was eating right away, so looks like she will be fine.
 

ZEROPILOT

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Hey, so a follow up to what's going on. Groot has an infection in the layer between the bones and outer shell. The inner flesh was swelling causing them to push open. Xrays show everything else all clear. The Doc was able to remove the one scute and scrub out off the dead flesh. She is on antibiotics and will be indoors to keep her clean for a bit. We are going to home depot now to build an enclouser in the house. Will post pics when it's all done.

She is doing good though, was eating right away, so looks like she will be fine.
Good.
That's unfortunate but it makes perfect sense.
 

jacksknight

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So small update!! They got the tissue sample results back and it looks like she has a bacterial infection. Her bandages were changed and everything looked good under them. She will be getting antibiotic injections every three days for a few weeks. Our daughter works at the hospital here, so the vet showed her how to do the injections so we could do it at home.

She is eating and drinking well, and seems to be acting completely normal. The vet has been speaking to her colleagues and they don't really have any answers on how it could have started, but it's looking pretty good.
 

Maro2Bear

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So small update!! They got the tissue sample results back and it looks like she has a bacterial infection. Her bandages were changed and everything looked good under them. She will be getting antibiotic injections every three days for a few weeks. Our daughter works at the hospital here, so the vet showed her how to do the injections so we could do it at home.

She is eating and drinking well, and seems to be acting completely normal. The vet has been speaking to her colleagues and they don't really have any answers on how it could have started, but it's looking pretty good.

Good update & good luck!
 

jacksknight

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From my experience, it's a really good sign that the tort is eating and drinking "normally" as it heals.
I expect good things for this one
Took her back to the vet today and got a picture of her unwrapped. The vet was very pleased with how everything looked. The yellow i believe is the layer between the shell and the bone, the white is some of the antibiotic cream before they cleaned her again. I circled in the picture because you can see where the scute is starting to regrow already, vet seemed very pleased with her progress. She has three more antibiotic injections that we are giving at home, and now doesn't have to go back for bandage change for two weeks. Going to keep her inside for now to keep everything clean, but she is doing good!!
 

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