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Sulcata - Swollen Back Legs/Joints

Discussion in 'Tortoise Health' started by TRTLGRL, Feb 9, 2017.

  1. TRTLGRL

    TRTLGRL New Member

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    Need advice. Long story short. I noticed back swollen legs on my 6 yr old sulcata. Took to vet and of course, he wouldnt allow her to see.. she gave antibiotic injection... Stopped eating, was moving but not as active, it's winter here so his winter accommodations are a 10x8 heated shed. Summertime he roams entire property.. So about 2 weeks later, vet sedated to see legs, cleaned up, liquid bandage, and another round of antibiotics. Took 5 days to come out of anesthesia, hasnt eaten, not walking. Very lethargic. SInce surgery ive kept in my house with bulbs on him to keep him from substrate and infection. Wasnt responsive to me scratching foot so tried irritating him enough to walk and noticed he wasnt descending right leg.. finally did and noticed his joint area was so swollen and raw it couldnt extend. that triggered me to call the vet.. well, she never worked on his right leg and i learned she couldnt sedate him enough to hydrate. Ive since learned the antibiotic injections (he's now had 3) are doing more harm than good. I had her dremel the shell so that it would have a chance to heal. She immediately is assuming kidney failure. Yes, i know the only way to tell is to get bloodwork .. but just as i dont want her to sedate him again to work on right leg, sedation is just not healthy for him at this point, she indicated she could not hydrate unless sedated but ive read other posts where vets have hydrated without sedation. If she couldnt do it once i am not putting him through it again.. now yesterday it was somewhat nice out 66 degrees..i put him outside and he walked and went right to his "spot" that he goes to in summer which makes me think, he's coherent enough to remember. But walking is just scraping the skin off his legs, catch 22. Has anyone seen this type of inflammation in the legs? of course today, it's snowing plus again i dont want him to keep irritating it. I spoke with a sulcata rescue last night, very knowledgeable and he said i could actually force feed, i am still questioning how even i got his head out, how willing he would be to open his mouth.. Ive seen other posts about inserting a tube an wondering also, what technique you used to pry open. Attached is pic of my nightmare yesterday. BTW surgery was last tuesday.

    tort leg.jpg
  2. Gillian Moore

    Gillian Moore Well-Known Member

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    Hi @TRTLGRL and a very warm welcome to the forum. :)

    Extremely sorry to know that you tort is sick. :(Wishes for a speedy recovery.

    Unfortunately I cannot give you advise:am no tort expert. Will tag the experts at TFO for you.

    @Yvonne G @wellington @Tom , would you please be kind enough to help @TRTLGRL asap? Thank you. :)
  3. TRTLGRL

    TRTLGRL New Member

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    Thank you, I really appreciate it.
  4. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

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    Holy cow! That's a terrible wound. Much worse than a little scrape made by the shell.

    I wouldn't go back to that vet. Anesthesia is hard on tortoises, but it never should take that long for him to come out of it.

    Let's see if we can get opinions from some of the vets on our Forum - @exoticsdr @Ferretinmyshoes @deadheadvet

    And in the meantime, you can clean off the shell at that location and make sure it's very dry, then put some good old duct tape on it to help the wound slide rather than do more scraping.
    Kasia likes this.
  5. Maro2Bear

    Maro2Bear Well-Known Member

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    Ouch! Sorry to see/hear about this issue with ur Sully. While you wait for @maggie3fan @Yvonne G @Tom @deadheadvet to take a look and provide their wisdom, have you tried giving ur guy some daily warm water soaks?

    Nb: i see Yvonne said to keep it dry, i'd defer to her guidance. I'm just thinking the skin looks dry, and soaking might help.

    Good luck and hoping for the Best for ur Sully n You.
  6. deadheadvet

    deadheadvet Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Looks like so form of necrosis of the skin. Can not tell etiology based on 1 image. best home advice to do at a minimum is to make your own Dakin's solution ( look it up) and start cleaning that area twice a day. W/o knowing the ultimate cause, can not make any other recommendations.
  7. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

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    No, I was saying to make sure the SHELL is dry so the duct tape will adhere.
  8. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    Thanks for the compliment, but I am no expert. Something like that I would have no idea what is causing it, I could only suggest what to do about it, then I would be alerting Yvonne, as she rehabs and possibly a few others.
  9. Kasia

    Kasia Well-Known Member

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    Does he pee daily? How does it look like? Draining blood does not need sedation just a tight grip. Urine sample can be helpful as well. Consult another Vet you can send out pics and mail to different university clinics specializing in reptiles as well second /third opinion will not hurt. Keep fighting for him:) I keep my fingers crossed for you both!
    Pearly likes this.
  10. deadheadvet

    deadheadvet Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Do not send pictures to a University hospital and expect to get a reply with recommendations. Unless this tortoise is worked up for the cause of the skin necrosis, they will not respond. They will more than happy to schedule an appt to see the animal in person, then make recommendations based on the initial evaluation. They can not nor should they make veterinary recommendations based on images. There is always a liability about treatment recommendations w/o the tortoise being a patient.
    SarahChelonoidis likes this.
  11. Kasia

    Kasia Well-Known Member

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    What I meant was she will find one specializing in torts and they will envite her over. Will be able/egar to acculy to test without sedation, take blood e.g.. Still in my opinion it is better to mail and ask if they think that they will be able to help him, not to drive god knows how many km and find out it was pointless, stress the animal. Honest Vet in my opinion should tell that as a starter. Her Vet can consult elsewhere and get recomendations for the treatment. Getting very sick animal under anesthesia and not getting its blood sample was not a good move in my opinion. I am not a Vet but simple logic tells me so.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2017
    Pearly likes this.
  12. Pearly

    Pearly Well-Known Member

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    How about more pictures from different sides, front, back, side view and as many close ups as you can get. I might be able to give you some tips that might be helpful. At least for sure would be useful in human wound healing, I'm not sure how different reptile wounds would be to heal but i think the general principles should be this same. See if you can get those images asap and I'll research some products that you can get over the counter at drug stores
  13. deadheadvet

    deadheadvet Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Sorry to disagree, but veterinarians in a specialized practice receive many e-mails about people looking for free advice. They can not offer treatment recommendations without seeing the animal in question. As far as sedation, a large number of larger tortoises can not be bled w/o sedation. They are too strong to hold their neck out while trying to obtain a sample. If the wound is as big as it appears, sedation would be needed to debride the wound anyway.
    Pearly and SarahChelonoidis like this.
  14. Pearly

    Pearly Well-Known Member

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    I always appreciate ANY and EVERY suggestion and idea that the members here offer, even when at times I may not agree with some, still, they take their time and try to help another member by sharing their knowledge/experience and I'm always grateful for every single post. Myself I love to help in any way I can and when I can, tortoise Forum is just a tiny and one of many ways where I can perhaps make some helpful suggestions that may ease up the animal suffering and anguish of the keeper who watches that suffering. I am 50 yrs old, have been around (some) and just happen to be pretty observant in things that are of interest to me. The wound that I can see in this thread, on my device doesn't necessarily look necrotic to me. I am not saying that it's NOT, I just can't see the signs of necrotic tissue other then the thick, peeling top layer of skin around the wound. What I really want to see is the front view of the wound, close up, few side views, and would be great to shine a light under that shell where it overhangs and see what the skin and shell there look like, that's why asked for more/better pictures. There are many things that could be done to help this poor tort, by just using things that are available over the counter. It would be great to know about the origin of this wound: how did it happen? Trauma wound? Or some kind of chronic ulcer from insect bite or something like that? Another thing I'm not clear on is what was first "the chicken or the egg"?:) was the tort sick before the wound was noted? Or did the wound precipitate all the medical issues? At any rate we are not just treating the wound! We need to look at the whole tortoise. It is imperative that this poor tort starts getting her nutrients. Wounds don't heal if there's not enough protein, vitamins, zinc, etc...for the building blocks to fill it in. Let's see if @ZEROPILOT may have some tips he can share. @TRTLGRL don't lose hope, torts are very resilient animals. Arm yourself in as much knowledge as you can and fight for your Shelled Friend. Keep us updated here. Sending you my joojoo of encouragement and electronic hugs
    Kasia likes this.
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