Tortoise and the dawg

maggie3fan

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WARNING-WARNING-NOT A SHORT STORY.......
(not a bad one either)

My 100lb sulcata - Herman - recently had an encounter with a dog or coyote (I don't know which) this winter, at night. If it hadn't been winter he would have been in his underground den and this wouldn't have happened.
In the winter he has a hot house but the opening can be accessed, indirectly, from the sunny side of the enclosure. The tortoise area is fenced but not high enough to keep out larger four legged critters. He has been good in that area for 12 years now... but as the saying goes,, "you never know".

The result was chew marks all the way around his shell but it held up to the abuse. The attacker was able to put a little "road rash" on his forearms and back of his thighs. These tortoises did evolve in the African Sahara after all. I screwed up and left a gate to the property open over night. I'm still kicking myself for that one.

Anyway, my retired vet buddy recommended some Chlorhexidine Solution ( 2% ) and Furacin Dressing I got at the local Feed, Grain and horse supply store. This worked well to clean and dress the lesions with. Hydrogen Peroxide and Neosporin would probably have done the job. It has scarred over now and you can hardly tell it happened. Tortoises heal very slowly.

My rottenpit (Rottweiler-Pit Bull cross) Buddy got along great with him for the 9 years I had Buddy. Herman would even let Buddy lick pumpkin off his face without even flinching but I didn't let them interact without supervision. Dogs can have ancient instincts that are not something you see coming.

I agree that you should not let dogs have full time access to your tortoises. Herman is big enough that I don't worry about birds. When he pulls everything in, nothing is getting to him. His tail does still seem like it could be a little vulnerable though.
Heck...read some of my posts...now THOSE are long...welcome lol sorry about your tort
 

maggie3fan

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One thing that's not mentioned about dogs and tortoises...is that dogs don't chew on them to be mean...they simply use the tort as a chew toy...
Let ME tell you about Mildred, the desert tortoise...Mildred and the family dog, a Lab, lived together for 20 years, and when I say "together" that's what I mean...they were buddies. So one day the lady comes home from work and the tortoise is missing a leg...the dog had licked up all the blood evidence...and they never found the leg...my sister and I each had the tortoise for some time. We fixed a furniture slide on her plastron and she got along fine...my remembrance of Mildred is different...but the end result is the same...dogs and tortoises are like cars and alcohol...ya mix them too much and somebody dies...no joke
 

Thessle

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My understanding is skin will heal slowly, shell, ( plastron, carapace) will not. In extreme cases, epoxy is used to repair plastron, carapace after the chance of infection is taken care of. Don't beat your self up too much. there are several here that have had similar experiences.
So far what you said seems to be what is happening…..and I want to thank you for your response. It gives me a bit more encouragement than I had before I read it. I can see that some tissue that is definitely already healing but the shelI, especially some edges and some of the area that would be what I’d call under his neck area have me the most concerned. I’m going to try to post some good pics of the area I’m talking about. I’ve been using Bactrin ointment on all the traumatized areas …that’s what I had in med cabinet instead of Neosporin but I’m hopeing both would work basically the same. There is no type of numbing med mixed in with it as some I have seen being sold. It’s been 3 days since I started using the ointment and if anything I can only say I see positive results and nothing negative although it seems like improvement is a slow paced process. I’m not sure if that’s just because that’s how tortoise’s are or if it’s my unrelentless guilt just making it feel like the process is taking longer than it should.
Im going to try to get some good pics of the area of greatest concern …..I’m hoping it’s something that will just take some time but eventually heal and be ok but if it looks like I should get a vet involved and the tortoise‘s shell may need some type of repair or surgical intervention please give any advice any of you have out there.
I just want to get this little guy back to feeling as good as he used to ….always such a good eater and pooper and very active….everything a happy tortoise should be…..but since its trauma it’s definitely been depressed and I’m sure has some PTSD from the whole ordeal. I honestly can’t explain how guilty over all this I feel, and until I can get the tortoise feeling better I feel like I’ll be sharing in his depression because this whole thing is my foolish fault.
I hope the pics I post come out clear. Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated 🙏
 

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zovick

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So far what you said seems to be what is happening…..and I want to thank you for your response. It gives me a bit more encouragement than I had before I read it. I can see that some tissue that is definitely already healing but the shelI, especially some edges and some of the area that would be what I’d call under his neck area have me the most concerned. I’m going to try to post some good pics of the area I’m talking about. I’ve been using Bactrin ointment on all the traumatized areas …that’s what I had in med cabinet instead of Neosporin but I’m hopeing both would work basically the same. There is no type of numbing med mixed in with it as some I have seen being sold. It’s been 3 days since I started using the ointment and if anything I can only say I see positive results and nothing negative although it seems like improvement is a slow paced process. I’m not sure if that’s just because that’s how tortoise’s are or if it’s my unrelentless guilt just making it feel like the process is taking longer than it should.
Im going to try to get some good pics of the area of greatest concern …..I’m hoping it’s something that will just take some time but eventually heal and be ok but if it looks like I should get a vet involved and the tortoise‘s shell may need some type of repair or surgical intervention please give any advice any of you have out there.
I just want to get this little guy back to feeling as good as he used to ….always such a good eater and pooper and very active….everything a happy tortoise should be…..but since its trauma it’s definitely been depressed and I’m sure has some PTSD from the whole ordeal. I honestly can’t explain how guilty over all this I feel, and until I can get the tortoise feeling better I feel like I’ll be sharing in his depression because this whole thing is my foolish fault.
I hope the pics I post come out clear. Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated 🙏
Just FYI, it takes tortoises roughly 3 to 4 times as long to heal as it does humans. There does seem to be quite a bit of bone exposed from the bites. The ointment may do the trick, but if the tortoise is acting depressed and not eating, I would recommend getting it to a good reptile vet for an evaluation of its injuries as it may also need injectable antibiotics for 10-14 days to recover from this episode. Don't let them give you Baytril (enrofloxacin) for the injections. It causes pain and a host of other problems at the injection sites.

Also, if you let it outside, be careful that flies don't swarm on the injured areas and lay eggs which will produce maggots.

Good luck with the healing.
 

Thessle

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Just FYI, it takes tortoises roughly 3 to 4 times as long to heal as it does humans. There does seem to be quite a bit of bone exposed from the bites. The ointment may do the trick, but if the tortoise is acting depressed and not eating, I would recommend getting it to a good reptile vet for an evaluation of its injuries as it may also need injectable antibiotics for 10-14 days to recover from this episode. Don't let them give you Baytril (enrofloxacin) for the injections. It causes pain and a host of other problems at the injection sites.

Also, if you let it outside, be careful that flies don't swarm on the injured areas and lay eggs which will produce maggots.

Good luck with the healing.
Thank you for your response. I figured a tortoise would be slower at healing. I just am unfortunately a very impatient person but I can deal with a slow heal …..as long as the heal continues in the right direction and also the little guy will definitely be remaining inside until it’s better healed and acting more like his usual self. Good advice on your part about flies and who knows what else it could get exposed to outside, I hadn’t even though of that. I am doing my best to keep the areas clean and will continue with the ointment which seems to be helping and boy this little tortoise has always loved his warm water baths ever since I got him. Something I’ve always felt fortunate about so I’ve bumped him up from about 1 hr of warm water baths/day before trauma to 2 hrs/day post trauma and he seems to be enjoying them. When I watch him in them he really looks like they feel so soothing. He sprawls out stretching his back legs out as far as they can go and just looks so happy. Also little by little over past 2 days he has become a little bit more active and has started eating a little more…still not anything like he was before but I can say it looks like he is headed in right direction rather than going down hill. So at the moment I’m feeling somewhat encouraged. I just hope the healing continues and no infections derail his recovery. Thank you and everyone else on this forum for provoiding such a valuable resource of information and just plain good old fashioned kind hearted helping and caring that you all provide. It’s very much appreciated.

Its nice to find a community Of people who love animals in such a way that even though some might find them weird or a little extreme ……I feel like I found my home and family. Thank you all ❤💕🐢
 

MenagerieGrl

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I agree with @zovick , if there is any sign of infction, acting different, appitite loss, get your buddy to a vet.
One of the pictures (the last one) concerns me the most, the puncture to the plastron. I would pay special attention to that. Punctures are typically bad as they can harbor germs and do not have a lot of area to get surface antibiotic's to.
 

Cathie G

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In my personal experience cats don't like torts and don't bother them. I had a senior kitty who like to sleep underna UVB basking light for the warmth, but if the tort moved Lil Roxie left...
Joe and I used to have a cat that I would allow around Sapphire if I was there too. Sapphire liked using him as a blanky. He would snuggle with that cat. But at times you could see the cats hair wiggleling and standing on end so I watched for beddy bye time for Sapphire.
 

MenagerieGrl

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So since this subject has been broached. . . it is best to search out the vet's in your local and extended area that deals with tortoise, as they are a "Specialty" creature.
You do NOT want a dog and Cat Vet diagnosing your Tort''s care....
It's best to do this before you Need them.
 

Yvonne G

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Whoa! I didn't realize your tortoise was just a baby. Please be advised tortoises can and do recover from what seem like life threatening injuries. The biggest problem is infection. And because everything about tortoises is slow, so is the infection. Just when you start feeling complacent he ups and gets sick and dies. So my advice to you, after many many years of rescue experience, is to get antibiotics from the vet and administer ALL the doses until the medicine has been used.
 

Thessle

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My son visited today after the two of us getting to visit the grand and great grandson. He shared a tictoc video with me. It's another perspective 😜
View attachment 345027
Oh my gosh….that’s hysterical!! So good to see the tortoise get the upper hand once in awhile. The dogs reaction is a perfect combination of total surprise and a generous helping of embarrassment. Good post ! Thanks 😊
 

Thessle

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I agree with @zovick , if there is any sign of infction, acting different, appitite loss, get your buddy to a vet.
One of the pictures (the last one) concerns me the most, the puncture to the plastron. I would pay special attention to that. Punctures are typically bad as they can harbor germs and do not have a lot of area to get surface antibiotic's to.
So as of this date we are probably about 1and1/2 -2 weeks out from the trauma. First few days were brutal and between seeing a happy healthy tortoise go straight down hill due to my neglect very saddening….. it only wanted to stay in its warm hide box and be left alone. But I was determined and knew how much he enjoys his baths. So I kept them up even though he seemed less than usually impressed by them. So as days progressed after no eating or poops for first 2 days…..which is where I was scared the most because this little guy loves to eat, lounge in warm baths and poop and pee…it’s just his thing and I always loved when it did it all for me almost like it was on command. To see it all suddenly stop scared the hell out of me….I also know I over react and am over emotional…… both issues for a whole nother forum 🤪.…….but from here we go to where to where by day three he seems to pick up his spirits a bit. I’ve been using the ointment on all areas of inflectional concern. Well I’m still guilt ridden over all but each day has been progressively better …. I’m back to getting at least 1 poop for a warm bath session ….sometime big sometimes smaller but I’m getting 1 every time like normal. A very happy thing for me ….and eating has picked back up to usual.
Today is Sunday so I couldn’t get my vet if I wanted and I’m not sure how he is with repts anyways but I think as long as I’m seeing improvement I’ll monitor for next few days. If at any point things seem to go south I’ll get hold of my vet since it’s time for my dogs yearly anyways and ask if he can treat a tortoise.
one thing at least here that is for sure is since Covid if you didn’t have a vet good luck finding one. My neighbor with an awesome dog can’t get a vet for over a year…she has been waiting on lists but no established vets will take new clients.
I was nieve enough to think I could help her, feeling on such good terms with my vet. I told her I’ll call my vet and he will get you in. ….well that phone call I made for her got her nowheres and certainly solidified the situation for me. If you have a vet treasure them because finding a new one is harder than finding toilet paper in the beginning of Covid.
I will update ……..and thanks for everyone’s love of all that isn’t human. Who said we humans are the smartest species on earth …oh yea it was an arrogant human I presume …..I’d rather live with animals any day.
❤️💕 🐢 forum!
 

Cathie G

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LOL!!! That turtle taught the dog an important lesson - he bit and latched onto the dog's tongue!!
Yeah I don't know which one got the worst of it though. Tortoise on it's back. Dog with a tort bite on the tongue 😛 ouch. Owner with a vet bill for the dawg... my son strikes again. He's not even a TFO member 😁oh my garsh 🥰
 

Thessle

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2022
Messages
19
Location (City and/or State)
Maine
WARNING-WARNING-NOT A SHORT STORY.......
(not a bad one either)

My 100lb sulcata - Herman - recently had an encounter with a dog or coyote (I don't know which) this winter, at night. If it hadn't been winter he would have been in his underground den and this wouldn't have happened.
In the winter he has a hot house but the opening can be accessed, indirectly, from the sunny side of the enclosure. The tortoise area is fenced but not high enough to keep out larger four legged critters. He has been good in that area for 12 years now... but as the saying goes,, "you never know".

The result was chew marks all the way around his shell but it held up to the abuse. The attacker was able to put a little "road rash" on his forearms and back of his thighs. These tortoises did evolve in the African Sahara after all. I screwed up and left a gate to the property open over night. I'm still kicking myself for that one.

Anyway, my retired vet buddy recommended some Chlorhexidine Solution ( 2% ) and Furacin Dressing I got at the local Feed, Grain and horse supply store. This worked well to clean and dress the lesions with. Hydrogen Peroxide and Neosporin would probably have done the job. It has scarred over now and you can hardly tell it happened. Tortoises heal very slowly.

My rottenpit (Rottweiler-Pit Bull cross) Buddy got along great with him for the 9 years I had Buddy. Herman would even let Buddy lick pumpkin off his face without even flinching but I didn't let them interact without supervision. Dogs can have ancient instincts that are not something you see coming.

I agree that you should not let dogs have full time access to your tortoises. Herman is big enough that I don't worry about birds. When he pulls everything in, nothing is getting to him. His tail does still seem like it could be a little vulnerable though.
Boy once they get as big as 100 lbs you’d think they are going to be somewhat inpeneratable but obviously resourceful creatures have learned to whittle their way in from any edge they can get.. .I will never let my guard down again when the dogs is around the tortoise. mine seemed to be doing much better after a few depressed days. They are resilient . Thanks for advice much appreciated
 

MenagerieGrl

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Boy once they get as big as 100 lbs you’d think they are going to be somewhat inpeneratable but obviously resourceful creatures have learned to whittle their way in from any edge they can get.. .I will never let my guard down again when the dogs is around the tortoise. mine seemed to be doing much better after a few depressed days. They are resilient . Thanks for advice much appreciated
I'm Glad . . it's my perception that you have calmed down a bit and are looking forward, which is good.
For both you ( @Thessle, and @Lewmanauti ) hopefully.
@Lewmanauti Hasn't replied since the original post. Hopefully their tort is doing OK. Just take a breath and let the healing continue, with all the seasoned Tort care givers here, your in good hands.
BTW, @Thessle, what is your buddy's name....
 
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