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Turtle is streatching neck, gaping, and making the sound!

Discussion in 'Tortoise Health' started by omhoge, Aug 3, 2017.

  1. *debora*

    *debora* Well-Known Member

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    Hoping for the best!! And I really aplaud all the effort!!
  2. omhoge

    omhoge Member

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    Thank you so much debora. He's been such a good turtle for so many years, hoping for the best as well.
  3. omhoge

    omhoge Member

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    It turns out the CT was very useful, a Vet with less experience might not have pushed for it
    and just continued looking for some sort of pneumonia. It is not pneumonia or herpes.

    The CT scan showed he has a large mass in the left side of his body cavity,
    most likely cancer but could be a cyst or granuloma.

    I wanted to share this unfortunate but important discovery:
    ** From the outside of a tortoise, a tumor can display symptoms identical to pneumonia. **

    The only point in doing a surgical biopsy of the mass at this point would be if we were considering removal.
    Given the size and location, that would probably require opening the plastron and reattaching the piece after,
    this would be extreme and chances of survival are low.

    The Vet took an oral culture and ordered a broad bacterial test to rule out any secondary infection we could treat.
    We're probably going to try a bronchial dilator to see if it helps his breathing.

    He is still eating well and pooping normally and has periods of his usual activity.
    We're basically going into hospice mode now.
    The Vet said the main sign for him indicating he's in pain and nearing the end would be his stopping eating completely.
    He may stay around with us for weeks or months, we're going to keep him near us, comfortable,
    and shamelessly indulge him with his favorite foods and activities.
    Bee62 and Kasia like this.
  4. zovick

    zovick Well-Known Member

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    Very sorry to hear this. Hopefully the mass is benign and slow growing. I pray your tortoise will not suffer any more than he already has and can enjoy his remaining days in your care.
    Moozillion likes this.
  5. RACCOON EGGS

    RACCOON EGGS New Member

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    So sorry. :(
    Chizbad likes this.
  6. *debora*

    *debora* Well-Known Member

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    I was afraid for cancer. So sorry!! Hope you can keep him comfortable for some time. My thoughts are with you...
    Moozillion likes this.
  7. JoesMum

    JoesMum Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Oh dear. This happened to Joe in March and he had to be put to sleep.

    I am so sorry to hear this. I know exactly how you feel. Please accept my electronic hugs.
    Moozillion and Big Charlie like this.
  8. Kasia

    Kasia Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for this update, I think not many keepers would persist on finding out the diagnosis like you did. Still very sad news, hopefully he will have couple more happy days/weeks/months with you. Spoil him as much you can :)
    Moozillion likes this.
  9. omhoge

    omhoge Member

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    Thank you Kasia. Now that we know, we're taking him with us again and he had a *Great Weekend* in his room upstate;
    ate a lot and was quite active, he even played "Ram-man" with my foot for a while.
    The symptoms continue, come and go in intensity, there will be good days and not so good ones.
    I think his hinge back is helping too, just a hair more breathing room.

    We're still waiting for the bacteria tests, and the bronchial medication is due in today,
    hopefully I can get him to eat it. They mostly do meat flavors, not many fruit options, so I chose
    strawberry. That's one of his favorites and maybe this will taste close enough to the real thing.

    He's about as spoiled as a turtle can be, and we'll keep spoiling him as long as we can.
    At this point he can even poop on the rug if he wants to.
    Moozillion likes this.
  10. *debora*

    *debora* Well-Known Member

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    Don't know what to say... thinking of you guys.
  11. Kasia

    Kasia Well-Known Member

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    Greatest expression of tortoise feelings - pooped rug and a trail of pee showing you where your beloved pet is waiting for food :) LOL
  12. RACCOON EGGS

    RACCOON EGGS New Member

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    How is he doing?
  13. omhoge

    omhoge Member

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    Hello RACCOON EGGS, thank you for checking in. Our tortoise has been stable in his "new normal". He is still eating and pooping well, with only two not-so-good days in the past 17 days.

    The bacterial cultures showed "Serratia Marcesens", which I'm told is an opportunistic bacteria that can cause respiratory infections in reptiles, but we suspect it may be a remnant after the long course of antibiotics he went through and that cleared up his sever resperatory symptoms a few weeks ago. We have a standing script for Fortaz if he worsens and starts showing signs of infection. His current respiratory issues are most likely not a true infection, but secondary to the internal mass.

    The oral expectorant seems to help when I can him to eat it. He's been having mood swings with his food preferences, so I often have to offer a second option, specially for breakfast, but he's eating up two to three times a day. Daily warm soaks. And if I get the timing right the poop happens in the bath not on the rug.

    He's resting a lot, dozing or keeping an eye on us, then getting moderately to crazy active to come out and run around or hang out and have his head scratched. He's such a good turtle.
  14. omhoge

    omhoge Member

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    Our tortoise is still at it! He's had a great two weeks since I last checked in with you all.
    There have been only two not-so-good days, and he seemed to take them in stride.

    Most evenings he's been active, running around or climbing on our feet,
    or just coming to his spot by the sofa for some head scratching.
    Then he seems to tire out.
    The honking happens occasionally, usually in his bath,
    but sometimes when he's out in the room, I'm trying to figure out if it's related to humidity or just happening.

    The expectorant seems to help, but being an oral med with just a few drops on his food,
    it's often hard to tell how much is getting into him. I plan to refill that script.

    There has been no sign of the respiratory infection returning,
    and the Vet is still keeping the Flotaz prescription open in case it does.

    I guess we're in a slow growth period with the mass inside him for now.
    The shameless spoiling of him continues wholeheartedly.

    Thank you all, your support and prayers are a big help.
    Moozillion likes this.
  15. RACCOON EGGS

    RACCOON EGGS New Member

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    Still doing good?
  16. omhoge

    omhoge Member

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    I was just thinking I should check in with you all when your message arrived, thank you Raccoon Eggs!

    He's still much the same, but worsening very gradually. Eating well, occasionally getting feisty, but I can tell, albeit slow, it's getting worse.
    Still more good days than not so good ones, and his weeping episodes are still brief. No where near as bad as when he had active pneumonia.

    It's really good to have found this forum. Most folks don't understand how you could love a turtle so much.
    All your support and prayers are very appreciated.
    Moozillion and Kenno like this.
  17. RACCOON EGGS

    RACCOON EGGS New Member

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    Once again I am back. Still doing good?
    Kenno likes this.
  18. omhoge

    omhoge Member

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    I warned the turtle yesterday that he's lived so much longer than I expected, I can't let him off from toenail clipping any longer.

    He's declining, definitely. We're going to do a course of antibiotics to stave off any recurrence of pneumonia since he still has the bacteria in his system and his health is compromised now. The vet was great and called in a script for a full vial of fortaz so I can do a second course later if I need to.

    I didn't know I would have to "reconstitute" it myself. A ton of small single syringe transfers of the fluid later,
    (and only once did the plunger fly up and out from the pressure of it reconstituting itself) I prefilled the syringes for the course.

    He's still eating and pooping, and being a picky eater, more than once I've had to offer him an alternative meal.
    Today he completely turned up his beak at his breakfast with greens in it, and it was almost all eaten when I got home from work.

    We spoiling him for as long as we can.
    vladimir, Moozillion, Kasia and 2 others like this.
  19. RACCOON EGGS

    RACCOON EGGS New Member

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    Still doing good?
    Moozillion likes this.
  20. omhoge

    omhoge Member

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    Remarkably, he is still with us and we all had a Happy New Year's together. He's gotten very picky about his food and now will only eat his Treat Foods, but he will take them with very finely chopped dark greens mixed in. He had a bad 24 hours during the holiday, but was much better the following days. I think whatever it was, the antibiotics cleared it out for now.

    Like most folks in the Eastern States lately, the main priority is keeping the room and enclosure warm during the subzero temperatures.
    Overall he seems comfortable, but very tired. Less honking and gaping the past few weeks. Continued mouth breathing.
    He still gets active, but more often now falls asleep when I hold him and rub his neck.

    A friend who recently lost a pet gave me a very helpful idea
    "Keep track of the Good Days and the Bad Days on a wall calendar, then when the time comes the writing will literally be 'On the Wall'.".
    I already had a calendar to keep track of the injections and a couple weeks ago started noting when, what and how much he eats,
    and any episodes or new symptoms.

    I've almost given up on the oral expectorant, he hasn't been eating it even on the Treat Foods.
    Since the recent antibiotics he may not need it as much anyway, I hope.
    Will have a call with his nurse this week to discuss it all, and to learn more about options for euthanasia if we have to go that route.
    Kasia likes this.
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