Urgent Desert Tort rescue, need the TFO champions please (PHOTO TRIGGER WARNING, graphic pictures)

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@Tom @Yvonne G @Markw84 @wellington and I know there are more of you, but these are the ones off the top of my head.

Responded to a FB post about this guy. Some of you may even recognize it, though I know the groups are unpopular. Anyways, the point is it is an ACTUAL rescue for me. I know people come here and say that, but I picked this poor guy up this morning.

I was directing the woman to CTTC and SDTTS for help and she seemed exasperated and a little hopeless in her own efforts to get the DT help and several vets refused to see them (I know some of you will be angry at these photos, but they were very nice and concerned). I offered if they were uncomfortable waiting for someone to reach out to them that I would be willing to pick him/her up and transport to SDTTS once they reached out to me. They were eager to get him help and asked me to take him.

I'm going to share just two ugly/sad pictures, GRAPHIC TRIGGER WARNING - you all love tortoises and you will NOT be happy. Let's focus on getting him help, not being mad at how this happened. Which for educational purposes this was an injury due to entanglement in landscape mesh he burrowed into.

I sent a PM to Tom already, but most people have day jobs. My most immediate concern is whether I can soak this tortoise. The previous owners said they found him this way 3 days ago, clearly this did not happen in 3 days- I can see the picked clean bone inside the dead part of his foot. I am certain he needs hydration. There is no indication of infection, this foot is self-amputating (nearly done by the looks of it) after circulation was cut off by the landscape mesh. It almost looks like only the bone is still connecting parts A & B like a drumstick. They realized he was stuck in his burrow and cut him free. He looks thin (but I'm not entirely sure how great of a judge I am on tortoise composition). There is a stench, but it's the dead foot, not any signs of visible infection, smells like a dead animal. He is mobile, was eating when I picked him up, and has no discharge via eyes or mouth. His eyes look a bit sunken in to me though, and his legs are soo soo scrawny for the huge 39yo guy that he is.

I am waiting to hear back from my SDTTS contacts so they can help, in the meantime, do you think it is safe to soak him with his foot this way? Obviously the dead foot will reek, but other than an offensive stench, does anyone agree this would be beneficial to him? He seems okay, he is taking it in stride, but I'm considering that however long it took his foot to get to this level of decomposition is how long he was stuck in his burrow in this 100 degree summer without food/water until 3 days ago.
 

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Yes, soak. He needs to see a vet to have that bone cut off, then antibiotics.
He will be in my care until Sunday, then transported to another SDTTS member. They will be taking him to the Vet Monday morning. Luckily (depending on how you look at it) for this guy I believe the worst of this is behind him and it should be an easy recovery once his dead appendage is removed.

I will soak him asap. Just 30 mins? He is 12"SCL, pretty big guy.
 

Sarah2020

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Shallow warm water and leaves him in peace and observe from a distance to encourage drinking. Get a cup and gently pour water over his top scutes and avoid eye area if you have a brush you can gently clean body shell . 30 mins is a good start. I expect water will get horrible (poo and wee) so can you move to another container or take him out and refill and let him soak? Provide fresh food with water on it to help hydration and water in his enclosure. Good luck and thanks for helping him.
 

zovick

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OMG….id say for sure a warm water soaking….. Regardless of the “foot” condition, I’m sure it’s 100% dehydrated. I say soak.

@zovick what do you think Sir?
I have seen this same thing happen to a couple other tortoises. It is usually caused by the tortoise digging into a sodded yard because most sod (at least here in the southeastern US) has a plastic mesh within it to hold it together.

If left alone, the poor foot will eventually fall off on its own due to the severity of this damage, but the vet will most likely want to amputate that foot so as to get a nice clean wound which will heal well.

The tortoise should get along fine with the shortened leg, once it has healed. I have even seen one case where one tortoise's entire front leg came off on its own high up near the shoulder joint due to this exact same trauma. That tortoise was perfectly fine with just three remaining limbs.
 
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@zovick I think he will be okay too. He is alert and getting around really well. He has had a proper soak now too. He did poop, but mostly just mucous and a small amount of urates. Maybe an indication of how long it’s been since he has eaten? He had a plate of mustard/dandelion greens and watermelon when I got there that he was chomping on.

You can see he looks to be alert and “okay” for as much as he can be. Can’t figure out how to post a video of his movement, but it’s not slowing him down much at all!!

I will be eager to see what the vet says about his recovery time.
 

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For anyone who fancies all the dirty deets. This is the product of soaking him.

A quick search says mucous can be associated with parasites. Any other possible causes?
 

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Sarah2020

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Great news I said the soak would get messy! Maybe you can repeat tge soak again today and tomorrow. Great to see he is eating and hopefully sleeping etc..... Tortoise are tough but still need our quality care in captivity.
 

Sarah2020

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For anyone who fancies all the dirty deets. This is the product of soaking him.

A quick search says mucous can be associated with parasites. Any other possible causes?
There is no way I would touch that, but as they say better out than in!
 

Maro2Bear

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@zovick I think he will be okay too. He is alert and getting around really well. He has had a proper soak now too. He did poop, but mostly just mucous and a small amount of urates. Maybe an indication of how long it’s been since he has eaten? He had a plate of mustard/dandelion greens and watermelon when I got there that he was chomping on.

You can see he looks to be alert and “okay” for as much as he can be. Can’t figure out how to post a video of his movement, but it’s not slowing him down much at all!!

I will be eager to see what the vet says about his recovery time.

To post a video, you must first upload to YouTube, then post the YT link here in your post.
 

TammyJ

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I wish him a quick recovery after his vet visit today. Who will look after him after that?
 

William Lee Kohler

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@zovick I think he will be okay too. He is alert and getting around really well. He has had a proper soak now too. He did poop, but mostly just mucous and a small amount of urates. Maybe an indication of how long it’s been since he has eaten? He had a plate of mustard/dandelion greens and watermelon when I got there that he was chomping on.

You can see he looks to be alert and “okay” for as much as he can be. Can’t figure out how to post a video of his movement, but it’s not slowing him down much at all!!

I will be eager to see what the vet says about his recovery time.
You kidding? Those legs are anything but scrawny.
and he looks great overall.
 
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You kidding? Those legs are anything but scrawny.
and he looks great overall.
I very openly admitted I’m not an experienced judge of tortoise composition. He does seem to be missing a bit of heft to him though, despite his big chunky feet. It’s the upper portion inside the shell that drew my scrawny comment, lots of loose skin, not really filled out, etc. I only have my one adult female to compare to and she is new to me. My other torts are yearlings.


@TammyJ he was transported to the SD Turtle and Tortoise Society yesterday and is in their care. It will be up to them what happens to him now.
 

Sarah2020

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I very openly admitted I’m not an experienced judge of tortoise composition. He does seem to be missing a bit of heft to him though, despite his big chunky feet. It’s the upper portion inside the shell that drew my scrawny comment, lots of loose skin, not really filled out, etc. I only have my one adult female to compare to and she is new to me. My other torts are yearlings.


@TammyJ he was transported to the SD Turtle and Tortoise Society yesterday and is in their care. It will be up to them what happens to him now.
Thanks for doing what you did. It gave him a good 72 hours or so!
 

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