Vet says "oh, they don't really feel pain that much"

NancKj

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Hi all. Very worried about my tortoise who has already seen 2 vets, with 2 different opinions. Naturally...
Male desert tortoise, age unknown but I have had him 28 years. 1 week ago noticed inappetite and less activity than usual. His last poop was a day or two after he stopped eating. Soaking did not have the desired result, so took him to a vet who claimed to be well versed in exotics including tortoises. Her interpertation of xrays was obstruction. Talked of surgery and death. Blood draw from jugular vein. Somehow in their handling of this very gentle tort, they injured his left eye. This was 3 days ago. Took him to a different vet today. He was not so impressed with xrays and not sure they explained his symptoms.
Stained and examined eye, no corneal ulcer, just swelling and clearly painful. Prescribed BNP ointment q12 hours. Tried enema but he said Ares was too strong and he did not want to hurt him. Recheck in one week, and if indicated he will sedate and do enema at that time. Bloodwork reportedly normal.
Laculose p.o ordered by 1st vet, but as he will not eat, I am afraid syringing into mouth may cause aspiration.
45 minute siaks in outside kiddie pool warmed by the sun to 95 degrees checked by thermometer. He is very active trying to escape but no poop.
He has been eating some watermelon, cactus fruit every day after soaks, but refused today. He just wanted to go lie down in his house. He seemed exhausted.
I am so angry at vet who hurt his eye, and who actually said to me, "oh, they don't really feel pain that much."
I am trying to get xrays to post here... How do I give lactulose to a tortoise who won't eat? Am I causing him to be so tired? 3 vet trips in 4 days.
 

Tom

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Long warm soaks in a tall sided opaque tub will usually get the bowels moving. Doing it inside in your slick bath tub will often get them marching will helps mover things along the GI tract much like a horse. When a horse colics, what do you do? Hand walk them or put them on the hot walker, right? Consider your bath tub like a tortoise hot walker. Car rides will often break things loose too, unless you have a sand obstruction or a bladder stone, which the x ray should have confirmed or denied.

As you are seeing, most reptile vets are not very knowledgeable about tortoises. Go see Dr. Molnar in Calabasas. Its a bit of a drive, but not too bad from SFV.

He is a friend of mine and the only vet I trust with any of my birds or reptiles. Tell him Tom sent you.
 

NancKj

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Long warm soaks in a tall sided opaque tub will usually get the bowels moving. Doing it inside in your slick bath tub will often get them marching will helps mover things along the GI tract much like a horse. When a horse colics, what do you do? Hand walk them or put them on the hot walker, right? Consider your bath tub like a tortoise hot walker. Car rides will often break things loose too, unless you have a sand obstruction or a bladder stone, which the x ray should have confirmed or denied.

As you are seeing, most reptile vets are not very knowledgeable about tortoises. Go see Dr. Molnar in Calabasas. Its a bit of a drive, but not too bad from SFV.

He is a friend of mine and the only vet I trust with any of my birds or reptiles. Tell him Tom sent you.
 

NancKj

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Thank you so much for the referral! I am in the far western SFV so only 2 miles from Calabasas. I may have called them earlier in the week trying to get an urgent appt. I called pretty much everyone around here, which is why I ended up in Ventura on Tuesday! I will call them and request a 2nd (actually 3rd opinion). I am waiting for digital copy of initial xrays. Thanks again Tom!
So, is my indoor bathtub really better than the little plastic kiddie pool I am using outdoors now? If so, I will start soaking in bathtub tomorrow
 

Tom

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Thank you so much for the referral! I am in the far western SFV so only 2 miles from Calabasas. I may have called them earlier in the week trying to get an urgent appt. I called pretty much everyone around here, which is why I ended up in Ventura on Tuesday! I will call them and request a 2nd (actually 3rd opinion). I am waiting for digital copy of initial xrays. Thanks again Tom!
So, is my indoor bathtub really better than the little plastic kiddie pool I am using outdoors now? If so, I will start soaking in bathtub tomorrow
The slight angle and slick surface often gets them trudging along more than a flat tub.
 

Yvonne G

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It's not that animals don't feel pain that much, it's because they are able to tune it out much better than we are. But they still feel it.
 

ZippyButter

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Thank you so much for the referral! I am in the far western SFV so only 2 miles from Calabasas. I may have called them earlier in the week trying to get an urgent appt. I called pretty much everyone around here, which is why I ended up in Ventura on Tuesday! I will call them and request a 2nd (actually 3rd opinion). I am waiting for digital copy of initial xrays. Thanks again Tom!
So, is my indoor bathtub really better than the little plastic kiddie pool I am using outdoors now? If so, I will start soaking in bathtub tomorrow
Hope the third vet will find and help your tort. Make sure don't let poop go down the bathtub drain, just scoop it and dispose in the toilet. Your drainage pipe will love you.
 

Sarah2020

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Hope the third vet will find and help your tort. Make sure don't let poop go down the bathtub drain, just scoop it and dispose in the toilet. Your drainage pipe will love you.
And disinfect the tub after as they have bacteria. I would use the bath way to help you progress and buy a high-sided box container for future shallow soaks.
 

NancKj

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Thank you all! I just saw these posts as I am exploring how your site works! I sure hope I get to scrub out my tub with disinfectant because that will mean he pooped!! And I will happily scoop it out..
 

NancKj

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It's not that animals don't feel pain that much, it's because they are able to tune it out much better than we are. But they still feel it.
Yeah, it makes me angry when I hear stuff like that. Of course it feels pain! And from a vet, of all people! He was snuffling around in a little garden outside her vet clinic, and she said "oh look, he really is looking for something to eat.". I said no, I think he is just trying to orient himself and find his way home...
 

COmtnLady

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Just because something has a different neurological system than a mammal doesn't mean it doesn't feel pain... I always think of it as : if I have 10 nerves but the fish/tort/bird only has 7, it simply means we feel things a bit differently not qualitatively. 100% of what you feel is 100% of what you feel.
 
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