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April 16, 2007

Turtle Medical Emergency

On Friday, I was taking Mattie for her soaking and I noticed a piece of poop that was attached to her tail. When I turned her over I was horrified to see that her vent swollen and partially prolapsed. I started first-aid by soaking her for 30 minutes and sprinkling some sugar on the vent, but when that made no difference, I had to call Greg to come home and take us to our veterinarian.

By the time we got to the veterinarian, Mattie was also blowing bubbles from her nose. She was in very sad shape. Our vet, Dr. Atlas, was due to be out of surgery soon, but his co-worker, Dr. Campbell was stopping by when we arrived so he attended Mattie. Both doctors are exotic veterinarians but Dr. Atlas has more turtle experience, so from the surgical room consulted with Dr. Campbell.

After a painful probe, a fecal check and thorough examination the veterinarians agreed that she had a prolapsed probably due to some time of parasite. I was leaning more toward dehydration. The treatment was a course of Metronidazole (by mouth) and Claforan (by injection). No matter the treatment, both invasive treatments by themselves could stress this delicate tiny turtle to death.

We brought her home and began treatments. She was given twice daily soakings in lukewarm water. Her enclosure was re-calibrated for temperature and humidity. She was not eating and a veterinarian-provided medical diet was forced down Sunday. The first two days were not promising because she was was stressing so much from the treatments.

Monday proved to be a turnaround day. During her morning soak, I could see her drinking water. The sun came out so Mattie got to sit in sunlight for good UV rays. I fixed her a meal of spring greens, strawberries and corn. She ignored the meal until late in the afternoon after a sun basking and she began to pick out a few bits of corn and strawberries. Drinking water and eating some food are good signs. Her tail swelling has reduced significantly. Her treatments have to continue even though she seems to be so much better this afternoon.
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