Moving on with Frankie's annual check up.
(So e-VET-full that I remember everything even weeks later!)....
Soon after Frankie, Greg and I claim an examination room (Frankie takes up about 1/6th of the room), Dr. Atlas sticks his head to see what Frankie needs today. I tell Dr. Atlas that we want an annual check including a fecal float, a reptile blood panel, and an x-rays to check for bladder stones.
According to experience sulcata owners, including a friend who is a veterinarian assistant, sulcata tortoises should get yearly fecal floats because they are out door grazers, they are famous for tasting about anything within reach including "bad for them" stuff, and they love to eat other animal scant (nice word for POOP!).
Just 45 minutes earlier, as I pulled Frankie out from his Dogloo, I scooped a nice aromatic chuck of freshly deposited Frankie poop. Sulcata like to poop first thing every morning - it's a rule. Yummy. I put the poop in a clean plastic baby food container.
I hand Dr. Atlas this nice sample of what Frankie ate and digested since yesterday. Only a veterinarian would beam as such a disgusting thing and thank you for being so courteous. Had I not brought such a nice new poop sample, Dr. Atlas would have to retrieve some directly from the source. Do image this for a moment. Yes, he will have to put a probe directly into Frankie's vent and swipe a sample. Note: sulcata do not like people messing with their vents - this is also a rule.
So what exactly do they do with this precious poop? The veterinarian technician puts a small sample of the feces into a solution, agitates it and allows the mixed solution to sit. The solution separates parasites from the heavier material. Parasites float and 'da poop sinks. A sample is taken from the top and examined under a microscope making parasitic identification possible.
The fecal float results indicate that Frankie's cat poop diet is not turning out well for him -- he has nematodes. "No more cat poo" says Dr. Atlas. Frankie is prescribed four weeks of Panacur. It could have been worst - he could have needed injections.
Frankie is weighed so they can get the right dose. Frankie weighs 68 pounds. Three more pounds over 65 pounds. Three more pounds gained. My back just hurts just thinking about it.
Next: Looking inside Frankie.