Veterinary Care

Finding a vet experienced in tortoise care is sometimes a challenge, but important! Although an initially healthy tortoise with an appropriate setup should not need any veterinary intervention and some preventative treatments, such as deworming, can be done at home, it’s still important to have a vet in mind in case of emergencies or serious illnesses. Common situations in which veterinary intervention is needed include:

Infections:

Respiratory infections are common when keepers accidentally allow their tortoises to be exposed to cold and wet conditions. Treatment may include providing humidified medicine.
Photo Credit – Safari Veterinary Care Centers
Ear infections or ear abscess are more common in aquatic turtles, but is possible in tortoises as well. Although some online sources state this can be treated at home, it is best to head to a vet to help treat it. Likely the vet would lance the abscess and treat the infection.
Photo Credit – Anonymous
Sepsis is the result of a massive immune response to bacterial infection that gets into the blood. It often leads to organ failure or injury. Sepsis is a medical emergency that can be detected by reddish hue to the shell (tortoise on left). Veterinary intervention, usually in the form of inject-able antibiotics, is needed immediately!
Photo Credit – Anonymous

Prolapses:

Intestinal prolapse can be a very serious situation and a vet needs to be seen as soon as possible. This is usually resulting from a tortoise straining due to parasites, an obstruction, or stones.
Photo Credit – Anonymous
Phallus prolapse is common and may be a minor issue as long as the keeper monitors it and makes sure everything stays moist and reduces normally. If it does not reduce and retract on its own, a vet may need to be seen. Here we see the phallus is starting to dry out.
Photo Credit – Anonymous
This is a phallus that has been dried out some and the tip has been rubbed on a rough surface and has become necrotic.

Bladder / Kidney Stones:

Pictured is the process vets may undergo to remove a stone from a tortoise.
Photo Credit – Safari Veterinary Care Centers

Accidents / Fire Damage:

Tortoises are very resilient and can survive fires. The care after such trama is best handled by a veterinarian to give the tortoise the best chance at survival, also to provide medication for pain!!
Photo Credit – Safari Veterinary Care Centers

General Lameness / Vitamin Deficiencies / Improper Care:

Feeding tubes go offer a path directly to the stomach so food can be offered to sick tortoises that otherwise are not eating.
Photo Credit – Safari Veterinary Care Centers
Vitamin deficiencies can cause unhealthy, flakey skin. In this case, an inappropriate diet has also caused this tortoise to become overweight. Vets can help figure out vitamin deficiencies and to troubleshoot for correcting care for the future.
Photo Credit – Safari Veterinary Care Centers