Baby Eastern with a Serious Shell Injury

DVirginiana

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My permanent-resident boxie is doing fine, but I got a call today about a young baby with a shell injury. I want this guy to get the best chance possible, so any suggestions would be great.

I will put up pictures tomorrow when I can drive out to pick it up, but all I know is that the injury was 2 or 3 days old (maggots had grown in it...) and that it was still walking around. My husband's friend picked it up while it was walking through their yard.
Apparently it perked up after the wound was cleaned out a bit.

I am going to try and contact a local reptile rescue center to see what their policy would be on allowing me to 'foster' the animal while they helped out with potential vet bills. They don't typically take wildlife. I will also be looking into wildlife rehabbers nearby, but I don't put much hope in that. In this area, you often have to foot any vet/care bills, and I simply can't do that.

So far, my plan once I get the baby is to rinse the wound out with warm water and see how extensive the damage is. If it looks like it's entered the coelomic cavity, there's really nothing I can afford to do for it... If not, I'll go ahead with disinfecting. I would flush the wound with diluted hydrogen peroxide once (I've used this procedure to 'nuke' infected/maggot riddled wounds on other reptiles), then rinse it again. Afterward I'd try to keep painkiller-free neosporin and a loose gauze bandage over it at all times.
After it seems there are no maggots remaining, I'd rinse the wound twice daily with a hibiclens solution (milder) and keep applying neosporin.

Are there any husbandry requirements like temperature for babies that I should know about that differ from the adults? This guy will be on paper towels, with only daily soaks for hydration while the wound is open.

Finally, I realize that a shell injury on one still growing isn't a good prognosis, especially without extensive vet care, but I want to give it a shot.
 

DVirginiana

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Here's a picture.

The wound had maggots in it, and was filled with dirt. He also has an eye infection (which should be easy to deal with. I still have antibiotics from when my Turtle had her eye infection, and his isn't that bad yet).

I started out by rinsing the shell wound with diluted hydrogen peroxide. I know it can be intense, but it was necessary for this case. Afterward, we flushed it alternately with water and diluted hibiclens several times to get as much grit as possible out. The wound had mud and maggot 'residue' caked in it. Lastly, I wicked out as much moisture as I could, and treated it with neosporin. It's loosely covered in surgical gauze (with the gentle surgical tape attaching it to his shell) to keep debris from falling in it.
He's beside my python's tank right now, to keep his temps in the mid 80's, and has plain newspaper substrate with a hide and no water. He'll be soaked twice a day for that.

I'm talking with the local reptile rescue about what could be arranged as far as vet care (we can't afford that for a wild pick-up), and I've volunteered to foster him and pay for all other upkeep if that's an option.

He's alert and eating; killed a small worm earlier. A little weak, but no paralysis. He's also very curious and investigates anything new you put in front of him. A full recovery may be a long-shot at this point, but you can tell he's still got a lot of fight in him (actually, think it may be a her...)

We're calling him Derpy
1001566_10151832820483035_1162587080_n.jpg
 

*misskerrimoo*

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Aww, poor derpy.... :*( he will be in my prayers, & I hope he will pull thru!

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txturtle13

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Awww poor little guy!! Keep us posted! I hope for a quick recovery. I'm so glad you scooped him up. He's lucky to be in your care!
 

DVirginiana

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When I cleaned it out this morning, a fair bit of grit and dead skin washed out. Part of the wound has a pink look instead of the 'zombie' flesh look it had last night as well.

The bad news is that he almost definitely has some nerve damage in one of his back legs. He can still move it, and scoot around a little bit, but it's clear now that he can't control it correctly.

Doesn't look severe enough to be a long-term issue, but that has me worried about when his shell has to be popped back into place, since that means the initial injury definitely affected the spinal cord.
 

txturtle13

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I hope he starts feeling better! :( ill keep him in my thoughts. I'm glad he has you to take care of him. Hopefully the damage isn't too extensive :(
 

tiffanyluvstorts

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Please keep us posted. I am praying for that sweet baby!!


My babies 4 humans, 4 doggies, 2 Russians, 1 tarantula and a hermit crab. [SMILING FACE WITH HEART-SHAPED EYES]
 

DVirginiana

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None of the rescues have responded yet... If I don't get a response in a few days, I may call my herp vet and get an estimate on what it would be to pop the shell back. If it's fairly cheap, I'll do it, if not, there's just no way I can afford it right now.

Along that line, does anyone know what the consequences would be of NOT popping the shell back? I'd be very hesitant to try that, as a fair bit of bone is preventing the shell-plate that's been pushed down from coming back up. Also, the one that's pushed down is connected to the spine, and knowing that the injury already affected his spine, I am wary of doing more damage.

On the bright side, he ate a blueberry and drank some water tonight. He has difficulty walking, but can move if he really wants to.
 

SANDRA_MEISSNEST

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I hope all the best for that lil cuty.

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mainey34

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Oh, the poor dear. So glad you were there to rescue. I hope and pray that you find some kind of help..
 

DVirginiana

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Got a response from some local turtle/reptile rescues. He should be at one of them to get surgery for that shell by the end of the week.
I told everyone I contacted that I was willing to foster him and do whatever extra care was required for the nerve damage.
 

Pokeymeg

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Yay, I'm glad the little guy is going to some surgery! Keep us posted on his progress!
 

mike taylor

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Thats awesome !!!! Are you planing on keeping him if you can ? Or are you going to put him back out in the wild after he is well ?

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DVirginiana

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If he could be released, I'd love to do that. But considering the pretty obvious nerve damage at this point I don't think that'll be an option. I hope he can, but I doubt it.

I told the rescues I'm willing to keep him for however long he needs to be fostered. My pet Turtle came to me half dead and needed months of daily medical care, so I've got experience with dealing with sick EBTs. He just obviously has so much fight left in him that I want to give him whatever therapy and care he needs to get to a point where he can live a fulfilling turtle life.
Honestly, I imagine this whole process will be in terms of years, so if he makes it through the initial surgery and healing, I'd be willing to give him a permanent home.

Apparently one of the rescues nearby has a position open, so I want to talk to them about that. I've apparently turned into the person people call when they find an injured reptile (or a reptile they want out of their house). It'd be nice to have more at my disposal than TLC and neosporin.
 

txturtle13

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Oh how wonderful! That would be so great if you could work at the rescue. I bet that would be a very fulfilling job. Please let us know. He would be lucky to find a permanent home with you :)

I am interested too in how the surgery will go. I personally did not even know they could perform surgery on turtles [FLUSHED FACE] I am thankful they can!

Thank you so much for keeping us updated! Best of luck to you and the little guy. Ill keep checking back.


My Loves:
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DVirginiana

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I got a call back from the Turtle Rescue, and we took him in today. I'll post updates as I get them.
 
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