Bloodwork caused my tortoise's neck to swell...help!

AwwShucks

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So on Wednesday, I took my tortoise into the vet for a beak trim. He's a ~7 year old Hermann's tortoise. The vet was an exotics vet, and after trimming called me to ask if she could do some bloodwork. She said that this was all part of his check-up and that his skin seemed a little thick, perhaps excess keratin? I didn't know that could be an issue. She just wanted to make sure everything was functioning properly.

I agreed, but soon after received a rather alarming call. The bloodwork had caused my tortoise's neck to swell significantly, more so on the side where he was pricked. It was bad enough for them to want to monitor him overnight, regardless of his continued energy/normal behavior.

Fast forward to today, I get another call with the results. Everything is normal, except his kidneys, which were barely in "bad shape". They basically said he was dehydrated, and I will admit he needs to be soaked more, he doesn't seem to drink water on his own. They also suggested wetting his food more.

In terms of diet, I have to find a way to get him to eat the Mazuri pellets, they're good for him, but he doesn't love them. Also, another mistake I made, he has been eating way too much fruit/sugary food. He used to get daily bell peppers and tomatoes. That's on me, and I am going to make an immediate change.

However, since all the numbers came back pretty much normal, they don't know why he had such an intense reaction to the bloodwork. Does anyone have any ideas? I am worried there might be something else going on that the bloodwork could not detect.

NOTE: His behavior is normal, he's active, and feisty, a cool little guy. Nothing strange.
 

Ink

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Can you post pictures of your tortoise and enclosure? Please
 

AwwShucks

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Can you post pictures of your tortoise and enclosure? Please

The photo is of him inside his "night time" area. Basically, he has a 40 gal glass tank with coco fiber bottom and timothy hay for burrowing, where he sleeps, it also has a UVB and basking lamp. During the day we have to watch him outside, but we're building him a new enclosure outside so that we don't have to watch (I made another thread asking for help if anyone can). He's pretty swollen still, but acting normal.

IMG_0089.JPG
 

zovick

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I also am wondering if the vet did a not so careful job. If it was edema, is that a huge issue/life-threatening? Or do I just have to wait?
It looks like a hematoma which is caused by blood leaking into the tissues out of the puncture hole in the vein where the needle was inserted to get the blood. Nothing to be too concerned about unless it becomes larger than it now is. It will gradually go away, but it may take a while as tortoises heal slowly in comparison to humans.

FYI, if this happened in a human, you would see a bluish or black and blue bruise at the site which would gradually turn yellowish before it disappeared.
 

AwwShucks

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It looks like a hematoma which is caused by blood leaking into the tissues out of the puncture hole in the vein where the needle was inserted to get the blood. Nothing to be too concerned about unless it becomes larger than it now is. It will gradually go away, but it may take a while as tortoises heal slowly in comparison to humans.

FYI, if this happened in a human, you would see a bluish or black and blue bruise at the site which would gradually turn yellowish before it disappeared.

That's really good to hear. The vet insinuated that just because his bloodwork was good didn't mean it wasn't a liver/etc issue, and I got super worried. I really hope it is just the result of poor needlework.
 

Ink

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I am sorry to see what has happened to your tortoise. You can search the forum for the correct diet information. I hope he does better soon
 

AwwShucks

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I am sorry to see what has happened to your tortoise. You can search the forum for the correct diet information. I hope he does better soon

Thank you so much. This has been scary. Hopefully it's just what y'all have said and he won't need any more vet visits for a while
 

Blackdog1714

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Imagine a needle under the skin and searching back and forth-ouch! Since torts don’t scream and someone may not have enough experience at drawing blood from one you see the result. I see it at our hospital all the time with nurses drawing blood- you can tell someone who practices often and who doesn’t! For my blood draws I go to the same phlebotomist-gotta be part vampire he is so smooth!
 

zovick

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That's really good to hear. The vet insinuated that just because his bloodwork was good didn't mean it wasn't a liver/etc issue, and I got super worried. I really hope it is just the result of poor needlework.
Who is the vet? Was it done at VCA in LA? If not, I might suggest going there if you need more visits. I know Dr. Laila Proenca personally and she is the head of exotics there.
 

AwwShucks

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Who is the vet? Was it done at VCA in LA? If not, I might suggest going there if you need more visits. I know Dr. Laila Proenca personally and she is the head of exotics there.

It was not. Does Dr. Proenca specialize/have much experience with torts? I might look into asking her for advice, at least!

Imagine a needle under the skin and searching back and forth-ouch! Since torts don’t scream and someone may not have enough experience at drawing blood from one you see the result. I see it at our hospital all the time with nurses drawing blood- you can tell someone who practices often and who doesn’t! For my blood draws I go to the same phlebotomist-gotta be part vampire he is so smooth!

I'm so upset that it happened, I wish exotic vets weren't so hit or miss.
 
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