Disaster - Baby Sulcata Chewed By Husky

pterry

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Jul 2, 2020
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Hi all,

I've been having a fairly bad week this week as it seems constant after constant misfortune has been befalling me; from taking in an injured parakeet that may suffer from seizures, to passing out on the bus, but Sunday's events have really topped the cake.

I have two sulcata tortoises; my 6 year old Abe, and my very new 10 week old Axel. I've had Abe longer than I've had either of my two dogs, who both grew up in his presence, but without interaction (they do however aptly watch him whenever he'd go for a wander in my room behind the safety of a baby gate). Because Abe has gotten so large recently, he can no longer fit in the water dish in his tortoise table, so every other day I take him out the bathroom so he can have a wash (and a poop) under the shower. My dogs have always slept in my bedroom (where the tortoise table is located) at night, but in the day when activity starts I will lock them out.

Due to my own carelessness and set in my own repetition, I stopped locking the dogs immediately out of the room like I used to; instead I'd keep the gate open for easy access as I go in and out to make my daily morning chores easier, and grew careless in this action. I'm not looking for sympathy, I am incredibly furious with myself that has led to this point in time. I just need to set a clear picture for how the situation went down.

Yesterday, Sunday, I took Abe out so he could have his shower. Usually my dogs follow me eagerly and wait outside the bathroom because they get excited when I carry Abe. I probably took no more than a minute setting Abe in and turning on the shower, plugging in the bath to let it slowly fill for him, before I left the bathroom to tend to the rest of my morning routine.

The dogs weren't outside the bathroom like usual, which immediately raised red flags for me. With the new bird addition, my husky has taken to sitting under the cage to guard it vigilantly (with absolute intentions to eat it, unfortunately, but there's enough barrier between him and the bird to ever reach it). He wasn't at the bird cage however. Instead I found him on the sofa, trying to bury something between the pillows, which he usually does when he has been given a new toy. Without even needing to check, I had the horrible premonition that this was no toy he was burying. I rushed over and immediately grabbed for whatever was between the pillows, and to my absolute horror, my baby tortoise Axel was in my hands.

Within the minute it took me to get Abe in the bath, my husky had silently gotten into the tortoise table that's balanced on a 4 foot tall desk drawer, and snatched Axel out from inside. He's been punctured. To my frustrations, my vets are closed on Sundays and today (bank holiday Monday) so I can't even call in until tomorrow. He has 4 small puncture wounds on the carapace, particularly around the costal scutes, along with one on his left femoral scute on his plastron. There are further indentations along the carapace without fully puncturing, with slightly concaved areas. One of his costal scutes has lifted on one corner. Two of the four punctures up top had a small swell of flesh peeking out from the gap. One puncture had thick red blood, but it clotted before it had any chance to drip or leak. Aside from this, he did not bleed. Overnight, his top shell damage has dried out completely. The puncture on his plastron however has me worried. It hasn't quite dried yet, and has become shiny. While nothing is leaking, I believe it to be discharge. Considering I frequently feed my dogs bones, I truly believe if I had been any longer I would have found him in pieces.

I've been gently rinsing at the wound areas with warm water, followed by half diluted hydrogen peroxide being dabbed with cotton. Then I've dried them off and applied a small bandage to the plastron injury, to make sure he doesn't rub anything into it. Axel is alive but definitely unwell. I fear that the punctures have hit both his lungs and quite possibly his bladder. He has been carefully walking around today in the container I've kept him in, and has been trying to dig under the tissue flooring to rest. He won't take his head out of his shell however. I can see the majority of his head, it is resting on the opening on his shell, but he won't take it out any further to expose his neck. I can't tell if he has any damage to his neck or not. He's clearly struggling to breathe, every 5-6 seconds he will take a breath with an open mouth - no wheezing sounds, but he's using his forelegs to do the action for breathing instead of the natural head bobbing he would have done otherwise. He has defecated three times since the incident, the first was normal, however the second was mostly uric, which is very unusual for my tortoises. I almost never see uric from my tortoise's waste (with the exception of urinating that they like to do when expressing how much they dislike being picked up). The third is the most concerning, as it just happened within the last hour. It was purely uric, but a very gooey liquid form. I fear the plastron puncture may have gotten his bladder or somewhere along his gastrointestinal tract to affect this.

Axel hasn't eaten since the incident, he's clearly in a great deal of pain. I'll be calling the vets first thing tomorrow morning, but I fear due to how absolutely hard it is to get a recent appointment because of the COVID pile up, the actual appointment could take some days. What else can I do for him until I can get him seen by a professional? I am still in shock that this happened, and I blame myself entirely for my carelessness of getting too comfortable in my habits. The dogs no longer have access to the bedroom, but I'm still reeling from all of this.
 

Pastel Tortie

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I'm so sorry. Can you post pictures? We have a lot of expertise on the forum, but it helps to see the injuries.
 

pterry

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Jul 2, 2020
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Location (City and/or State)
N E Lincolnshire
I'm so sorry. Can you post pictures? We have a lot of expertise on the forum, but it helps to see the injuries.
It seems I was too late in posting this. I went to go get some pictures for you, but it seems within this hour he has sadly passed away. I’m absolutely gut wrenched, he had been moving around today so I thought he’d have held on long enough for the vets.
Unfortunately it’s hard to see the injuries because they’ve dried up and hes so small so it’s hard to keep in focus. He has preexisting split scutes from birth so those are not damage done by the dog.

DDF5FCC2-49EE-4F8F-B1B3-CD8BEAF0A0C8.jpeg 9BFE258E-33EB-4F98-AB1F-C345B25BDA46.jpeg 15A21323-35CB-49EB-AB7F-D00ADEFF93A1.jpeg FB483792-043F-4D8B-B380-D7C9D02BADB1.jpeg 96270901-908D-4396-B35E-4D8244BEC4A6.jpeg
 

Golden Greek Tortoise 567

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It seems I was too late in posting this. I went to go get some pictures for you, but it seems within this hour he has sadly passed away. I’m absolutely gut wrenched, he had been moving around today so I thought he’d have held on long enough for the vets.
Unfortunately it’s hard to see the injuries because they’ve dried up and hes so small so it’s hard to keep in focus. He has preexisting split scutes from birth so those are not damage done by the dog.
I’m so sorry for your loss, I’m certainly no expert in injuries, but the tooth might have punctured his lungs. Sending hugs your way! 🤗🤗🤗
 

wellington

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So very sorry.
I know you know this but I'm going to say it as a reminder to you and anyone else reading this
Dogs, no matter how well trained and no matter I'd they grew up with the tort or has lived with the tort for many many years with no problems. The day will come when there is a problem and the tort will pay. In your case the tort and watch out for the bird.
Any dog, but specially one that is so fixated is just waiting to catch that one little mistake to nab the tortoise or bird or any other animal.
Again, so very sorry. Mistakes happen.
 
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