My tort was coughing blood... Please help

TillyTheTort

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Joined
Apr 19, 2017
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6
Location (City and/or State)
Belgrade, Serbia
I've had a female Testudo Hermanni for about two weeks. She was found in the wild by my cousin, and brought to me, because she had some wounds (presumably rat bites), and he knew that I have torts and know how to love them and care for them.

She was recovering fastly, she became tame - loved cuddles, ate from my hand etc, her wounds got better... But, one wound started to look kinda weird, so I tool her to the vet.

The vet cleaned her wound and gave her some ointment to put on the wound. I also have two baby torts, which are on a parasite therapy now, so the vet told me to bring the big girl too the next day, to clean the wound again.

The next day (it was yesterday), he asked me if I want him to take blood samples, to check for parasites, just in case. I said okay. He said he's gonna take a blood sample from between her neck and her carapace. He also said that vein is hard to find so it might take a few tries, but it won't hurt. So, he poked my tort with a needle a few times and third time he managed to draw some blood.

He said that the tort was "behaving good", she wasn't restless and scared like many torts are when they are taking blood samples. He put her back in the box in which we brought her...

And then it happened. She started coughing blood! Blood coming from her nose and mouth... She started choking, she was breathing heavily, so he urgently put her into a plastic box with strong oxygen supply, and gave her antishock injection and also injection with something to help blood coagulation. My poor baby's head was twitching, she was coughing, trying to breathe with her mouth wide open, still choking... I was petrified, I thought I have lost her... In the meantime, someone from the lab came and said they have seen her blood under the microscope. They said that she has a very little amount of thrombocytes (platelets) and that's why she has problems with coagulation. The vet also said that this has never happened to him before, when he was taking torts' blood, and that she must have already had some serious problems, so the stress from taking the blood just activated that problems and make some capillaries in her lungs break. :(

Note that in my country, reptiles, especially torts are not that popular pets. We don't have a true reptile vet here. This vet works on a veterinary university (that's where I took her, it's a "small animals" clinique) and he has graduated on exotic animals. But not really that much experience with torts. He said he has to go through the literature, to see what to do with cases like this.

Anyways, eventually my tort stopped twitching and opening her mouth, so he took her out of the oxygen box, and put her back in our carrying box, to rest. When we came home, she seemed to be breathing normally. She crawled around, I gave her lettuce to eat, which she ate in normal amounts. Later she had a poo, I gave her a warm bath, where she had another poo. Was active afterwards, I tried to put her to rest but she wanted to crawl around, so I let her walk around the room for 10 minutes. Then I put her into a basket with soft clothes to rest and sleep.

She was awake for long, trying to get out of the basket, and then just laying steadily,awake. I think she is asleep now. She is much better than today - the crisis is over - but the only thing that worries me now is that she's making those quiet "clicking" sounds when she breathes. You know, like tiny clicks. It's nothing compared to this choking from today, but still... I am so afraid that I'm gonna lose her, and I feel guilty for agreeing to take blood samples and check for parasites, instead of letting her be, cause she's been living with that parasites in nature and she was still okay. Feel guilty for that blood test causing that stress and capillary breaking.

We are taking her to the vets again in the morning.

So...If anyone here has any advice, experience from a similar situation, any idea what's the problem here and what should be done... Please help. I can't lose my baby. Thank you in advance.
 

Big Charlie

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I have no advice but I'm hoping your tort gets well. That must have been so scary. There might be some blood in her lungs. I believe that could lead to a respiratory infection.
 

TillyTheTort

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Joined
Apr 19, 2017
Messages
6
Location (City and/or State)
Belgrade, Serbia
Update on Georgia: she is feeling better today!
The vet said she has no problems breathing. Gave her Baytril injection and antibiotics. She ate well, walked around a little bit, had a few poos, and is sleeping now.
 

TillyTheTort

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Apr 19, 2017
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Location (City and/or State)
Belgrade, Serbia
Here she is. Walking around the park in front of the vet's building while we were waiting for him :)
 

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wellington

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We need to know how you are housing her? A basket and walking on the floor are not safe places for her and in fact dangerous. She needs a proper enclosure separate from your other torts, with proper heat, substrate, lighting, etc. also a better diet then lettuce. While she is still recovering, she should be kept warm, 80 degrees day and night and a basking spot of 95-100. She needs UVB and water 24/7 and I would give her warm water soaks at least every other day if not daily for now, keeping her warm the whole time.
Sounds like your vet is doing good so far.
Good luck and get her set up in a proper enclosure.
 

TillyTheTort

New Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2017
Messages
6
Location (City and/or State)
Belgrade, Serbia
We need to know how you are housing her? A basket and walking on the floor are not safe places for her and in fact dangerous. She needs a proper enclosure separate from your other torts, with proper heat, substrate, lighting, etc. also a better diet then lettuce. While she is still recovering, she should be kept warm, 80 degrees day and night and a basking spot of 95-100. She needs UVB and water 24/7 and I would give her warm water soaks at least every other day if not daily for now, keeping her warm the whole time.
Sounds like your vet is doing good so far.
Good luck and get her set up in a proper enclosure.

Don't worry, she hasn't had any contact with my other torts, because she is wild-born and might have some native parasites. I wash my hands after handling her, before I touch my other torts. She has an UV lamp, but she's mostly been outside on my really big balcony, she's in the basket only when she sleeps inside, if it gets cold outside. I kept her outside to get as much natural sunlight as possible. I let her walk around my house today because it's suddenly became very cold in my country (temperature dropped for 18 degrees). Don't worry, my whole apartment has floor carpeting and radiators, so it isn't cold. I give her warm soaks almost every day. She also eats dandelion leaves, clover and pellets, not only lettuce.
 

Stormy Bluu

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Apr 26, 2017
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Even though she occationally has access to sunlight on a balcony and can walk around your apartment, thats really not going to be a sufficient set up for a tortoise. They need to have consistently monitored heat, humidity, and UVB in a controlled enclosure to stay healthy. This is especially important for an animal that has been having medical issues. She needs to have access to a water source at all times and that is large enough for her to be able to soak. For many tortoises substrate is extremely important as some species like to dig and burrow, which yours really can't do while living on carpet or blankets. Without a proper enclosure and set up, she will likely have a hard time recovering.
 
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