Russian tortoise white blood cell count low so needs ct scan?

zovick

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2013
Messages
1,896
I definitely will. Thank you ☺
Did you point out that pinkish area on the plastron to the vet or was it not there any longer? If it was there, what did he/she say it might be? It looks like septicemia to me. If it starts spreading and becoming more obvious around the edges of the plastron, you can be pretty sure it is septicemia.
 

No1much

Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2019
Messages
60
Location (City and/or State)
Cardiff
Hi...I am not second guessing a professional, but, how can you be prescribed antibiotics before there is a confirmed diagnosis? Especially since antibiotics are so hard on them.
I 100% get where you are coming from. I'm not going to lie I feel exactly the same. Its frightening. I've second guessed even giving him the antibiotics before a propper diagnosis but I'm between a rock and a hard place. If I hold off and there is an infection then I risk it progressing. I guess I'm just in a position where I have to trust the vets judgement.
 

No1much

Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2019
Messages
60
Location (City and/or State)
Cardiff
Did you point out that pinkish area on the plastron to the vet or was it not there any longer? If it was there, what did he/she say it might be? It looks like septicemia to me. If it starts spreading and becoming more obvious around the edges of the plastron, you can be pretty sure it is septicemia.
Yeah it was pointed out. His primary concern is septicemia and we're working with that assumption until tests come back.
 

maggie3fan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
5,154
Location (City and/or State)
PacificNorthWest
I 100% get where you are coming from. I'm not going to lie I feel exactly the same. Its frightening. I've second guessed even giving him the antibiotics before a propper diagnosis but I'm between a rock and a hard place. If I hold off and there is an infection then I risk it progressing. I guess I'm just in a position where I have to trust the vets judgement.
But...the blood test that they did will tell you septicemia, yes or no. Then you use the antibiotic. That just seems normal to me, and I have had a couple of box turtles with septicemia,and I do know how serious it is. But giving our tortoises an antibiotic is also serious, they stop eating, so now you have another problem. How long for the test result?
 

harrythetortoise

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2020
Messages
454
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
But...the blood test that they did will tell you septicemia, yes or no. Then you use the antibiotic. That just seems normal to me, and I have had a couple of box turtles with septicemia,and I do know how serious it is. But giving our tortoises an antibiotic is also serious, they stop eating, so now you have another problem. How long for the test result?
Do you know what normally causes tortoises to have septicemia?
 

maggie3fan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
5,154
Location (City and/or State)
PacificNorthWest
Do you know what normally causes tortoises to have septicemia?
Sometimes it's an infection that goes unnoticed and eventually that infection goes nuts and causes, septicemia, aka, blood poisoning. Over the years I had 3 box turtles that came in with septicemia, each one was treated as the protocol called for, and all three died. But that was years ago and we all know that chelonia medical diagnosing and treating has come a long way. Things that killed tortoises years ago are treated and the animal improves now
 

No1much

Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2019
Messages
60
Location (City and/or State)
Cardiff
But...the blood test that they did will tell you septicemia, yes or no. Then you use the antibiotic. That just seems normal to me, and I have had a couple of box turtles with septicemia,and I do know how serious it is. But giving our tortoises an antibiotic is also serious, they stop eating, so now you have another problem. How long for the test result?
Yeah, the blood test will confirm the presence of infection. I completely understand the issue. I know the severity of antibiotic injections. I'm really worried myself. The results won't be ready until "some time next week" due to the weekend. My little guy has been struggling for at least 3 weeks. I worry that holding off a few more days could get him to a position where its progressed and it's harder to treat, or worse dead. It's a really hard position to be in. I don't take the decision lightly but 2 different vets have said it is likely an infection.
 

No1much

Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2019
Messages
60
Location (City and/or State)
Cardiff
Do you know what normally causes tortoises to have septicemia?
Do you know what normally causes tortoises to have septicemia?
As I understand it. It can be caused by shell rot, injury or poor water quality. As far as I know he hasn't experienced any of these. I can't be with him 24/7 though so I can't rule out him hurting himself at some point and me not noticing.
 

Jan A

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2021
Messages
1,318
Location (City and/or State)
Boulder, CO
As I understand it. It can be caused by shell rot, injury or poor water quality. As far as I know he hasn't experienced any of these. I can't be with him 24/7 though so I can't rule out him hurting himself at some point and me not noticing.
Boy, this is tough. The tort can't tell you what's wrong & you can"t get early test results. Has there been any change to his plastron since the last photo? Sending good vibes your way!!
 

No1much

Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2019
Messages
60
Location (City and/or State)
Cardiff
Boy, this is tough. The tort can't tell you what's wrong & you can"t get early test results. Has there been any change to his plastron since the last photo? Sending good vibes your way!!
No I don't think there has been a significant change. I literally took this pic just this minute after a soak. The pic is slightly clearer and better lighting but I don't think it's changed.
 

Attachments

  • PXL_20210226_191903110.MP.jpg
    PXL_20210226_191903110.MP.jpg
    1.5 MB · Views: 23

Jan A

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2021
Messages
1,318
Location (City and/or State)
Boulder, CO
No I don't think there has been a significant change. I literally took this pic just this minute after a soak. The pic is slightly clearer and better lighting but I don't think it's changed.
Still thinking of you & your tort. Hoping the tests come back fast &/or the meds start to work quickly.
 

No1much

Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2019
Messages
60
Location (City and/or State)
Cardiff
Hi all.
My Russian tortoise hasn't been well lately. We originally thought was just an infection, then thought could be scud. We took him to the vets (as outlined in a previous post https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/orange-ish-patch-on-shell-scud.189830/ ) the vet did bloods and said his organs seem fine however his white blood cell count is around 0.5 rather than the 4.5 that it should be. He's currently on antibiotics. Vet recommends we finish this course, repeat bloods and if there is no sign of improvement then we should have a ct scan done to try to see if there is a localized infection within his body or an abscess somewhere.
I'm just curious if anybody else has experience of this situation.
The price of a blood test is 180 quid and the scan is 750 (without dye because he's so small) this vet seems quite expensive compared to my previous vet. Is this the norm for uk prices? Obviously I'm going to pay regardless. I'm just cautious.

Any advice or input of any kind would be appreciated.
 

ZenHerper

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2020
Messages
1,687
Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
[It's best to keep all of your replies/updates on the same initial thread...people lose track of which-tort-is-which, and have to ask all the same questions over and over.]

Is this a for-sure male? Are they eating, drinking, urinating, passing stool?

Was there an x-ray taken? Females having trouble with follicles or eggs have low white counts. When the immune system is actively coping an infection, white cells are usually very high...

When tortoises have a tough dormancy season, they can end up with low white blood cell counts. This predisposes them to opportunistic infections.

Some things to discuss with your vet:
post-dormancy syndrome: http://www.britishcheloniagroup.org.uk/testudo/v6/v6n1mcarthur

in females: http://www.britishcheloniagroup.org.uk/vetscorner/reproductive

further analysis of females: http://www.britishcheloniagroup.org.uk/vetscorner/stasis
 

No1much

Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2019
Messages
60
Location (City and/or State)
Cardiff
[It's best to keep all of your replies/updates on the same initial thread...people lose track of which-tort-is-which, and have to ask all the same questions over and over.]

Is this a for-sure male? Are they eating, drinking, urinating, passing stool?

Was there an x-ray taken? Females having trouble with follicles or eggs have low white counts. When the immune system is actively coping an infection, white cells are usually very high...

When tortoises have a tough dormancy season, they can end up with low white blood cell counts. This predisposes them to opportunistic infections.

Some things to discuss with your vet:
post-dormancy syndrome: http://www.britishcheloniagroup.org.uk/testudo/v6/v6n1mcarthur

in females: http://www.britishcheloniagroup.org.uk/vetscorner/reproductive

further analysis of females: http://www.britishcheloniagroup.org.uk/vetscorner/stasis

Thanks for the comment.
Sorry yeah I made a new thread because although it was about the same tortoises illness in my mind it seemed like a different topic. Sorry.

I've seen what I thought was his penis quite a few times. He gets it out quite regularly. No x-ray has been taken. They originally talked about an xray but then said it might not give the detail they need to see if there is an issue internally.

Regarding white blood cell count. I thought the same. I thought it would be high in cases of infection. The vet said the while blood cells could be getting utilized somewhere within his body so might not be present in the blood and to stay the course with antibiotics to protect him while his count is still low. This is one of the reasons I came here. It just seems a little iffy to me and wondered what other people's opinions are.

Regarding dormancy syndrome. He's never been hibernated because he is thought to be 2-3 years old. My previous vet didn't recommend it because when I first got him his shell was still slightly "soft". We werent 100% sure if it was because he was young or whether it was poor husbandry before I got him. If he's never hibernated could dormancy syndrome still be an issue ?
 

ZenHerper

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2020
Messages
1,687
Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
Thanks for the comment.
Sorry yeah I made a new thread because although it was about the same tortoises illness in my mind it seemed like a different topic. Sorry.

I've seen what I thought was his penis quite a few times. He gets it out quite regularly. No x-ray has been taken. They originally talked about an xray but then said it might not give the detail they need to see if there is an issue internally.

Regarding white blood cell count. I thought the same. I thought it would be high in cases of infection. The vet said the while blood cells could be getting utilized somewhere within his body so might not be present in the blood and to stay the course with antibiotics to protect him while his count is still low. This is one of the reasons I came here. It just seems a little iffy to me and wondered what other people's opinions are.

Regarding dormancy syndrome. He's never been hibernated because he is thought to be 2-3 years old. My previous vet didn't recommend it because when I first got him his shell was still slightly "soft". We werent 100% sure if it was because he was young or whether it was poor husbandry before I got him. If he's never hibernated could dormancy syndrome still be an issue ?

Yep. Male. lol OK.

Sequestration of WBCs can happen. Tortoises can have odd WBC responses to lots of things (like different kinds of anesthetics).

Indoor dormancy is a weird thing. People frequently complain in late January-Feb that their tort is sluggish, not eating, falling asleep in its soak pan, etc.. Reptile brains will cue from a variety of environmental conditions, including drops in room temperature that our metabolisms become used to (reptile metabolism is tied entirely to ambient temperatures, so when one layer of heat changes, they are adversely affected, even if heat bulbs and thermostats have remained in use). Other cues may involve daylight length, subtle changes to ambient humidity, and possibly atmospheric and electromagnetic differentials.

In short, it is possible for a tortoise to be maintained indoors under apparent Temperate conditions, but yet their physiology switches over to Dormant mode. With all the attendant features and potential complications. For sure, on the table.

X-rays are great for detecting mineralized stuff (bones, eggs, bladder/kidney stones)...depends a lot on who is taking and reading the graph how much soft tissue detail can be seen.

So it still comes down to Trust. If your vet is a reptile specialist, then I'd say discuss Dormancy Syndrome, and have really compelling reasons to rule it out.

If this are not a specialty practice, and since you are considering more specialized testing, then I'd ask for a referral to a herp-dedicated practice. Take those higher-stakes (higher-cost) steps with the highest degree of confidence that you can.
 

No1much

Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2019
Messages
60
Location (City and/or State)
Cardiff
Yep. Male. lol OK.

Sequestration of WBCs can happen. Tortoises can have odd WBC responses to lots of things (like different kinds of anesthetics).

Indoor dormancy is a weird thing. People frequently complain in late January-Feb that their tort is sluggish, not eating, falling asleep in its soak pan, etc.. Reptile brains will cue from a variety of environmental conditions, including drops in room temperature that our metabolisms become used to (reptile metabolism is tied entirely to ambient temperatures, so when one layer of heat changes, they are adversely affected, even if heat bulbs and thermostats have remained in use). Other cues may involve daylight length, subtle changes to ambient humidity, and possibly atmospheric and electromagnetic differentials.

In short, it is possible for a tortoise to be maintained indoors under apparent Temperate conditions, but yet their physiology switches over to Dormant mode. With all the attendant features and potential complications. For sure, on the table.

X-rays are great for detecting mineralized stuff (bones, eggs, bladder/kidney stones)...depends a lot on who is taking and reading the graph how much soft tissue detail can be seen.

So it still comes down to Trust. If your vet is a reptile specialist, then I'd say discuss Dormancy Syndrome, and have really compelling reasons to rule it out.

If this are not a specialty practice, and since you are considering more specialized testing, then I'd ask for a referral to a herp-dedicated practice. Take those higher-stakes (higher-cost) steps with the highest degree of confidence that you can.

I will definitely discuss this with my vet. The vet I'm dealing with is part of a vetinary hospital and specializes in exotics/reptiles/birds. He seems to indicate online that birds are more his thing. He has rcvs and CertAVP if that means anything to you lol.

It will be a struggle to pay these bills but I love my little guy and honestly would rather eat bread and water than not give him the help he needs. What does concern me most is medical interventions that he doesn't need hence why I'm seeking advice or that all of this might be an over reaction or unnecessary.
 

ZenHerper

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2020
Messages
1,687
Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
I will definitely discuss this with my vet. The vet I'm dealing with is part of a vetinary hospital and specializes in exotics/reptiles/birds. He seems to indicate online that birds are more his thing. He has rcvs and CertAVP if that means anything to you lol.

It will be a struggle to pay these bills but I love my little guy and honestly would rather eat bread and water than not give him the help he needs. What does concern me most is medical interventions that he doesn't need hence why I'm seeking advice or that all of this might be an over reaction or unnecessary.

I think RCVS is just the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons...so the main oversight licensing board.

The Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice is a self study post-graduate continuing education whatsit. Not specific to any one thing from what I can find.

If he seems amenable, you might ask to be passed on to someone in the building for whom torts is more their thing. lol

As to what your pet needs, I'm afraid no one on the internet can really say with certainty. Opinions are plentiful. But every caregiver has to make their own decisions.
 
TortoiseSupply.com

New Posts

Top