SDTTS Meeting and lecture

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Angi

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Friday night I went to a the SDTTS meeting. Thomas Boyer DVM lectured on disease in tortoises and answered questions about care.
I found it interesting and would like to share some of the things he said that suprised me. I will add update as a remember stuff.
The first thing I found fasinating was that torts empty there bladders when they soak and then reabsorb water through their bladder, so it is like reverse peeing. Maybe this is why the baby food soaks help. He talked about herpies and showed picture of torts that had contacted the virus. He said Russians can be carriers with no signs and then infect other breeds. He talked about other diseases, but it was too much info for me to absorb in such a short time. In his oppinion captive torts do best on an 80% Muzuri diet. This shocked me. He also said Mazuri was the best brand tort food he had found.
This may sound stupid to some, but to me it was interesting that torts only have one hole to pee, poop. lay eggs etc...
He said NO reptile should be on sand. It causes too many problems.
He thinks torts should be hibernated to give their bodies a break, but should be soaked every couple weeks dried of and then put back. Not sure if I said that the way he did.
I will post more as I remember interesting things he said :)
 

Candy

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Wow that is interesting information, thanks. There's a few facts that I didn't know about. I'll be waiting for more. :)
 

Angi

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It was very interesting, but I realize some expert may disagree on some of the things this guy believes. He seemed to have a lot of experience with reptiles and had wrote a book and lectured to other vets. He also eplained some surgeries and how they draw blood and flush the nasal passages. He said once they get a nasal infection they will most likely be prone to them. It was a long drive, but I am so glad I went.
Alyssa ,the girl with the dog chewed red foot she resued was ther too. Maybe she can add some things I forgot.
 

Sulcatifornia

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I'm glad someone from TFO was there, I looked for you after but you had already left. I'm glad you posted this thread, I was going to post eventually :).

I thought the lecture was unimpressive overall, I was pretty shocked to see someone so "educated" and experienced have so much trouble answering questions, to start. He wanted to talk about diseases (which was pretty interesting) and show slides, but because so many of the issues had to do with diet, nutrition pretty much became the topic. He quickly rattled off different "good" things to feed your tortoises including spinach and Mazuri. So of course people asked allot of questions (thank you for asking about spinach Angi) and he eventually like Angi said, recommended Mazuri for 80% of their diet. Now I'm not claiming to be an expert by any means but by the many many hours of research me and my boyfriend (Eric) have spent on tortoises this seems dangerous. Especially coming from someone who we should be able to trust. He also said fruit and spinach were ok in small amounts as part of a varied diet :/, if they don't need it why give it? He also implied that grazing might not be that great because they will eat small rocks and it will cause obstructions.
So this was part of my biggest issue with him, he kept claiming things to be true for "all tortoises" and not till it was mentioned did he say he nearly only worked with desert torts. He ended up pushing Mazuri allot, saying he had torts with low blood protein levels that after being on the Mazuri diet the levels went up, but he never said when they peeked or what the levels of the other things in their system were, and didn't mention any long term results. I don't want to start a Mazuri debate but since it IS something to debate about shouldn't someone in his position not be so one sided? He didn't even know the ingredients! I feel he may have other incentive to push this "product"(since he SELLS IT), it IS a product, made to make money, not made because of love for torts :(.
If I hadn't known much about torts I would of ran home bought some mazuri online, given my sullys some "watermelon" as a weekly "treat", started feeding them spinach, and would have probably completely stopped letting them graze.

Ok so aside from my complaints. :). He talked about disease, impaction, hibernation, bladder stones, dog attack trauma, not allot about pyramiding :/. I did enjoy learning about the different diseases, it's something I havn't really researched much. He talked about torts that had such terrible diets that their bodies had grown out of their shells. Some with beaks that grew like an over bite, nails over an inch or two long on a tort about 3-4 inches, some with growths in their sinuses, some with organs on the outside :(. It was pretty gnarly and sad. They had an example of a tort that had grown out of its shell with a prolapsed penis, I should find a pic to show. I felt the most interesting part of the lecture was when a tort had goten such an infection that most of its plastron had to be removed and over time it completely grew back!! Gives me hope for my little RF girl :).

That's all I remember for now. And I'll post what happened with my RF at the meeting on my thread about her. It was great seeing you Angi!
 

Angi

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I tried to find your thread today so I could ask about her, but I couldn't find it. I found it interesting that he though Mazui should be 80% of the diet and maybe if I didn't have a veriety of good stuff avalible to me I would consider it. I don't think he was pushing it for money Compared to what he makes in his practice the cost of Mazuri is nothing. I also would not feed spinach or fruit I don't see a reason to feed anything as a treat when my torts have prenty of things they love. I think he had a hard time with the lecture not sticking to what he was used to. It was a lecture he used with other vets I believe and he was already trying to adopt it to us laymen. I could be wrong, but I don't remember him saying not to let them graze. I think he was saying don't pread the food YOU prepare on the ground. One lady asked if she should sprinkle Mazuri all over her yard and I think he was telling her " No stuff will stick to it". I did want to ask him why he doesn't buy some tiles or even stepping stones to feed on instead of news paper. All in all I though it was very good, I just think some Doctors,PHDs and scientists have a hard time comunicating with average people.

I really do want to hear all about your red foot. Did anyone there give any advice that was helpfull?
 

Angi

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Hi EJ,
So you know about Dr Boyer and you live all the way in Georgia? Wow! I am glad to hear that as he may be the closest reptile vet near me. I wish I would have had a tape recorder so I could remember all the information on disease etc....it was too much for me to absorb. I had no clue that some of these illnesses exist or the tests that could be done to torts.
 

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Well... Lived in San Diego for 17 years before moving to GA. I was aquainted with the Boyers when living in Texas before moving to SoCal.

It blows my mind that a... could slam him like that.


Angi said:
Hi EJ,
So you know about Dr Boyer and you live all the way in Georgia? Wow! I am glad to hear that as he may be the closest reptile vet near me. I wish I would have had a tape recorder so I could remember all the information on disease etc....it was too much for me to absorb. I had no clue that some of these illnesses exist or the tests that could be done to torts.
 

Angi

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In Allyssa's defence, I don't think Dr. Boyer is used to lecturing to average tort hobbiest. I believe he said in the begining that this was a lecture that he nornally gives to other experts already educated in reptiles or vet work. People started throwing questions at him (me included ) and I don't think he had time to answer everything and finish what he came to talk about. I think he could easily give a great 6 hour lecture or class, but that wasn't what he was there for. I have found that some of the most intelligent and educated people don't always comunicate well with average people. They asuume we understand things that are obvious to them. I did not catch half of what he said, but feel like I learned a ton. Like I said I wish I had it recorded so I could listen to it a few more times :) I doubt he charged for his time.
 

Angi

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I don't think Dr. Boyer is average. He seemed much more intelligent and knowledgable than an average person. I doubt there are many people in San Diego that have his reptile experience. I think most of the audience was very happy to be hearing him speak. The SDTTS people said it was a very large crowd for July and they did not advertise it well. I think TFO people from other areas may have came it they knew about it. I have learned from TFO that with tortoises even experts will not always agree. What I think we can all agree on is that we should all continue to learn.
 

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It is my experience that there are many different subgroups within any group, whether we are talking tortoise keepers or gem polishers. In our situation, we have the typical zoo keeper, the large scale breeder or farmer, smaller scale breeders, vets, scientists, advanced hobbyists, beginning hobbyists, etc.

Each of these groups looks at the tortoise and its care a little differently. Take spinach, for example. It is the advanced hobbyists that seem to struggle with spinach the most- the specter of oxalates bothers a lot of people who know about them. The thing is- there is no clinical evidence that I can find that suggests that spinach is bad for a tortoise*- indeed, there is not a lot of clinical evidence that oxalates as a whole are a big deal to tortoises. Dr. Mader's big vet book points out that they are only suspected as being one element in bladder stones, with dehydration probably being the main threat.

Torts of all species are also well-documented as eating many local plants that are so high in oxaltes that they are listed as toxic to humans and the torts not only do not show any known harm from this, they also seem to choose these plants even when there are other choices sometimes. (And yes, I know wild torts have bladder stones, but proper hydration is also a big problem for many wild torts, especially arid and grassland species.)

(*- this assumes that spinach is a part of a balanced, varied, appropriate diet and not a primary food item.)

I am NOT trying to suggest that the advanced hobbyist is wrong to be concerned or anything like that, just that they look at these issues differently than many other people do.
 

Angi

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Thank you Madkins that was well said. Frankly I know I am not qualified to tell most people here how to feed their torts, I really just stated that this Doctor seemed like a very inteligen knowledgeable reptile Vet. Maybe there are tons of reptile experts in San Diego, but I have not met or heard of anyone that knew so much about the anatomy, diseases and nutrition. As smart as I think many on here are, very few could actually preform surgery, run labs etc... Maybe I am just easily impressed, but hey I was very impressed :) Yes he didn't answer all the questions that came up but that could have turned into a 6 hour class.[hr]
.....and yes I plan to do lots more home work :) I hope I never stop learning.
 

dmmj

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We have had several vets over the years speak at our tortoise club ( CTTC) shameless plug. Even though I may not have agreed with everything said, but overall they were nice, well informed, and handled all of the questions thrown at them. Remember he (more than likely) volunteered his time to come and speak at your club and if you don't have anything nice to say then maybe you should not say anything at all, especially if he offered free medical advice.
 

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Angi said:
I really do want to hear all about your red foot. Did anyone there give any advice that was helpfull?
I got a little info, I'll post to my thread soon about what we've decided to do. With new pics of her progress. :)
 

Angi

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I abopted a box turtle today from the SDTTS and the gal ( Julie) said they decided to put that deformed little turtle down. It is so sad that his care was so bad that he became so messed up.
 

Sulcatifornia

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Angi said:
I abopted a box turtle today from the SDTTS and the gal ( Julie) said they decided to put that deformed little turtle down. It is so sad that his care was so bad that he became so messed up.
Was it one from the box of box turtles that got attacked by the raccoon?! I was interested in looking at those. Post pics!

How sad! I thought Dr.Boyer had said the deformed one would do allright with enough care and might even grow again. I heard from someone there that it was 15 yrs old. You can't always be sure they'll be taken care of even when you give them to a rescue, some take to much time and money. It's sad :(. You would think someone would of been willing to give it a good home with special care. :(
 

Angi

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Alyssa, No my new boxie was not one attacked by a raccoon. I don't think they are adopting those out yet. He seens like a healthy guy except his shell looks a little flat on top. I believe Dr. Boyer did say that the little deformed turtle could live but the vet SDTTS uses recomended putting him down. Julie from SDTTS had an impressive yard full of torts. many are in need of homes.
 

Angi

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When we were at Julies house I told my son "This is what our yard will look like after Coal( my old Lab) dies" He said " NO I LIKE HAVING A DAD THAT LIVES WITH ME !"LOL!!!!! Maybe if I start collecting slowly, my husband won't notice HaaHa!!!
 
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