Scute looks damaged

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TortyPerson
Posts: 20
Joined: 15 Aug 2021, 11:06

Scute looks damaged

Post by TortyPerson » 13 Sep 2021, 11:30

Hello everybody,

We're still learning about our new 7 year old spur thighed tortoise and I have a question about one of his scutes as I think it looks slightly damaged. If I am looking at him from behind, it's the scute that's on the right of his supracaudal scute. I will attach pictures. It looks like the highest edge of the top layer of the scute has crumbled slightly. Is this indicative of a problem or just normal wear and tear?

This little guy (Gonzales) has really settled in now. He willingly eats wild leaves etc from his plate (thanks Nina for the great advice on this), poops every day and spends many hours energetically clambering around his enclosures. He's been in his indoors table this week due to colder weather and we have been swapping in and out various logs, plants and stones to keep him entertained. Currently there's a small pile of logs that he is constantly climbing and I'm wondering if this has possibly caused the damage. Are we challenging him too much with this obstacle course?

His shell temperature under the lamps is 32 degrees. We soak him every day for half an hour but don't usually wet this part of his shell.

Thanks for reading.

TP

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lin
Posts: 865
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Scute looks damaged

Post by lin » 13 Sep 2021, 13:18

Hi TP, thanks for the good photos, it really helps.
When you first got this little guy was this damaged scute already visible? I think it’s an old injury, it looks dry. It that particular scute a little loose?
My guess is that it’s fine and with you bathing him I have found it does help with the healing process no matter how old. There is no signs of any reddening around any of the scutes on top or on the plastron is there?
As he is eating and acting normal I would think it’s nothing to worry about but we can never be too sure what’s going on underneath.
I would suggest bathing him daily and using a baby’s toothbrush gently scrub the area with an antibacterial soap, diluted F10 or diluted tamodine and rinse well. keep check on the changes and if you are in any doubt that this could be new or any wetness is visible then he will need a vet.

Lin

TortyPerson
Posts: 20
Joined: 15 Aug 2021, 11:06

Re: Scute looks damaged

Post by TortyPerson » 13 Sep 2021, 15:28

Hi Lin,

Thanks for your answers. I'm really not sure if he arrived with this damage - it's certainly possible that I only just noticed it. We are educating ourselves all the time about tortoises and it mightn't have occurred to me to check his shell until I became aware that shell damage might mean a bigger problem. The scute isn't loose - just crumbled at the top. Actually all the scutes at his rear seem to have deeper channels between them - no idea if that's normal or not. No signs of reddening at all.

I'll do as you suggest with the baths and keep an eye on it for changes.

Thanks again,

TP

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Nina
Posts: 1575
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Scute looks damaged

Post by Nina » 13 Sep 2021, 18:23

Hi TP -- great to hear from you again and to hear that Gonzales is doing well You've done a great job with him since you first contacted us, and the environment you've made for him looks excellent (I love the log pile, and he evidently loves it too).

I agree with all that Lin has said -- it does seem like an old injury and not active now. The fact that borders of the scutes at his rear have deep channels is slightly odd. Is there any sign that a scute could be lifting? It doesn't look like it is, but thought I'd just check. I think he is probably fine, but follow Lin's advice and keep an eye on him for any changes.

Did he enjoy his time outdoors when we had the nice weather? You are very lucky with him -- at the moment we are getting loads of messages from people whose tortoises are slowing down and not eating, because they are getting into hibernation mode, and it's a bit too early for that. It's great that Gonzales is still raring to go.

Nina

TortyPerson
Posts: 20
Joined: 15 Aug 2021, 11:06

Re: Scute looks damaged

Post by TortyPerson » 13 Sep 2021, 23:21

Hi Nina, thanks for your answers. The scute seems firmly attached to the rest of the shell if that's what you mean when you ask if it's lifting? It's just the top edge has crumbled slightly and the channels between the scutes near his tail are much more pronounced than everywhere else on his shell.

He is certainly not slowing down... quite the opposite as you have observed. He's been clambering around constantly and even keeps it up for a few minutes after lights out. He did spend quite a lot of time outdoors when it was warmer but seemed to be hell bent on escaping so I don't know how relaxed he was. He hasn't started eating the plantain etc that are growing there, but he has eaten the dandelion flowers so that's a start. He does eat wild leaves from his bowl so that's OK. I think his happy place is on top of the log pile in his indoor table :D

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