Tortoise wound healing

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Thortoise
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Joined: 21 Mar 2017, 22:27

Tortoise wound healing

Post by Thortoise » 21 Mar 2017, 22:48

Hi everyone

Thor has a ongoing problem with a wound on his face (posted aaaages ago about this on the old forum). It initially started as a suspected abscess in october 2016, was removed by the vet, and has been scabbing over ever since. He's been to the vet twice, in october and january, had the scab removed when i got a bit nervous about it, and has had two courses of antibiotics (after testing the wound for bugs). I was told to keep removing the scab to keep the tissue clean underneath (unlike my childhood scabs where I was told to leave them alone!). The wound has no obvious sign of infection, such as puss, redness, or weeping, nor is there evidence of a foreign body in the wound.

The problem is, 6 months down the line, the scab is still forming on either side of the wound, rather than evenly over the whole area. Every time I remove the scab it seems to grow back a little bigger, now getting a little close to one of his eyes. My vets have been very vague about how long these things take to heal, but I feel like 6 months should be enough time to see some improvement. I know the sensible option is to go back to the vet, but I feel like I'm just going to be given another course of antibiotics to give him, which isn't going to solve the problem. He's very small, and so is quite difficult for the vet to examine. He's in otherwise good health, with a hearty appetite and regular toilet habits, and has started to put on a gram or two a month now spring has arrived (40g). He is bathed daily. His environment is a tortoise table with top soil, and arcadia UVA UVA heat light lamp (30 degrees ave basking spot). He is isolated on newspaper for a couple of weeks when a large portion of scab is removed.

If anyone has any insight to offer on the following, I would be very grateful! Part of me feels like I'm just wasting the vets time when I've been before, and part of me is super paranoid.

Does anyone have any experience of tortoise wounds and the time-frame these things take to heal?
Does it sound like there's still a chance this will just resolve itself?
What do people thing about removing the scabs?
Could the humidity from his daily baths be affecting the scab growth?

Best Wishes
Beth and Thor

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lin
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Tortoise wound healing

Post by lin » 22 Mar 2017, 00:29

It would be good if you could post another photo of this scab so that we can see it again and refresh our memories.
I feel in might be another trip to your vet (is it one that specalises in reptiles, especially tortoises). A photo could also be posted to the TT for expert advice to offer your vet once we get info back.

Lin

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Elaine
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Re: Tortoise wound healing

Post by Elaine » 22 Mar 2017, 11:33

Hi Beth,
Like Lin I will be very interested to see the pictures.

Six months is a very long time, did your vet do a culture swab to see which antibiotic it would respond to? Can you remember what antibiotic it was, Baytril? Did he give you anything to clean the area with once scabless?

I think the bath would be far more beneficial than doing harm.

Look forward to seeing the area once you have time to post pictures.

Elaine
Elaine on behalf of The Tortoise Table (T.T.T.).

Thortoise
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Joined: 21 Mar 2017, 22:27

Re: Tortoise wound healing

Post by Thortoise » 22 Mar 2017, 18:23

Hi Ladies

Thanks for your replies - pic attached. You can see a top scab and bottom scab around the central hole. First lot of antibiotics was 3 weeks of baytril, by mouth daily (no swab). 2nd lot was ceftazidime (Fortaz) subcutaneous injection every 3 days for 3 weeks. Swab came back positive for staph. aureus, although as there was no sign of infection in the wound and it lives naturally on the skin normally, I'm doubtful that it was actually causing an infection. Regardless, the ceftazidime is active against that bacteria so should have cleared it. The first time the wound was cleaned daily with dilute hibiscrub (1:25), the second time, it's been cleaned daily with something called F10 (1:250).

Both vets were exotic specialists with experience in tortoises, listed on the TT vet list.

Best Wishes
Beth
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lin
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Re: Tortoise wound healing

Post by lin » 22 Mar 2017, 18:47

Hmm, nasty.
To me it looks like there is still infection present and maybe the reason for removing the scab is to allow drainage but if that was the case then surely you should be using something with future vet visits.
Elaine will have more answers as she is far more experienced than I am.

Lin

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Elaine
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Re: Tortoise wound healing

Post by Elaine » 22 Mar 2017, 19:39

Hi Beth, Fortrum with an F10 wash in my opinion should have overcome most issues.
I'll view the picture on my laptop later as the phone isn't giving me any details.

Elaine
Elaine on behalf of The Tortoise Table (T.T.T.).

Thortoise
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Re: Tortoise wound healing

Post by Thortoise » 22 Mar 2017, 21:44

Thanks :)

The first time I was offered the options of cleaning the wound under sedation or whilst conscious. I opted for conscious as I was nervous about the risk of anaesthetic overdose as he's pretty tiny (5.5cm and 40g). I gather OD risk is around 10%. They told me a good chunk of stuff had come out and they were confident they'd got whatever was in the initial abscess out. However, I'm now wondering if maybe sedation is the best option when i go back to the vet, because at least they'd be able to check it out properly and cut away any necrotic flesh if it's there.

I know you guys aren't vets, but as experienced breeders would you consider sedating such a small tort in this situation?

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Elaine
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Re: Tortoise wound healing

Post by Elaine » 23 Mar 2017, 13:55

Hi Beth,
Even when I looked via my laptop last night I couldn't really see any more details.

I couldn't post last night due to technical difficulties which have now be resolved.

Lin did something to be able to enlarge the area and thought it still looked infected. I'm not that talented with computers.

I think if you have faith in your vet I'd listen to what he advises. It may just be that you require a longer course of antibiotics. And if that is the case the smaller amount of time off in between the courses the better.

As for surgery: if it were to clear the abscess for good then it may be the better option rather than dragging it out for another few months.

Sorry this isn't more accretive but without actually seeing the wound it is very difficult to say either way.

But just be sure do be very strict with washing your hands before and after handeling.

Could you let us know what the vet says please Beth?

Would be so good to see him better and enjoying the summer.

Elaine
Elaine on behalf of The Tortoise Table (T.T.T.).

Thortoise
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Joined: 21 Mar 2017, 22:27

Re: Tortoise wound healing

Post by Thortoise » 25 Mar 2017, 10:06

Hi Elaine

Thanks for your reply, and sorry my camera is so rubbish! Yes I'll let you know what the vet says. I hope he'll be better for the summer too :(

Thanks
Beth

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Elaine
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Re: Tortoise wound healing

Post by Elaine » 25 Mar 2017, 10:38

I'm on my fourth lot of antibiotics with one of my tortoises, so it's not uncommon to have a longer dose for a persistent condition.

Good luck, and I'll look forward to the update.
Elaine
Elaine on behalf of The Tortoise Table (T.T.T.).

Thortoise
Posts: 8
Joined: 21 Mar 2017, 22:27

Re: Tortoise wound healing

Post by Thortoise » 18 Apr 2017, 18:27

Update:

Sorry it's taken so long to update you all. For various reasons I've not been able to get him seen before today. The vet put him on another course of antibiotics (more fortaz) for much longer this time (8-12 weeks), although he said the wound site looked quite healthy and pink. Another swab has been taken to check for sensitivity. He gave me some F10 cream to use alongside the F10 cleaning solution.
He suggested that there's a possibility Thor might have an underlying viral infection that's leaving him vulnerable to secondary bacterial infections. He offered to test for Herpes, but given the cost, I decided to see how we got on with the longer course of antibiotics and go from there. Reading between the lines it sounded like he thought that if it doesn't respond this time (i.e the healing doesn't improve), there's not much more that can be done if he does have an underlying viral infection... :?

On another note, the vet asked for 3 days worth of poo samples to check for worms. Thor had a test done 6 months ago that was clear, but I've just spotted lots of white wriggly things in his recent sample! So perhaps a high worm burden might be slowing down the healing process?

I just really hope he gets better soon :(

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Nina
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Re: Tortoise wound healing

Post by Nina » 18 Apr 2017, 18:53

Thanks so much for the update, Beth. Poor Thor! It does sound like you and the vet are doing all the right things, and I hope that the slowness in healing -- and maybe vulnerability to bacterial infections is due to a heavy worm load (which is easy to fix), rather than something like Herpes. You have taken really good care of Thor and I think we are all crossing our fingers that he pulls through this and recovers his full health soon.

Nina

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