Finding a Suitable Vet
It is always best to use a vet who specialises, or has a stated interest in, reptiles or 'exotics'. The standard training for vets in most countries includes very little training in reptiles, and even less training in dealing with tortoises or turtles, so finding a vet who has specialist skills in reptiles is important.
On The Tortoise Table website we publish a list of UK vets who have either been recommended to us by tortoise keepers, or who have contacted us, asking to be added to our list because they have expertise in treating tortoises. We recommend that all new keepers look at this list so that they know of a suitable vet to treat their tortoise should an emergency arise. The Tortoise Table does not guarantee the expertise of any veterinary practice, but we believe that a recommendation from a tortoise keeper is a good start. If you cannot find a local reptile vet near you then do contact us and we will do our best to help you find one: http://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tortoise-health/uk-vets
Registering your Tortoise with a Vet
It is a good idea to register any newly acquired tortoise with a suitable vet, so that you can take it for a health check and screening for parasitic infestation, and this is especially important if the tortoise is older and you have no or little knowledge of its previous history or its health status. If you acquire a captive-bred hatchling from a reputable breeder, it probably isn’t necessary to visit the vet immediately, but it is still wise to find a suitable vet early on, so that you have the details handy when the need arises.
When you do visit the vet, always take a fresh sample of faeces and your observation records -- details of the tortoise's health, weight and length gains, hibernation details etc. -- with you, and you can download our Observations Record booklet here to help you keep accurate records.