Case study: Greek Ibera (owner surrender)
Symptoms upon intake: The tortoise went missing on Feb. 1, 2018 and was missing until May 23, 2018. It is assumed during this time the tortoise was exposed to the elements.
The tortoise was severely emaciated including muscle atrophy. The shell showed signs of predator attack. He could not use his legs properly causing him to shuffle in circles. Additionally his neck muscles were too damaged to hold his head up. Eyes were glassy and not responsive.
Antibiotics were started. Priority was to get him re-hydrated and get his system to start moving. It took 3 days for him to eat. Started with critical care and moved to greens when he could work his jaw a little at a time.
He exhausted very easily. He couldn’t eat for more than 3-5 minutes before he would fall asleep.
His system started expelling waste that was festering in his guts. The was rock hard stools, solidified urates and an undigested earthworm.
During this time, and currently, his care takes 1.5 to 3 hours per day. Hand feeding is still the primary way he gets food. Although he is gaining movement in his neck/head he can pick up the food if it’s in the correct position. He does not have the movement in his neck or front legs to eat normally.
His leg muscles are regenerating and he can now walk 2-4 feet before getting tired and needing to rest. His legs are also able to support his weight for 1-3 steps at a time. However, the majority of the time he cannot support his weight. I’ve rigged two things to help keep is weight from cutting off the circulation in his legs. First, when not working with him he sits on a platform that allows his legs hang down. The legs do touch the ground but allows enough room for circulation. The next is a sling that allows him to have his legs in water and ‘paddle. The legs are less than one inch from the bottom of the container in case the sling fails. I also massage his legs several times daily to stimulate blood flow.