Tiny hole in the carapace of a tortoise

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Tiny hole in the carapace of a tortoise

Postby dilbert » Sun Sep 19, 2010 7:29 pm

Hi all,

I was wondering if someone knows or could imagine why a vet would produce a tiny hole in the carapace of a tortoise with a syringe or a similar tool.

Thanks for any answers you might have.
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Re: Tiny hole in the carapace of a tortoise

Postby Ales » Sun Sep 19, 2010 8:46 pm

I think the vet would need a drill to make a hole in the shell.
After that a syringe could be put in,for reasons i have no clue.
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Re: Tiny hole in the carapace of a tortoise

Postby dilbert » Sun Sep 19, 2010 11:53 pm

Well, we are investigating the mysterious death of our tortoise we had for three years.

The tortoise died without any of the usual signs of a disease. He even ate as normal two hours before his death. He died after making a loud coughing noise about half a dozen times.

Before that, he started bleeding from the carapace about 6 weeks ago. In this time, he also lost weight from 430 grams to 350 grams.

The vet who has seen him is an experienced vet who worked for zoos before and who treats only exotics, mostly reptiles and birds.
She has never seen such a bleeding from the carapace before as well as I couldn't find anything on the Internet.

X-rays didn't unveil anything, blood and stool analysis showed a few worms and Coli bacteria. As already said, the tortoise didn't show any signs of disease. Eyes, shell, mouth, etc. all fine.

She said the hole looked like someone would have let fallen a compass needle on him.

Two years before, the tortoise was with another veterinary, also recommended tortoise specialists, Chelonian society and all the like. But we were quite disappointed with those. Mainly because of some "hospital stay" during that our tortoise detoriated significantly and a few other odd treatments.

Now, we are wondering if there would exist a reason to drill a whole into a carapace?
1.1.0 Eublepharis macularius
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Re: Tiny hole in the carapace of a tortoise

Postby mailjvdb » Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:19 am

Just a wild guess, but the hole is probably to try and relief some pressure due to the bleeding under the shell?
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Re: Tiny hole in the carapace of a tortoise

Postby dilbert » Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:48 am

I was asking the vet the same question but she said there is nothing that makes a hole through the shell. There are even blood vessels within the shell but it can be ruled out that abscesses or anything else would produce a hole. The same with parasites. They go through everything but never through bones.

She looked at the hole under a microscrope-like device and said it looked like mechanically produced.

But never haven't had small children or visitors access to the tortoise. In the garden, he was only under supervision as we don't have a real tortoise pen due to weather.
(Here we got even in summer rarely temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius. A tortoise pen would need a sheltered and dry surface and a large heat source, so it's not worth the effort to secure such a shed against predators.)
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Re: Tiny hole in the carapace of a tortoise

Postby fredsmith » Mon Sep 20, 2010 12:34 pm

I saw a tortoise a good few years back near haartebeespoort with a hole in it's shell, much like what you're describing. the hole was made with a drill and made to fit a screw with a loop on the end, the kind people use to hang pictures up... A lead of some sort?
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Re: Tiny hole in the carapace of a tortoise

Postby dilbert » Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:50 pm

But this is not what a vet would be doing on a living animal? :shock:
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Re: Tiny hole in the carapace of a tortoise

Postby it_bit_me » Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:01 pm

Sorry but you lost me. You say the vet has seen him 2 years before and then again after the hole was seen. Where did the injury happen then.
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Re: Tiny hole in the carapace of a tortoise

Postby dilbert » Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:36 am

>> Where did the injury happen then.

As I said already, the tortoise has never been un-supervised in the garden as there is no real tortoise pen due to the special British weather. Often, the weather is cooler in summer than in South Africa in winter. :(

The vets also have been two different ones.

The first behaved very odd. Among other nonsense, they extracted some very small stones from the intestine or stomach and showed them to me with astonishment. :roll:
Our tortoise also detoriated completely during their "hospital stay". We decided not to prolong this "hospital stay". When I called them to clarify the bill that was not only wrong but completely weird, they apologised for the bill but I got then someone on the phone who tried to convince me 15 minutes long to bring the tortoise back into their "hospital".

We thought that it would have been possible that those vets two years before applied the hole for some reason and no one noticed it until now.
But in this case there should exist a reason to apply such a hole for a medical reason. Otherwise, it wouldn't make any sense. But is there such a reason?
:?:
1.1.0 Eublepharis macularius
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Re: Tiny hole in the carapace of a tortoise

Postby Bushviper » Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:47 am

There does not seem to be any plausible reason to drill a hole in the shell. It could be to draw off fluids but that is really strange.

The shell is covering a bone and any hole drilled two years ago would have healed up by now. This injury is definitely recent.
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Re: Tiny hole in the carapace of a tortoise

Postby dilbert » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:48 am

At this time, the tortoise had an eye infection. And after he recovered from the "hospital stay" of the first vet, we went to the second and this vet simply washed out the eyes under tap water what looked very brutally and gave us some eye drops and the whole problem was solved.
So there was probably no need for drawing any fluids from the body.

So, Bushviper, there is no possibility that the hole would have healed in the first instance and then with the ongoing shell growth been broken up again?

The hole is very small, almost invisible with the naked eye. There is also no signs of dead material from necrosis around the whole. So, it looks like mechanically produced.

It remains a complete mystery. :(
1.1.0 Eublepharis macularius
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Re: Tiny hole in the carapace of a tortoise

Postby it_bit_me » Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:40 pm

Removing the stomach stones could make you believe that the vets are incompetent and over-treating your pet.
If I'm gonna be an old, lonely man, I'm gonna need a thing, you know, a hook, like that guy on the subway who eats his own face. So I figure I'll be Crazy Man with a Snake, y'know. Crazy Snake Man. And I'll get more snakes, call them my babies, kids won't walk past my place, they will run. "Run away from Crazy Snake Man, " they'll shout!”
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Re: Tiny hole in the carapace of a tortoise

Postby dilbert » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:10 pm

Yes, the main guy there is member of the British Chelonian Society and has written a book about tortoises. Another lady has been described as so much competent with tortoises. That's why I went to this veterinary.

Most biologists agree that tortoises eat little stones to improve digestion and at least crododiles use stones for sure for that purpose. So what really made me wonder how this allegadly so much compentent lady could express astonishment about those stones. How they were them getting out is another mystery. Well, I didn't ask as I didn't expect a genuine answer but maybe I should have done so. :(
1.1.0 Eublepharis macularius
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Re: Tiny hole in the carapace of a tortoise

Postby Marcel2992 » Sat Sep 25, 2010 1:51 pm

I would say that they maybe took a DNA sample if that is how they intend to do it.If I were you I'd ask the vet why they made this hole?

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Re: Tiny hole in the carapace of a tortoise

Postby dilbert » Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:11 pm

It is only an asumption that someone could have made a hole.

We became aware of this hole only 2 month ago when the tortoise started bleeding from that hole. Very little blood and after the first appearance it took 3 weeks to the next short bleeding.

The vets in question had him more than two years ago. At this time, we didn't notice anything, they didn't tell us anything and nothing related to this showed up on the bill.

Only they were the only people who had him for 5 days as we never have given the tortoise to someone else unsupervised in all that time.
1.1.0 Eublepharis macularius
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