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Lefty

Lefty

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Photos courtesy of the California Turtle & Tortoise Club (CTTC): Valley Chapter
Text by Karen Berry: Treasurer | Adoption Chair

Lefty is one of the Valley Chapter's ambassadors. In 2018, he appeared on the NBC-4 Morning News at 11:00AM. You can watch a video of the broadcast here.

Lefty came to our chapter from West Valley Shelter in July, 2017. His right front leg was badly mangled and had the consistency of dried leather. There was little skin left on the underside of the leg where it would connect with the bottom shell, and what was there was gangrenous. The leg obviously had to be amputated, which it was the following day.

Because of the lack of "good" skin at the bottom of the leg, it was difficult for the vet to create a "soft" suture line, with plenty of slack to allow freedom of movement. Tortoises have extremely strong muscles in their front legs and shoulders (for digging), and still move to walk, even without a leg attached. The force of his muscles put pressure on the sutures, and within a week, caused them to ooze and start to separate. They had to be removed, and we were left with a large open wound to treat. The vet prescribed treating it with medical grade Manuka honey, which has exceptional healing properties, especially for open wounds. Like everything else for a tortoise, that wound healed very slowly over the next few months, but was not going to completely heal without additional surgery, which was done on Dec 30, 2017. That surgery was also successful, and while the suture line was looser, the same problem with oozing and separation started again within a month, because of the pressure exerted by the underlying muscles. The sutures were removed, but this time the wound was much smaller, healed better, this time treated with an antibiotic cream. Right now, he has a very small scab, less than a ½ inch in diameter left on the stump. It has a way to go to fall off and complete the healing. He is going to need some physical therapy to strengthen his remaining leg, build back the muscle he has lost ever the last year and a half, and regain the weight he lost after the 2 surgeries.

Update: April. 21, 2021

Karen Berry, CTTC-Valley adoption chair, recently checked in to update me on Lefty's status. Sadly, he died in hibernation about a month ago. She promised to send the full story when it was possible for her to do the writing without crying. —CH

Lefty

Lefty

Lefty

Click on the image above to view the slide show.

Photos courtesy of the California Turtle & Tortoise Club (CTTC): Valley Chapter
Text by Karen Berry: Treasurer | Adoption Chair

Photos courtesy of the California Turtle & Tortoise Club (CTTC): Valley Chapter Text by Karen Berry: Treasurer | Adoption Chair

Lefty is one of the Valley Chapter's ambassadors. In 2018, he appeared on the NBC-4 Morning News at 11:00AM. You can watch a video of the broadcast here.

Lefty came to our chapter from West Valley Shelter in July, 2017. His right front leg was badly mangled and had the consistency of dried leather. There was little skin left on the underside of the leg where it would connect with the bottom shell, and what was there was gangrenous. The leg obviously had to be amputated, which it was the following day.

Because of the lack of "good" skin at the bottom of the leg, it was difficult for the vet to create a "soft" suture line, with plenty of slack to allow freedom of movement. Tortoises have extremely strong muscles in their front legs and shoulders (for digging), and still move to walk, even without a leg attached. The force of his muscles put pressure on the sutures, and within a week, caused them to ooze and start to separate. They had to be removed, and we were left with a large open wound to treat. The vet prescribed treating it with medical grade Manuka honey, which has exceptional healing properties, especially for open wounds. Like everything else for a tortoise, that wound healed very slowly over the next few months, but was not going to completely heal without additional surgery, which was done on Dec 30, 2017. That surgery was also successful, and while the suture line was looser, the same problem with oozing and separation started again within a month, because of the pressure exerted by the underlying muscles. The sutures were removed, but this time the wound was much smaller, healed better, this time treated with an antibiotic cream. Right now, he has a very small scab, less than a ½ inch in diameter left on the stump. It has a way to go to fall off and complete the healing. He is going to need some physical therapy to strengthen his remaining leg, build back the muscle he has lost ever the last year and a half, and regain the weight he lost after the 2 surgeries.

Update: April. 21, 2021

Karen Berry, CTTC-Valley adoption chair, recently checked in to update me on Lefty's status. Sadly, he died in hibernation about a month ago. She promised to send the full story when it was possible for her to do the writing without crying. —CH

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