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Reaper

Reaper

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

Reaper came to Valley Chapter in May 2010, and is currently the patient under our care for the longest period of time, almost 9 years. He had escaped from his habitat, and fallen into the opening to the area underneath the house, and gone in. No one knew he was there and he was stuck under the house with no food or water for a long time, including over the winter. When he arrived at his foster location, and was more closely examined, he appeared to be sick, possibly with a respiratory infection, and very weak. He was placed in a box under a heat emitter so he could warm up. He went to the vet the next day, and was given an antibiotic injection and fluids, as he was very dehydrated. His foster "Mom" was very concerned about his condition, and that he might not make it. He had no appetite and ate very little. The most unusual thing about him was his walk. His gait wasn’t normal, and is often referred to as "high-stepping." which is an indicator of some kind of neurological damage, sometimes from heat stroke. He can also get his legs stuck underneath him and from the efforts to free them, can roll over. It is intermittent, and unpredictable, so he is never left alone during his waking hours.

He was moved to a different foster home a month later. He would eat small amounts of food placed in front of him, but would not graze on grass. For the rest of the summer, he had daily physical therapy to try and build strength, and boost his appetite. He was walking fairly well, still "high-stepping," but at the end of summer, he became weak and unable to walk well. He wasn’t going to be allowed to hibernate because of his condition, but was determined to go to sleep. The vet advised to closely monitor him over the winter, to make sure he survived, and pull him out if he had trouble or appeared to get sick. When he awoke in the spring, instead of being revitalized, he was weak, and was not able to negotiate under his own power. He went in to the vet for evaluation, and a treatment plan was developed to see if he would respond. He was tube fed for a couple of weeks to pick up his appetite, and then was introduced to Critical Care in "mush" form. He started eating that with added chopped dandelions and grape leaves. He ate all of it at every feeding, and ate hibiscus flowers and rose petals, but still wouldn’t eat grass. But what to do about the inability to walk under his own power....? We made Reaper a "skateboard" with "outriggers" that would keep him balanced and stop him from rolling over, His "skateboard" was attached by Velcro to a corresponding Velcro patch on his bottom shell. At first, he wouldn’t move, or even try. Gradually, he would venture out, and the skateboard supported his weight, so he could move his legs and try to walk. Over the summer, with daily physical therapy, he went from the skateboard to walking under his own power. And by the end of summer, he was eating well and nibbling on grass. He was OK’d to hibernate that winter and monitored closely. He woke up in good condition, and has been able to hibernate every winter since. He has made amazing progress over the years, but is still hindered by getting his legs stuck underneath him, and occasionally rolling over. He behaves like a normal tortoise, and doesn’t let his conditions keep him from doing whatever he wants, although he does sometimes end up upside down from his "daredevil" activity.

Currently, he lives with the adoption team leader, who adopted him to give him a stable home while he continues his rehabilitation. He will continue with his physical therapy, and this year’s plan is to work on turns to teach him a new way for him to make them, and not roll over, as well as continue to build up muscle strength and stamina. It takes a lot of time and effort for his rehabilitation, but he’s willing to try anything.

Reaper

Reaper

Reaper

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

Reaper came to Valley Chapter in May 2010, and is currently the patient under our care for the longest period of time, almost 9 years. He had escaped from his habitat, and fallen into the opening to the area underneath the house, and gone in. No one knew he was there and he was stuck under the house with no food or water for a long time, including over the winter. When he arrived at his foster location, and was more closely examined, he appeared to be sick, possibly with a respiratory infection, and very weak. He was placed in a box under a heat emitter so he could warm up. He went to the vet the next day, and was given an antibiotic injection and fluids, as he was very dehydrated. His foster "Mom" was very concerned about his condition, and that he might not make it. He had no appetite and ate very little. The most unusual thing about him was his walk. His gait wasn’t normal, and is often referred to as "high-stepping." which is an indicator of some kind of neurological damage, sometimes from heat stroke. He can also get his legs stuck underneath him and from the efforts to free them, can roll over. It is intermittent, and unpredictable, so he is never left alone during his waking hours.

He was moved to a different foster home a month later. He would eat small amounts of food placed in front of him, but would not graze on grass. For the rest of the summer, he had daily physical therapy to try and build strength, and boost his appetite. He was walking fairly well, still "high-stepping," but at the end of summer, he became weak and unable to walk well. He wasn’t going to be allowed to hibernate because of his condition, but was determined to go to sleep. The vet advised to closely monitor him over the winter, to make sure he survived, and pull him out if he had trouble or appeared to get sick. When he awoke in the spring, instead of being revitalized, he was weak, and was not able to negotiate under his own power. He went in to the vet for evaluation, and a treatment plan was developed to see if he would respond. He was tube fed for a couple of weeks to pick up his appetite, and then was introduced to Critical Care in "mush" form. He started eating that with added chopped dandelions and grape leaves. He ate all of it at every feeding, and ate hibiscus flowers and rose petals, but still wouldn’t eat grass. But what to do about the inability to walk under his own power....? We made Reaper a "skateboard" with "outriggers" that would keep him balanced and stop him from rolling over, His "skateboard" was attached by Velcro to a corresponding Velcro patch on his bottom shell. At first, he wouldn’t move, or even try. Gradually, he would venture out, and the skateboard supported his weight, so he could move his legs and try to walk. Over the summer, with daily physical therapy, he went from the skateboard to walking under his own power. And by the end of summer, he was eating well and nibbling on grass. He was OK’d to hibernate that winter and monitored closely. He woke up in good condition, and has been able to hibernate every winter since. He has made amazing progress over the years, but is still hindered by getting his legs stuck underneath him, and occasionally rolling over. He behaves like a normal tortoise, and doesn’t let his conditions keep him from doing whatever he wants, although he does sometimes end up upside down from his "daredevil" activity.

Currently, he lives with the adoption team leader, who adopted him to give him a stable home while he continues his rehabilitation. He will continue with his physical therapy, and this year’s plan is to work on turns to teach him a new way for him to make them, and not roll over, as well as continue to build up muscle strength and stamina. It takes a lot of time and effort for his rehabilitation, but he’s willing to try anything.

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