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Speed Bump

Speed Bump

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

Speed Bump came to us from the East Valley Shelter in September of 2015, where he’d been turned in as a stray, and had a cracked and bleeding shell. It turned out that his caretaker had backed into him in the driveway, and turned him in to the shelter instead of taking him to the vet.

He was treated at the emergency hospital, and the shell repaired with a fiberglass and epoxy patch. He was unable to move his rear legs or move under his own power. We didn’t know if he had neurological damage or if any internal organs were affected. He was also bleeding from over his right rear leg. A hole where the skin and shell met was sutured. Since Reaper didn’t need it any more, a couple of days later, we put Speed Bump on the skateboard to see if he was able to use it. He was a much shorter tortoise than Reaper in stature and had a shorter "wheelbase." Fortunately, Speed Bump's front legs worked fine, and he pulled himself around with no problem. He did not want his back legs moved for "range of motion" exercises, and touching his feet made him pull them up. Then gravity would take hold and his legs would hang back down. Repeating the touching, and allowing the legs to drop naturally allowed him to get some range of movement without having to physically manipulate the legs. About a month and a half after the accident, he started moving his legs while on the skateboard in a motion as if he were walking. A month after that, he was able to extend his legs to the ground, and "walk." He got stronger, but due to the injuries, plus his not urinating and defecating, he was not allowed to hibernate. For almost 2 ½ years, he continued to make progress, although he was not able to urinate other than twice in that time period, a problem in and of itself. He did start to defecate, but not on a regular schedule like a normal tortoise. His appetite fluctuated, but he did start to graze on his own about 8 months after he came to us. Throughout the time he was with us, he had a great attitude, and appeared to be doing well, aside from the elimination issues. Neurological injuries can sometimes resolve themselves, but take a very long time, if they are going to heal.

New Year’s Eve 2017, he developed a difficulty in breathing. Was rushed to emergency, and treated by draining fluid from his body cavity. His breathing improved, and he was released to go home. He had an appointment to see his own vet, the aspirated fluid was sent to the lab, and blood was taken for analysis. The blood test revealed some bad news. His blood protein was at basement levels, and the fluid that had been aspirated appeared to come from his bladder, and not the body cavity as originally thought. His appetite dropped off, making it difficult to get food with more protein into him to try to raise the blood protein levels. He would still walk around when outside and graze when he was hungry. As he wasn’t defecating as often as a normal tortoise, tube feeding could backfire and he’d become blocked. He had 3 more "attacks," and after the last one, in April, it was determined that he had some kind of issue for which there was no cure. The low protein levels in his blood meant that fluids were leaking from the vessels, and regardless of where it collected, was putting pressure on the lungs. There was nothing we could do at this point, and the attacks were increasing in frequency. Although it was an extremely difficult decision, it was kinder to let him go. The low blood protein, and resulting fluid loss from the vessels created hypovolemic shock. A necropsy additionally showed that his heart was very small and thin-walled, so he likely had that condition from birth. Some tortoises can truly touch your heart in a way you don’t expect, which makes the failure of their treatment even more difficult to accept. We miss him, and are sorry we couldn’t solve his problems, but he brought a lot of joy for the time he was with us.

Speed Bump

Speed Bump

Speed Bump

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

Speed Bump came to us from the East Valley Shelter in September of 2015, where he’d been turned in as a stray, and had a cracked and bleeding shell. It turned out that his caretaker had backed into him in the driveway, and turned him in to the shelter instead of taking him to the vet.

He was treated at the emergency hospital, and the shell repaired with a fiberglass and epoxy patch. He was unable to move his rear legs or move under his own power. We didn’t know if he had neurological damage or if any internal organs were affected. He was also bleeding from over his right rear leg. A hole where the skin and shell met was sutured. Since Reaper didn’t need it any more, a couple of days later, we put Speed Bump on the skateboard to see if he was able to use it. He was a much shorter tortoise than Reaper in stature and had a shorter "wheelbase." Fortunately, Speed Bump's front legs worked fine, and he pulled himself around with no problem. He did not want his back legs moved for "range of motion" exercises, and touching his feet made him pull them up. Then gravity would take hold and his legs would hang back down. Repeating the touching, and allowing the legs to drop naturally allowed him to get some range of movement without having to physically manipulate the legs. About a month and a half after the accident, he started moving his legs while on the skateboard in a motion as if he were walking. A month after that, he was able to extend his legs to the ground, and "walk." He got stronger, but due to the injuries, plus his not urinating and defecating, he was not allowed to hibernate. For almost 2 ½ years, he continued to make progress, although he was not able to urinate other than twice in that time period, a problem in and of itself. He did start to defecate, but not on a regular schedule like a normal tortoise. His appetite fluctuated, but he did start to graze on his own about 8 months after he came to us. Throughout the time he was with us, he had a great attitude, and appeared to be doing well, aside from the elimination issues. Neurological injuries can sometimes resolve themselves, but take a very long time, if they are going to heal.

New Year’s Eve 2017, he developed a difficulty in breathing. Was rushed to emergency, and treated by draining fluid from his body cavity. His breathing improved, and he was released to go home. He had an appointment to see his own vet, the aspirated fluid was sent to the lab, and blood was taken for analysis. The blood test revealed some bad news. His blood protein was at basement levels, and the fluid that had been aspirated appeared to come from his bladder, and not the body cavity as originally thought. His appetite dropped off, making it difficult to get food with more protein into him to try to raise the blood protein levels. He would still walk around when outside and graze when he was hungry. As he wasn’t defecating as often as a normal tortoise, tube feeding could backfire and he’d become blocked. He had 3 more "attacks," and after the last one, in April, it was determined that he had some kind of issue for which there was no cure. The low protein levels in his blood meant that fluids were leaking from the vessels, and regardless of where it collected, was putting pressure on the lungs. There was nothing we could do at this point, and the attacks were increasing in frequency. Although it was an extremely difficult decision, it was kinder to let him go. The low blood protein, and resulting fluid loss from the vessels created hypovolemic shock. A necropsy additionally showed that his heart was very small and thin-walled, so he likely had that condition from birth. Some tortoises can truly touch your heart in a way you don’t expect, which makes the failure of their treatment even more difficult to accept. We miss him, and are sorry we couldn’t solve his problems, but he brought a lot of joy for the time he was with us.

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