The case of the injured tortoise

Meet Hermann! He’s a 15 year old tortoise that was rescued years ago and is currently having trouble with his back end. One of his hind legs apparently got caught in something as he was wandering around the house recently, so we were questioning if that had anything to do with his symptoms.

We took an x-ray to check for causes such as constipation, stones in his urinary system, and abnormalities in his skeleton. Lo and behold, something was afoot (literally).

Can you see what the arrow is pointing at? Compare it to the opposite leg. . .

There is a break in one of the bones of his right hind leg. The broken ends of bone are not clean and crisp, so we’re not sure if this represents a traumatic fracture that is healing/remodeling or if there is a tumor that is eating away the bone : (

Since the other bone in that part of the injured leg is intact, it’s acting like an internal splint. (This is particularly convenient since putting a splint on a tortoise is very difficult, especially considering that the bandage would need to stay dry, and tortoises soak to hydrate themselves and therefore keep fairly wet.)

We put him on medication for pain and inflammation and will recheck an x-ray in a couple of weeks. If the lesion is worse, we will assume the bone is diseased and that he has a fracture that won’t heal. However, if this was a traumatic injury, the bone should look much improved on his next set of x-rays.

Stay tuned for more on Hermann. . .