Shell lesions (wounds, cracks, fractures) are a frequent reason for consultation in turtles. They are mainly due to mower accidents and dog bites. The care to be implemented depends on the extent of the lesions.
It often happens that turtles are injured in the shell, whether turtles living in the wild or in private homes.
The main causes of injuries are:
- mower accidents : turtles can go under the lawn mowers. The owners do not see their turtle in the middle of tall grass and thus fracture the shell of their turtle
- dog bites : watch out for dogs with strong jaws which can cause significant damage
- road accidents: common cause for wild turtles
- the falls
The severity of the lesions is very variable. The veterinarian assesses during the consultation the importance of the lesions in order to inform the owner about the prognosis, the care to be implemented, etc. You should be aware that healing takes a long time in turtles and this can result in important care and a substantial cost. An x-ray is often useful for a better assessment of the lesions.
First, it can be superficial wounds or minor cracks with a good prognosis. This is the case, for example, with dog bites that simply “eat away” at the surface. No surgery is necessary. Wound care and, if necessary, medication generally allow good healing.
Open fractures with damage to internal organs, vertebral lesions, etc. are of poor prognosis. Most often, a resin is placed during fractures in turtles. This method has the disadvantage that the wound cannot be controlled for a long time. There are therefore risks of complications (wound infection or even sepsis). There are alternatives: placement of external fixations under general anesthesia that leave the wound accessible. Care is also implemented by the veterinarian: rehydration of the turtle (baths or infusion), drugs (painkillers and antibiotics), placement of a probe if necessary to feed the turtle …