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Jasper the Tortoise

Mrs Catherine Thomas — 30/06/2014 20:17

Jasper was brought to see Catherine when he woke up from hibernation last year. He was very lethargic, he wouldn't eat and his owner had noticed bubbling from his nose. When Catherine saw him she knew that he was not well and so advised that he needed to be hospitalised. His owner was extremely worried about him but she entrusted him to Catherine. Catherine took a blood sample from Jasper to obtain further information about how ill he really was. The blood results showed that he was extremely dehydrated, so he was started on fluid therapy via injections of fluids, bathing and tube feeding him a watery food. The bubbling seen from his nostrils indicated the presence of a respiratory infection but we needed to know the extent of the infection. X-rays were taken which showed some consolidation was present in one side of his lungs. This means that he had pneumonia.

A swab was also taken of the discharge coming from his nose so that his treatment could be targeted at the bacteria properly. Jasper had to stay in the practice for several days so that he could receive the correct treatment. Fortunately he started improving day by day.  After a week of being hospitalised he was getting much stronger and his blood results showed that he was much better hydrated. He still wasn't eating by himself and Catherine discussed placing a tube through the side of his neck into his stomach (a pharyngostomy tube) to allow continued feeding until he was upto eating by himself. It was decided that he should go home over the weekend and the decision about the pharyngostomy tube would be made on Monday. Fortunately once back at home in a familiar environment Jasper felt well enough to start eating again. His owners learnt to cope with giving his medications at home (which became increasingly difficult the stronger he got), and he gradually improved and got his voracous appetite back.

Because of the type of bug Jasper had he will never be fully clear of the infection so he has to be monitored carefully and might occasionally have recurrences. Fortunately Jasper has a very dedicated owner who dotes on him and notices any little changes in him. He goes back to see Catherine regularly for check-ups to ensure that he stays healthy. He also no longer hibernates because the blow it would cause to his immune system could give the bacteria a chance to take over again and he might not be able to pull through next time. Catherine gave his owners advice about the kind of heat and light Jasper needs to keep him healthy and awake through the winter, and his owner sorted it all out for him while he was hospitalised at the start of his treatment. He soon got used to only going outside on nice sunny days and staying in the warm under his lamp or stomping around the house on colder days.


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