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Conjoined Indotestudo elongata - Care

July 11 - 24,  1998 -  The daily care of the now separated hatchlings was altered somewhat based on advice from various friends and experts from around the globe. The damp paper towels were replaced with dry paper towels. The soakings were increased from twice a day to three times a day with the middle soaking being Pedialite and the other two water. The swabbing of the wound with a weak Betadine solution was reduced from twice a day to just one time, after the morning soak.  Food in the form of chopped dandelion leaves and various fresh fruits were offered on a twice daily basis.

There was some concern as to how to approach the problem of the dental floss. It was assumed that it would not dissolve a suture would. Various veterinarians and rehabilitation experts were queried as to how to approach this problem as it was already apparent that the tie was pulling back in towards the shell. It was decided that after the tied off portion had completely dried out that it would be surgically removed along with any dead tissue. 

July 12, 1998:  Daily soakings continue three times a day and the ties continue to appear to be drying out and receding.  The hatchlings were weighed and measured today. The larger measured 40 mm and 16.28 gms. The smaller measured 37 mm and 14.34 gms. This is in contrast to the average length and weight of earlier elongata hatchlings of 54 mm and 30 gms.   Today was the first food taken by the hatchlings as the larger ate some peach flesh and chopped dandelion.  
 July 14, 1998: Both hatchlings are eating well, there has been no sign of elimination. Thankfully I have a normal hatchling born a day after the conjoined ones that I can use as a control. As of yet the normal hatchling has neither eaten or eliminated.  I feel elimination to be a key to health as there is concern as to the damage done to the digestive system by the separation and tying off of the hatchlings.  
July 17, 1998: This morning as I was swabbing the plastrons of the hatchlings with weak Betadine solution the tie of the larger one broke off along with the dead tissue. There was a minimal amount of blood and there appeared to be no discomfort experienced by the hatchling. 
 July 20, 1998:  The tie on the smaller of the two hatchlings fell off during the swabbing process. Again there was little blood and the hatchling appeared to suffer no discomfort. All hatchlings are now eating well. 
July 23 1998, A joyous sight only a tortoise lover could understand. After soaking this evening both hatchlings defecated.   At this point the soakings will be reduced to twice a day with water for the foreseeable future. 

Size and weight of hatchlings is 44 mm and 19.85 gms for the larger and 41 mm and 19.32 gms for the smaller. 

July 24, 1998: In the event that this ever happens again the following things will be done differently based on the learning's of this experience. 

1.  Sterile absorbable suture will be kept on hand. 

2.  The hatchlings will not be placed on wet or dampened paper towels. It is felt that the threat of infection is too great in this instance. 


3.  A topical anesthetic will be kept on hand to use during the separation and in the breaking off of the tied area. Most likely I would use  Lidocaine for this and any other potentially painful procedure. 

I would like to thank everyone throughout the internet community that offered advice and support during this crises. Without your help this achievement would not have been possible.

Return to Part I - Conjoined Indotestudo elongata

Return to Part II - Conjoined Indotestudo elongata- Separation

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