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Conjoined Indotestudo elongata - Separation
 
July 9 1998 -  I was arranging for separation of the hatchlings by an exotic animal veterinarian  when I arrived home to find that they had twisted and torn the membrane separating them. I immediately determined that one of the hatchlings appeared dehydrated and weak. I did not believe that they would survive a two hour trip with its accompanying stress to the veterinarian so I endeavored to locate a professional in my immediate area. I found none with reptile or egg sac expertise. The only item I lacked was sterile suture. I asked to purchase 12 inches of this from three veterinary clinics and was refused.  One clinic told me that they would do the separation on an emergency basis if I would tell them what to do. At that point I decided to do the separation myself and use dental floss as the suture. 
I soaked the dental floss in a full strength Betadine solution along with the scalpel that I was to use. While this was soaking I cleaned the operating environs with a dilute Betadine solution. I then washed the debris from the hatchlings with Nolvasan Otic solution and swabbed them with a weak Betadine solution.   

 

 I then tied off the stronger of the two hatchlings just past the torn area. I used a weak knot so as not to tear the tissues.  
 
 
This procedure was then repeated with the other hatchling.
 The hatchlings were then separated using the sterilized scalpel. The excess lengths of floss were then trimmed. 
Immediately after separation the cut ends were chemically "cauterized" using a full strength Betadine solution.
The hatchlings, now suddenly mobile, were then put into a wet paper towel lined sweater box and placed half on a heating pad. This then supplied a high humidity area and warmth while allowing them a cooler area to escape to. Total operation time was less than 15 minutes. 
July 10, 1998  The next morning the hatchlings appeared in better shape. The smaller of the two appeared less dehydrated.  
They were soaked in tepid water and both were seen to be drinking heavily. A good sign upon picking them up in the morning was that they both hissed at me. The picture at the left is the second soaking of the day. This soaking was in tepid pedialite. 
As can be seen in this web cam capture the area that was cut has now almost totally been absorbed. This is 24 hours after surgery. The wound is swabbed twice a day with a dilute (the color of tea) Betadine solution  At this point this level of care will be continued for the foreseeable future. 
  


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