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Tube Feeding or Syringe Feeding Tortoise / Turtles

Story By: Jason Abels

Tortoise with Feeding Tube
Tube Feeding or Syringe Feeding Tortoise / Turtles
Tube Feeding / Syringe Feeding Pictures >>
In some cases, it is necessary to Tube Feed (also known as Syringe Feeding or Force Feeding) an Exotic Animal. In this case, one of the Tigerhomes extremely rare female Madagascar Flat Tailed Tortoise (Pyxis planicauda) (Not On Web Cam Yet) required this type of intervention. CLICK HERE TO SEE ANIMAL WEBCAMS

For the last 3 weeks this rare tortoise was showing extreme signs of lethargy, mucous covered eyes and hinting to a possible respiratory disorder. We brought this animal inside to house it in a specialized reptile habitat designed to provide a specific wavelength of light conducive to reptiles as well a graduating heat source that allowed the reptile to thermo regulate its own body temperature. Each day the animal was soaked 2 times for a half an hour and offered food. The animal refused to eat and after 10 days I knew it required veterinary care, plus I really wanted to have her eyes cleaned which required the animal to be sedated. Tortoise sedation or anesthesia can be tricky and the preferred reptile sedation drug for many species is Propofol, which needs to be administered intravenously.

Tortoise Feeding Tube XRAY picture
Tortoise Feeding Tude xray picture
View Large Feeding Tube X-Ray Picture >>
Once the decision for veterinary intervention was made, David and I brought the sick tortoise to visit Dr. Marc Kramer (The Sanctuary’s Primary Veterinarian) at Avian And Exotic Animal Medical Center for treatment. Just for giggles, I asked Dr. Kramer to XRAY the tortoise to rule out the possibility that she was “Egg Bound” or had some type of intestinal impaction most likely a sand impaction. After reviewing the tortoise X-ray, both of these intestinal ailments as well as being Egg Bound were ruled out as the Tortoise Radiograph clearly showed no signs of these issues.

Now we had to deal with fixing the three known tortoise problems facing this endangered tortoise, her lack of appetite, her runny eyes and her possible respiratory disease. Dr. Kramer decided to surgically insert a feeding tube also known as a Esophagostomy Feeding Tube directly in the tortoise's stomach. While the animal was under sedation, Dr. Kramer also cleaned the turtles eyes and gave me some specialized eye drops (Neomycin, Polymyxin B Sulfates, Dexamethasone Ophthalmic Suspension) do administer 3 times daily.

Needless to say, the tortoise surgical procedure went very well as Dr. Kramer is one of the best Exotic Animal Veterinarians out there who specializes in both Exotic Mammals as well as Reptile Medicine. For the next few days, weeks or possibly months, I will have to syringe feed this animal 5 – 10 cc’s of specialize Critical Care (Made by Oxbow Pet Products) formula mixed with fruit baby food one or two times daily. In addition to force feeding nutrients I will also administer a dose of Baytril Antibiotic once a day to help with any respiratory illness or disorders.

David and I both hope you found this story interesting and want to personal invite you to view the numerous Tigerhomes.org World Famous Exotic Animal Web Cams, featuring our Endangered Tigers, African Leopards, African Lions, and multiple species of Madagascar Lemurs. We had Dr. Kramer do a brief Veterinary Write Up on the Esophagostomy Procedure to provide our visitors and fans with a comprehensive description from a medical point of view. We hope you find it educational as well as informative.

Veterinary Write-up on the Esophagostomy Procedure >>

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