Case: Jelly Bean the Russian Tortoise
On one unfortunate day last month, a Russian tortoise named Jelly Bean was minding her own business when a mischievous dog knocked over her cage and decided that poor Jelly Bean was his new chew toy. When she arrived at Aspenwing later that day, she was completely missing her left front foot and several toes from her right foot. There were small cracks in her shell in several places. After her examination, Dr. Chappell determined that Jelly Bean’s remaining left forearm needed to be amputated. Following surgery, a lengthy rehabilitation protocol would be required to maintain her health. The grim situation resulted in the animal being relinquished to Aspenwing and with the help of Colorado Reptile Humane Society, her rehabilitation began.
Jelly Bean was immediately put on pain medication and antibiotics as we began the preparation for her surgery. Despite her grave injuries, Jelly Bean remained a spunky little tortoise (especially when it was time for her oral medications). Dr. Chappell performed the surgery the following day with spectacular results. Her left forearm was debrided and amputated to the elbow and an esophageal feeding tube was placed in the side of her neck so that food and oral medications could be easily administered during her rehabilitation. The open end of the feeding tube was capped and taped to the top of her shell for easy access.
Jelly Bean recovered from surgery and was back to her spunky self the following morning. With her no longer able to refuse medication by clamping her mouth shut or hiding her head, it could now be easily given through the feeding tube to the great relief to those of us appointed with the task. We began feeding her Oxbow Critical Care through the feeding tube along with her antibiotics. The next day she was dropped off at Colorado Reptile Humane Society, where she would continue her rehabilitation under the care of their dedicated staff and volunteers. We said goodbye to Jelly Bean until she would return for her recheck exam three weeks later.
The staff at Aspenwing anxiously awaited the arrival of Jelly Bean for her recheck exam, with all of us hoping that her rehabilitation was going well. When she arrived, we were pleased to learn she was doing better than ever! With the help of a dedicated volunteer from Colorado Reptile Humane Society, Jelly Bean’s shell was beginning to heal along with the incision from her amputation. She was also eagerly chomping away at her food and no longer needed the feeding tube. Dr. Chappell examined Jelly Bean, removed the feeding tube, and sent her on her way. While she still has a ways to go on her road to complete recovery, Jelly Bean is well on her way to becoming a healthy and adoptable tortoise in the near future!