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Anna, Teacher, writer, biologist
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I took my female tortoise to thje vet for a pre-hibernation

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I took my female tortoise to thje vet for a pre-hibernation check up. She has put on a little weight since last year and has had regular baths, but has not eaten anything for over a week. The Vet has taken a blood test and has suggested that she may need a hysterectomy. I will get the results tomorrow - is this common? Can I get a second opinion?

I apologize that no one has responded to your question sooner. Different experts come online at various times. I just came online and saw your question. My name is ***** ***** I’m a biologist with a special interest in reptiles. I'm sorry to hear of Tommy's problem.

Reproductive problems are common in female tortoises that have never been bred. Symptoms can include appetite loss and weight gain. One common problem is egg retention. Females will produce eggs, whether a male is present or not. The eggs are, of course, infertile, but if she is unable to lay the eggs they can put pressure on internal organs, and make the turtle look pudgy. Eggs can usually be seen with a radiograph.

Another problem is follicular stasis. I think this is what your vet suspects. This is a serious malfunction of the ovaries, and their removal is the treatment of choice. Signs of this show up in blood tests. They include low numbers of white blood cells, high levels of proteins, high calcium, high cholesterol, and certain enzymes. This condition eventually results in liver damage.Once your vet gets all the results, you'll both be in a better position to know if this is the problem. I suggest that you read the following article so you'll be able to discuss the situation:

The article covers surgical risks and how to minimize them, too.

The short answer to your question is that this not the latest thing, but rather, a common female tortoise problem. If you have more questions, let me know in a REPLY. For now, just wait for the complete test results. I hope that Tommy will do well no matter what is found.


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