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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 10861
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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my tortoise has a hole in her back leg and theres a smell

Customer Question

my tortoise has a hole in her back leg and theres a smell
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 years ago.

Hello Harriet, I'm Dr. Deb.
I recently came online and see that your question about Willamena hasn't been answered. I'm sorry that you've had to wait for a response but if you still need assistance, I'd like to help if I can.

Do you think you could post a picture of her leg?
It's not always the easiest thing to do on this site but you can try:

1. Click on the tree icon in the toolbar, browse your computer and select the picture.
2. OR, post them on an independent website such as Photobucket (LINK) and send me the URL link.

There may be a delay after I receive your answers since I have to type up a response to you and I may be offline at the time you respond. But I'll get back to you as soon as I can since I'm on the computer some part of every day.

Thanks for your patience. Deb


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

thanks for your response but i think i need a through answer to my question

Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 years ago.

I requested a photo since it might help me narrow down the list of possible explanations for this problem. But even without one, I can tell you what the possiblities are and one possible way to treat her at home.

1. Cuterebra which is the larval form of a fly. Although this LINK discusses this problem for primarily other mammals, they can affect tortoises as well.For just about any other critter, these larvae will eventually fall out but since a tortoise's skin is so thick, this is not likely to happen.
Removal will need to be done by a reptile vet, unfortunately.

2. Trauma of some sort possibly inflicted by another animal especially if she's outside. If the wound has become infected, then topical treatment may be sufficient for it to heal; otherwise, a reptile vet might need to debride the area and treat her with antibiotics.
Topical treatment consists of cleaning with very dilute betadine or iodine and water (to the color of weak tea) twice a day. Let the area dry and then apply any over the counter topical antibiotic ointment or cream such as you would use on a would for yourself.
I wouldn't bandage the area but leave it open to dry.

3. Insect bite from spiders or scorpions (if they're present where you live).
I would treat as above in terms of cleaning.

4. Body parts can swell secondary to kidney issues but this sounds more like an open wound and thus wouldn't be related.

If you need to have her seen by a reptile vet and don't know where to find one, this LINK and this LINK should help.

I hope this helps; again, my apologies for the delayed response to you. Deb