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Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo, Small Animal Veterinary Surgeon.
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 21942
Experience:  BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
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Hello-my vet says that it will cost 9oo pounds sterling to

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Hello-my vet says that it will cost 9oo pounds sterling to treat my tortoise`s leg abscess. This seems excessive. please advise. thanks, Christine (It is a Testudo Marginata and some 50 years old , but otherwide in good health , eating well etc.
Scott Nimmo :

Welcome, ... My name is ***** ***** I am an experienced small animal veterinary surgeon, I will be very pleased to work with you today and will try my best to answer your question to your satisfaction.

Scott Nimmo :

Did the vet detail what treatment would be needed? I am guessing cleaning out the abscess, packing it with antibiotics, and then antibiotic injections?

JACUSTOMER-m7xk92vi- :

dear ***** Nimmo,

JACUSTOMER-m7xk92vi- :

My husband took the tortoise to the vet. the vet said that it would not stay still enough for local(?!) and that he would have to get a surgeon to excise it. he referred to the cost of the scalpel etc etc. My husband is a retired Gp,; only meaning that we are questioning it all. yes we love this tortoise, who is eating well etc, but has had this abscess for say 6 months--about the size of the centre of a teaspoon, or a bit more. We wondered . C

JACUSTOMER-m7xk92vi- :

Help-i have put a deposit of 13 pounds down. Do i only get one answer from you , in which case I better not ask more. computers!

Scott Nimmo :

No problem I will talk this over with you for as long as it takes ...

Scott Nimmo :

Well the problem you face is that vets in the UK can charge whatever they like, I have treated many tortoises in my time and have never charged a fee of anywhere near 900 UKP even when the tortoises were hospitalised for a time. Please understand I am just speaking for myself.

JACUSTOMER-m7xk92vi- :

So, would you say that surgery, rather than local anaesthetic and packing etc is needed\/ (i was a nurse, so also know a bit about abscesses in humans etc)

JACUSTOMER-m7xk92vi- :

(9 pounds!! Is this out of order?

Scott Nimmo :

The best thing I can do is to give you my list of all the reptile specialist vets in the UK, it has phone numbers etc. You may find one close to you, but it does give you contact with vets who are used to this problem and can advise you properly. Here is the list LINK

Dr Scott Nimmo and other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Christine,

I have changed our chat method, we can talk back and forward here for as long as you like at no further charge.


You know when I was a young vet I was inspired by A J Cronin's book " The Citadel " .

I do not think many young vets these days read this sort of stuff.

{ Your husband will know what I mean }

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

This is most supportive and i will follow your fair, experienced advice. Thank you. One pressing question-my husband and brother and sister in law; the latter, both staying this weekend and Drs too, They wonder if the abscess should simply be left, to maybe be reabsorbed;maybe a cold abscess(?) which is not obstructive etc. they are thinking of humans; respecting the differences..

MM-i think an abscess would drain its immune system and health and should be dealt with. can you please give a view\? Thanks, christine

Hi Christine,

Very glad to talk this over with your further ...

Tortoises being cold blooded have a very low metabolic rate, and this is even lower in cold climes like the UK. This means that healing will take place very slowly and any immune response is very slow too, in the meantime the lesion could well be marching on and causing more local necrosis.

Intervention would always be desirable because of the above reasons. I take your point though with warm blooded creatures such as dogs and cats { And humans! } things could resolve on their own because of the body's response.

To be honest while I have not seen your tortoise these situations ususally just need debriding the affected area and then keeping it clean and applying an antibiotic ointment each day.

Kindest regards,