Egg-Bound Egyptian Tortoise

This story comes from Dr. Jaclyn Bruce at St. Francis Pet Care Center.

tortoise with tube for feedingA young, adult Egyptian tortoise was originally presented to our veterinary office for dystocia, or straining to pass an egg without success. Unfortunately, the owner had seen a small piece of the eggshell protruding from her cloaca, but then the egg recessed and the tortoise continued to strain unsuccessfully.

Prior to arriving at our office, she was treated to no avail with a course of oxytocin at another clinic. On arrival at our office, she was weak, dehydrated, and having periods of active straining. An X-ray revealed the presence of two shelled eggs within the body cavity, one being twice the size of an average egg and, therefore, too large for normal egg laying. Due to the size of the egg, further medical management wouldn’t be helpful, so surgery was recommended and elected.

The egg was too large to remove through the prefemoral opening, so removal of the plastron, or bottom shell, was planned. The surgery went uneventfully, with both eggs being removed. Because we expected the tortoise might not eat on her own after the surgery, a feeding tube was placed in her esophagus. EmerAid Intensive Care Herbivore was used to provide the tortoise with nutrition and calories. Over the course of six weeks, the tortoise slowly recovered and started eating on her own. After several successful feedings, the feeding tube was removed and normal oral self-feeding was maintained. The Emeraid solution allowed us to provide high-quality nutrition during the postoperative recovery period.