Thursday, June 5, 2008

New Boxes For Turtles

Mr. Vincenzo got to the vet today and she was able to squeeze him in between appointments. We found out several things:
1. He has a calcium deficiency.
2. He has a vitamin A deficiency.
3. He does indeed have conjunctivitis.
4. It's possible he could regain the use of his hind legs, but not altogether likely.
So, as far as the second and third problems, I get to dose Mr. Vincenzo with antibiotics and cod liver oil. This becomes an amusing proposition because turtles aren't known to be cooperative creatures under even the best circumstances; they tend to clamp their mouths shut and refuse to open them unless they're good and mad, and then they hiss and glare. How, then does one administer oral doses of anything to an irate turtle?
The vet gave us a little vial of antibiotics and a syringe with a blunt needle, so I get to put on rubber gloves and wait for Vincenzo to open his mouth. The first time I tried to dose him with antibiotics, he refused to open his mouth; I had to stick the needle under the end of his beak and wait for him to hiss. It worked, so I'm happy. Vincenzo is furious, though, and has been sulking since I put him back in his box. I'll have to do this with cod liver oil, too, to get his vitamin A deficiency under control.
Speaking of boxes, he's now got a new, bigger box lined with shredded coconut fiber. We also went to PetCo and got him a basking lamp so he can stay warm at night and a cuttlebone to help with his calcium deficiency. I put him back in the box after his dose of meds and he promptly overturned his food dish and buried the egg, strawberry, and broccoli in the coconut fiber (see picture). So far he seems happy in his new house, even if he's sulking about his experience with the antibiotics.
The vet said that, in the long term, if he doesn't get the use of his legs back, maybe we could get someone to make a little set of wheels for him using something small like matchbox cars--that way he won't tip over, which would be bad for him.

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