Fixing a Fractured Turtle | Dr. T, Lone Star Vet


Maybe I’m wary, but
I’m really pretty I’m excited to drill some holes
into the turtle shell. Bzz! Bzz, bzz, bzz. Sam is a red-eared
slider who came in first thing this morning. Hold on, big girl. LAUREN THIELEN:
Because last night she took a tumble
out of her tank and got a pretty nasty
fracture on her shell. NARRATOR: A cracked shell is
a common injury in the wild, but not so much for
pet turtles like Sam. It was very scary
when we found her. We went to see her aquarium,
it was like a crime scene. The turtle was missing. There was kind of
blood on the ground. We followed the trail around the
house, which was really scary. We found Sam in a corner. Really freaked out, put her
in a bucket and drove on here. Hi, sweetheart! OK. Sorry, I forgot
you were actually a turtle that could bite me. Her fracture’s pretty severe. It runs all the
way along the side, and then does go on to her
bottom scutes right there. So I just want to get everything
cleaned up first really well. The shell’s really, really– it’s bone. That’s one of the reasons why I
really need to fix it for her, because whenever she
moves or tries to glide, it’s going to shift, and it’s
going to be a source of pain. But the main reason is
well, she’s a water turtle, and she really needs to
get back in the water as soon as possible. NARRATOR: For red-eared sliders,
home is where the water is. And Sam could spend
up to 40 years in her home sweet turtle tank. Sam is really old now. She is 25 years. It has turned into a real
family emergency the last 24 hours to make sure she’s OK. She’s been around so long. Yeah, she’s definitely
part of the family. LAUREN THIELEN: I’m going to
have Tanya hold the turtle. You’re going to push the
edges together while I try to do the pilot hole. You can’t do it
too soft, but you don’t want to do it too hard. It looks a little
unconventional. But I’m actually
going to take screws and put them into her shell. Is she reacting
at all to that? Nope. (WHISPERING) That’s amazing. NARRATOR: The drill won’t
leave Sam shell-shocked. Dr. T is only placing
screws in the outer shell, which is made of
keratin, the same protein in human fingernails. OK, so now let’s
take a screwdriver. That is in there, man. And then I’ll put one
more here, and then you’ll push it together. OK. I can take some wire and
connect the tissues together to make a nice tight seal,
so that time will eventually take over and heal the shell. Actually, that
worked pretty well. OK. So let’s do the top. NARRATOR: Turtle shells are a
marvel of form and function. About 60 bones fuse together
to make Sam’s shell, which house and protect her organs. OK. I’m sorry. I’m real sorry. OK, we probably need a
couple on the bottom, but I’m afraid it’s going
to get caught on things. Because remember, this is
going to be on this animal for like, six months. NARRATOR: Dr. Bruce Nixon
is no stranger to shell repair and restoration. Hey! What are you all doing
with a little turtle? We’re trying to
fix our turtle. Y’all fix this all
the time, don’t you? Yeah. What would you do for
the bottom of that shell? I mean, I’ll put
screws underneath it. And then I was going to put
the two-part plumber epoxy to kind of build up around it. This? You want to put something
across the plastron here? LAUREN THIELEN: Well, I need
to do something in there. You think it’s opposed enough? I think it’s lovely opposed. Oh! You wouldn’t do anything
to the bottom of the shell? I would not. That’s lovely. Let me see it. Let me see the lovely. The lovely. ERIC: Look at it,
it’s like perfect! LAUREN THIELEN: Thanks! He’ll heal wonderfully. Thank you so much. All right, Sam, you
did a very good job. Thank you so much. I don’t think anyone’s
going to make fun of her. She looks cute, don’t worry. NARRATOR: Sam is a tough-looking
terrapin with her new hardware. Even though her shell won’t
fully heal for a few months, she’ll form a waterproof
scar in just a week. Let’s go home, Samantha. ERIC: Hello! Hey! She did great. She doesn’t look so
bionic, just a little bit. It was kind of crazy seeing
her with screws and stuff. Kind of bad-ass. (LAUGHING) That’s right. But looks like she’s
going to be fine. For the next 10
days, she actually can’t go back in the water.
– Yep. And this sounds
a little weird, but I want you to just
like, take the whole front half of her and just
stick her in the water for like, 30 seconds. Because remember,
she’s a water turtle, so she’s used to being
hydrated all the time. I want you to come
back in a week-ish, and then I’ll
inspect everything. OK. We’re just going to watch
her for the next few days, and see if she’s OK. Bye, Sam. I’ll see you later, girlfriend. – Thank you.
– Thanks. [interposing voices] Bye.

22 thoughts on “Fixing a Fractured Turtle | Dr. T, Lone Star Vet

  1. I use to thing that the turtle shell will not break down in any way of it fall from so hight. Thanks to the peopleโ€™s who know how to fix and help the turtle

  2. we had somewhat of a pet tortoise when I was a kid it lived in our farm field. well one day we found him on the road must have been hit by a car or something his shell was cracked and indented. we did the exact same thing to him in our garage but we also used a small pry bar on the screws to realign the shell. we built a pin for him in the back yard until he was healed. ever since then, he would never leave the back yard after being released. he would always come to the porch for food. we sold the property and the new owners are taking care of him as they liked him to last I heard he is still alive 14+ years later.

  3. A cracked shell is a common injury in the wild, but not so much for pet turtles like Sam. What are your thoughts on her visit with Dr. T?

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