Turtle Shell Repair after Shell Rot
These pictures were taken during
the repair process of my Trachemys scripta elegans's shell.
The guy (well, actually it's a girl :-)) had an bad shell rot, that caused her tle lost of a marginal and a part of a costal scute. I immediately ran on the Net, looking for information about this disease, and with the info I found, healed her completely. The first part was more complicated than the repair itself. I had to sumministrate her 6mg of gentamicin (a potent Gram-negative antibiotic) intramusculary every 48 hours. She had to stay out of her tank and had soakings in povidone-iodine solution every 24 hours. After a week, when the infection completely disappeared, the repair took place. I'd like to explain why I did it all .. where I live, the veterinarians are able to help cows, horses, even cats and dogs, but if you come there with a sick turtle, or whatever other reptile or amphibian, they just tell you it's really sick, and that a good thing would be getting him asleep. NO! This is absolutely not a good idea, if your animal can be healed!
Anyway, here is how I repaired her.
1. I fixed her on a piece of wood (with a towel on top, so it didn't hurt her), so he could not move away during the repair process (theorically. I had to keep her in place with my hands all the time). I also cleaned the wound and surroundings with ethanole. I also covered her head with another towel - it seems to calm her down a bit.
2. I started applying small pieces of fiberglass on the surroundings of the shell.
3. Here I'm fixing the broken piece of bone with a special acrilic resin they use in dental reconstrucion. Note that I applied it just superficially, so a (occasional) bone growth won't be blocked.
4. Here I started applying pieces of fiberglass, soaked with epoxy resin on the turtle shell.
5. I turned her on her back, so I was able to do the repair even on the inner part of the shell.
6. Here she is, immediately after the repair.
8. One day after the repair. The whiteish area around the repair was caused by the resin. It's already gone away at the time of writing. You may also note that the turtle's nose is damaged. This was caused by a bite of a bigger turtle in the shop where I purchased (well, where I saved) her 7 years ago.
9. My turtle, happily basking on one of the basking areas of her tank. with her new, plastic shell.
Well, that's all for now. If you want any information about my turtle, or turtles in general, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org !