Very sweet that so many people keep asking after Alfie the tortoise. I figured it would easier to put it here so I can refer everyone on rather than keep typing it out!
So let's try wizz through from the beginning.
April 12th I see this big red balloon hanging out of poor alfies bottom!
So we hurry over to the vets (on a Saturday evening)!! And they say he's got a prolapse. They will shrink it with sugar and put it back and put a purse-string stitch in his bum. When quizzed as to why it happened I get 20 different 'maybes'.
They ring a few hours later and he's out of his op but not coming around very fast. It took a lot of anaesthetic to put him to sleep, which they have to inject in to his muscles and now he's taking a while to come around. Could take up to to 72 hours. Wonderful!
Sunday morning he's ready to come home and he's back to his normal self....
And I'm £500 lighter!
My mum kidnaps him while I'm at work a few times so he can he can have a waddle around her garden in the sunshine.
After ten days he has a check up and it's decided the stitch can't come out yet and I'm to come back in another ten days.
Then on April 30th, he prolapsed again! My vets say that they can do the same thing again or put him down. That's all they can do but if I want to see a tortoise specialist then the section that keeps prolapsing can be removed. This means cutting a square out of his shell to get too it and then sticking her back together again. Apparently tortoises prolapsing is quite a common issue, but it's not one I have ever read about in all my years of owning and researching him...
So we do the same thing again, the mere mention of putting him to sleep had me balling like a massive twat in front of the vet so that's out of the question.
He's only in a few hours and is home the same night. He keeps straining still like he needs to get something out.
The next morning and he's still straining so I call the vet who says it sounds like he is trying to push the prolapse back out and I point out that he hasn't had a poo since a few days after the first surgery so maybe we try some laxatives. She obliged. Good vet :)
I'm feeding him mush and peeling and de-seeding tomatoes incase his bowel is swelled so I don't cause any blockages and he's living on a towel so he doesn't get stuck up with sand as he sits in his food bowel to eat.
He's having daily soaks to keep him hydrated and the straining stops by Saturday but he's not eating so trying to get antibiotics and three lots of laxative in to him three times a day proves difficult. Mammy to the rescue!!
I'm not happy that it's happened twice and its not even been looked into why?! So I make an appointment to see a specialist as soon as the vets open on Tuesday. Yes, May day... What a wanker!
We see the vet Wed afternoon. She's at a bit of a loss because my previous vets haven't said what has prolapsed. If it's a Penis it's easily fixed. If it's bowel or bladder and he needs it resecting then it isn't so easy as it means cutting his shell open to get in.
She suspects Alfie is actually a she although not 100%. Tortoises aren't easy to sex until they reach sexual maturity which is due about now. Obviously if thats that case then it's definitely not her Penis!
She feels she can't make a judgement if she doesn't see it so it's a case of waiting to see if it happens again. He's so small that they wouldn't be able to take enough blood from him. They can't test his faeces as he isn't doing any. So I'm sent away to keep an eye on him. The vet is on holiday Thursday evening til Tuesday so says to keep the stitch in his bum until next week because he may just prolapse again straight away when it's removed. It's very swollen around his rear end so it looks like something may already be pushing against the inside. If he still isn't eating then an Xray will be taken as he's losing weight. I feel better that at least we have a plan of action and its not a case of when it happens again we have to put him down.
Thursday morning he's finally eating again. Scoffing dandelions like its the finest caviar (don't ask me, I ain't a caviar and champagne kind of girl) *shrugs*
When I arrive home from work he's straining so I take a look and he's definitely trying to push something out as the swelling is twice the size and his skin is actually splitting because the stitch his holding his bottom closed. I call the tortoise specialist and catch her just before she leaves for her holidays. She says the stitch needs to come out and if he prolapses again then I'll have to take him to another spacialist at another vet which she gives me the number for (second time now that I'm crying to a vet).
I go to my usual vet who removes the stitch and I make an appointment with the other specialist whilst there.
Before I've even got him home (40 seconds away from the vets) he's pooped out some solid white broken bits. It looks very much like a pebble so my initial thought is a bladder stone. He already has something peeping out of his bum so all I can do is hope he doesn't massively prolapse on the night. I don't sleep. I keep sneaking downstairs for a look.
By this morning he's still the same and we arrive at the vets distressed and anxious, accompanied by last night excretion.
Again this vet thinks he is in fact she. SHE will henceforth be known as Ali. He squeezes at Ali's bum and I see it come out so I'm thinking 'here we are, prolapse number 3'. And he's pulling and picking at it and then it's gone! The bit I could see poking out was actually dead tissue. Nice... I know...
Ali goes for an Xray and there's no sign of anymore stone inside. I ask if it's a bladder stone and he says not and goes on to explain that there's three different parts to the urine and the urates have loitered around and stuck together which formed a mass (sounds very much to me like a bladder stone no?)
Anyway, Ali now has a massive bumhole... He says it will go back but it will take a while. She has antibiotics for a month and the hope is that the stone was causing the straining which is what caused the prolapse and now it's gone, even though she has a gaping arse, there shouldn't be another prolapse. I asked if I've dehydrated her, is that's what's caused it and he reassures me that they can quite easily do it themselves, this doesn't make me feel any better. And doesn't give me any reassurance that I can stop it happening again. We go through how she's looked after, what she eats, how often she bathes and the supplements she has and the lighting and he says that I couldn't be doing anything more. Yet still I feel like a piss poor mummy.
The most pressing question I had DID get answered, which was how do I even know if she's in pain?" Apparently they have a very high pain threshold.
She's lost a lot of weight so if her appetite doesn't pick up then she will need a feeding tube fitted. The vet also wants poo samples for analysis.
As soon we got home she began to tuck into dandelions which I speedily put her off by squirting antibiotics in her mouth.
I woke her when I returned from work and she had a huge portion of tomatoes and dandelions.
She also had a massive piss after her soak and has done a tiny poo.
Living the dream guys, living the dream.
Sorry, that wasn't much of 'wizz through' was it! My bad!