X-ray of softball-sized bladder stone in tortoise.
BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital in Tampa was quick to help those who aren't so fast it seems. A 55-pound Sulcata tortoise named Sully had a softball-sized stone surgically removed from his bladder.
Sully’s bladder stone was discovered after owner Renee Niehaus took him to his primary care veterinarian to treat a nosebleed. An X-ray revealed the stone and the case was referred to Helmer, who has years of advanced training within his specialty.
“Tortoises hide their diseases really well,” Helmer added.
Operating on a tortoise isn’t easy. Helmer first had to use a special surgical power saw to gently cut a flap in the underside of Sully’s shell in order to reach the bladder. The flap was glued back into place after the surgery using epoxy.
Dr. Peter Helmer, who performed the five-hour procedure to remove the stone, said the surgery was successful and that it was hard to say why Sully developed the bladder stone. While it’s not common for Sulcata tortoises to develop these stones, it’s also not unheard of.
Sulcata tortoises originally come from north central Africa but are becoming increasingly common as pets in the U.S. because of their ability to adapt to different climates.
Sully, who is 6 years old, was puton pain medication and antibiotics to ward off any possible infections.
No information was given on if the patient moved much during the x-ray proceedure, but the clarity of the x-ray helped this tortoise to a fast recovery.
ABOVE: An X-ray showing the stone inside a tortoise bladder (BluePearl Veterinary Partners photo).
ABOVE: The stone removed from a tortoise named Sully's bladder (BluePearl Veterinary Partners photo).
ABOVE: Sully (BluePearl Veterinary Partners photo).