A pet owner was shocked when her turtle nearly died after swallowing a bundle of screws. The Horsfield Sherman tortoise wolfed down the 1cm long stainless steel fittings that were on the floor behind a houseplant. Owner Suzette Jones noticed her beloved pet was losing its appetite and falling ill and rushed him to her local vets who x-rayed him. They were stunned to discover that the 17-year-old turtle had six metal screws lodged in its stomach.
He was anesthetized and vets were forced to remove part of his shell before opening his stomach to retrieve the sharp objects.
Sherman underwent a three-hour operation at Linnaeus’ Sandhole Vets practice in Snodland, Kent, last month and has now made a full recovery.
Health and wellbeing advisor Suzette, 50, from Guildford, Essex, said: ‘I first realized something was wrong with Sherman when he threw up twice which is unusual for turtles.
“When the vets told us the diagnosis after the first scans, the reaction was pure astonishment.
“We just couldn’t think of where the screws came from. We could only guess they were in a flowerpot which he knocked over and was found sitting on top of the dirt and munching.
“After learning that Sherman would need surgery to remove the screws, we were obviously very worried, but we thought we should give him a chance.
“The vets were excellent throughout and gave us good explanations and were clearly interested and concerned about Sherman’s well-being which put our mind at ease.
“Sherman is now back home after his surgery. He was a little grumpy at first as his daily injections of antibiotics were clearly hated.
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“But now that his daily bath has been restored, he has become more active again and interested in living among the plants in the living room.”
Vets first attempted to retrieve the screws by performing an endoscopy which involved passing a camera attached to a thin tube down her throat.
But the screws had traveled too far down Sherman’s intestinal tract, so they were forced to perform the risky operation of removing the screws by hand.
Veterinarian Daniel Calvo Carrasco said: “After monitoring and an attempt to remove the foreign bodies by endoscopy, it was clear that Sherman needed surgery.
“A segment of his shell was removed from his breastplate to perform an exploratory laparotomy and the screws were located in the colon.
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“To reduce the risk of peritonitis due to colonic contents entering the coelomic cavity after incision for removal, the screws were processed into the cloaca to allow them to pass once recovered from anesthesia.
“The shell was then reattached using a form of dental sealant to hold it in place while the shell underneath healed.
“We are happy to report that Sherman is now doing well after the operation and is eating well.”