Essentials of Tortoise Medicine and Surgery

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-09-23
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.


Reach for this book whenever a sick or injured tortoise comes into the surgery. Essentials of Tortoise Medicine and Surgery is designed as a concise and practical quick reference for the busy practitioner seeing chelonians as part of their caseload.  Covering everything from species identification to common basic surgery for tortoises and freshwater turtles, the emphasis is on the more common and likely diagnoses.

The first section of the book gives an overview of the basics of tortoise and semi-aquatic/ aquatic freshwater turtle husbandry and keeping, as well as a guide to general investigation and diagnostic techniques open to clinicians. The second section provides a clinical guide based on clinical signs and differential diagnoses.

Based upon the experience of authors who have been practicing with these species for several decades, this book is a useful guide to veterinarians, students, veterinary nurses and technicians new to working with these fascinating creatures.  It will also serve as a useful aide memoire to more experienced clinicians.

Author Biography

John Chitty BVetMed, CertZooMed, CBiol, MSB, MRCVS
John is a director of a small animal and exotics practice in Andover, UK with a 100% avian and exotics caseload. He works with several zoological collections and has lectured and published widely on a variety of avian and exotic species as well as co-editing two avian texts.

Aidan Raftery MVB, CertZooMed, CBiol, MSB, MRCVS
Aidan is currently the clinical director of the Avian and Exotic Animal Clinic in Manchester, UK.  He is a visiting lecturer at the Royal Veterinary College, UK, and has produced many chapters for textbooks on exotic animal medicine and surgery. He is also a regular presenter at conferences and at continuing education events for veterinary surgeons.

Table of Contents

- Species.

Guide to the common species, identification, sexing, environmental needs and dietary needs.

- Practice Needs.

A guide to the requirements (equipment etc) needed to see these species, graded from basis to advanced depending on caseloads.

Nursing care and basic reception triage.


- Basic Techniques.

Handling, clinical and injection techniques, basic therapeutics, critical care, clinical triage, sample taking techniques.

- Anaesthesia, Imaging and Basic Surgery Techniques.

Principles and basics of anaesthesia and surgery, and Imaging (radiography and basic endoscopy, CT, MRI).

- Clinical Pathology.

Haematology, biochemistry, cytology, bacteriology, parasitology, post-mortem techniques, relevant virology. Emphasis will be on tests, their uses / indications, and interpretation, rather than laboratory techniques.

- Presentations/ Conditions.

Brief clinical guides sorted by presenting sign, including differential diagnoses.

o Eye and conjunctival swellings.

o Ocular opacities.

o Ear abscess.

o Beak overgrown.

o Oral infection.

o Nasal discharge.

o Peeling skin.

o Body Swelling (puffiness).

o Swollen limb/extremity.

o Prolapse.

o Fracture.

o Neoplasia.

o Shell fracture/ injury.

o Shell infection.

o Egg binding.

o Anorexia – including post-hibernation.

o Internal parasites.

o External parasites.

o Bite wounds – skin and shell.

o Lethargy.

o Difficulty in breathing – including “open mouth” and “respiratory noise”.

o Euthanasia and confirming death.

- Appendices.


Haematology/ Biochemistry “normals”.

Flow Charts showing clinical approach to some common clinical presentations

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