Sunday, January 10, 2010

ANOTHER STRING TO MY BOW! (Not for the faint of heart!)

I always say that my job is a rather random series of tasks with the only common link being animals. In my life I have successfully wormed dogs, cats, horses, snakes and, when I lived in Africa, myself. But on Friday I had to worm four EXTREMELY unwilling box turtles. Claire, one of our Box Turtles had been appearing a little below par so I took her to the vet for a check-up and he found a couple of pin-worms in her fecal so he suggested that it would probably be a good idea to worm them all just to be on the safe side. He demonstrated how to do it with Claire and then sent Jamie and I back to the Museum with the wormer for the remaining four turtles. 'Good luck' was his parting shot! Hmmm that can't be good! So how many people does it take to worm a turtle? The answer is three!
First hold the turtle upright so that it stretches it's neck forward.

Then very quickly grasp the turtle round the back of the neck, below the jaw and hang on tight as they try to pull their head into their shell.

Turtles have a very hard beak so this next step looks worse than it actually is.

Insert a metal spatula between the upper and lower mandible and force open the jaws.

Bear in mind that this is called the 'sword swallowing technique' so you have a good idea what is coming!

Very gently slide the syringe all the way down the turtle's throat

Then slowly depress the plunger to administer the medicine

Then slowly and carefully remove the syringe

Hold the turtle upright for a few moments more to avoid them 'loosing' all the medicine and tell them how sorry you are for having to do something so horrid to them!

Take a deep breath and repeat for the remaining turtles! Just another day at the office..........

Photo Credits - Otter


Rambling Woods said...

I can't say as I have done turtles, but rats and cats have been done here...Poor little guy..I didn't know they could get worms, but it makes sense....Michelle

Arija said...

About the same as me givng Millie (cat) her wrm pill. she hates it as well and needs apologosing as well.

the7msn said...

You never can tell when this kind of information will come in handy. Now I know. Thanks!

Martha Z said...

I agree with Arija, it's like giving a pill to a cat. I bet that beak is worse than a cat's sharp teeth.
I enjoyed perusing your blog. You wound up in Chicago but prefer to spend time in nature with just your mate? You sound a bit like me, I can spend over a week in our High Sierra cabin and see only my mate and the folks we pass on the trail.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Except with a cat, you can just squeeze the jaws and they pop open. Looks like a tougher job with a turtle, especially since they have the added trick of being able to slip their head entirely into their shell!

Thanks for sharing how it's done. I found it fascinating. You do a good job at caring for the critters.


Anonymous said...

Well done! Looks like the entire experience went off without a hitch.

Marvin said...

I've gotta admit that until I read this post I'd never even thought above worming a turtle, but it looks like the necessary job was professionally done.

Kathiesbirds said...

At least your job is never boring! You are one brave lady Celeste!

MyMaracas said...

Turtles get worms? Who knew. You're a brave lady!