We are (very!) glad to report that things are starting to look hopeful for August...and that he is gathering quite a fan base! His declining health prompted us to seek further specialist care. Funded by generous donations for that purpose, August traveled to Ocean State Veterinary Specialists on Friday to see exotics specialist Dr. Cyndi Brown and her team. After an extensive exam, a new drug regimen was prescribed and blood was drawn for further tests. Initial findings were that August is severely anemic and deficient in a number of areas. With his new drugs and an specialized feeding plan in place, things are looking up for our ailing chelonian. He is now eating very well (his new favorite treat is strawberries), and is thriving under the watchful eye of his buddy Bula.
Sadly, exotic species like tortoises are readily available in specialty pet shops, but the correct information required for their care is much harder to come by. Many well-meaning keepers end up with malnourished, ill and sometimes disfigured pets -if they survive at all -due to the abundance of poor information out there. One thing that has become clear is that the majority of August's problems stem not just from being abandoned in an unfamiliar environment, but also from a life-long lack of adequate care. In caring for August, we have utilized such resources as The Tortoise Trust forum and online library, consultations with Red Foot Tortoise keepers from Ross University and discussions with multiple veterinary experts in the area... and we suggest that any aspiring reptile keeper do the same. We hope that August and his story will encourage people to think twice before acquiring an exotic pet!
August sure has a long road ahead, but his future is looking pretty good thanks to a generous and caring team of people. We have some short back yard outings planned to catch some rays once the weather improves (besides being fun, sunlight is very important for reptile development). Please check back regularly to hear more about August and his adventures!