Sunday, September 2, 2012

Releasing Scoot

Remember this cute little fella we found out in our yard and decided to keep as a pet....

Scoot the Turtle
Well he has caused us a bit of trouble lately.  He really didn't mean to cause any harm, but unfortunately he did.

Last Saturday my sweet baby girl Sandy started having diarrhea.  This was really strange for her because her normal is to only go every other day.  Her diarrhea continued on for three days and I began to notice some blood in her stool along with lots of tiny white fluffy chunks.

Monday during the night Sandy began throwing up in bed.  This scared me and I couldn't go back to sleep the rest of the night, so Tuesday morning I decided to go to the clinic as soon as it opened.  Little Miss Sandy was seen quickly and Brazos was a champ keeping himself occupied with a coloring book {his normal behavior at the clinic is to get into as much mischeif as possible}.

The doctor checked her over for dehydration, but she was okay there because I had been stuffing her with Pedialyte and formula.  His initial diagnoses was that she had a virus and it was pass, but he was concerned that it had lasted for three days.  Then he became more concerned when I told him about the blood in her stool.  He ordered a stool sample to be taken to the lab, so we went home and waited for Sandy to do her thing.  Once the sample was ready, we went back to the clinic and dropped it off and waited patiently....for THREE days!  It takes 72 hours to get results back!

I finally called back on Friday at 2:00 because I hadn't heard back from the doctor.  The nurse had told me that her results had come back and that the doctor was planning on calling me after his next appointment.  Well, I knew something had to be up since the doctor wanted to call me personally because usually a nurse just calls to say everything is okay.

When he called back he told us that her sample tested positive for salmonella.  I really wasn't afraid or upset, I was just happy to finally know what was causing her diarrhea.  {I had searched on the internet for what could be causing the white lumpy chunks and found all kinds of things which would have been scarier than salmonella.}

The doctor said that normally medicine isn't given for salmonella, but he wanted to know her condition and I told him that it hadn't improved.  He decided it was best that she be given an antibiotic to help kick out the bacteria.  He also said that the white lumpy chunks were the dead cells from the lining of her intestines, because salmonella attacks your intestines.  {I also think some of the chunks were fat cells from her food that she was unable to digest, which is part of what I found during my internet search.}

She has now been on her antibiotic for three days and her symptoms are improving somewhat.  There is no more blood in her stool, but she is still shooting stuff out the wahzoo.  Occasionally there is still white chunks, but at least it's not with every passing now.  The diaper rash she acquired from the diarrhea has healed and she is as happy as can be.

I had asked the doctor what could have caused the salmonella and he named all the different foods that it could have come from.  Well, Sandy only eats baby food and formula so I didn't think it could have come from any of the foods he listed.  He also said she could have touched the bacteria somewhere and then put her hands in her mouth, because the bacteria has to be ingested, entered through the mouth.

When I got home I pulled out my handy computer to do some research on salmonella.  It said that only 40,000 cases are reported each year, which is a really small number if you think of all the people in the USA.  It also said that it can be severe and potentially fatal in infants, which made me stop that research; otherwise I would be scared out of my wits.

So I researched causes of salmonella instead.  It listed all of the foods the doctor listed.  But a lightbulb went off when it said that most reptiles carry salmonella.  I think the statistics were that 70% of all lizards, 85% of all turtles, and 90% of all snakes have salmonella.  It also specifically listed that small red eared slider hatchlings under four inches in length have salmonella.  This pointed directly at Scoot!

I knew turtles carried salmonella because when I was at Texas A&M a friend of mine wanted a pet turtle.  So we went to the pet store and they wouldn't sell her a turtle unless she had a permit from a university that stated the turtle was for research purposes only.  This law was passed back in 1975 banning pet stores from selling turtles.

Most likely Sandy acquired the salmonella from my hands. :(
I probably fed Scoot and touch his water or him.  The bacteria was on my hands when I made her a bottle to drink.

We called several vets to see if they would test Scoot for salmonella, but they told us that most turtles have salmonella and they knew the test would come back positive.  They also recommended that turtles not be kept in a home with children under the age of five.  So this meant that Scoot had to go.

We debated on if Scoot should just disappear or if Brazos should be part of the process.  I won the debate and decided it should be a teachable moment for Brazos.  He should know that animals thrive best in their natural habitat, and that Scoot was ready for a big pond.

So today we released Scoot into Nana's pond.  We made sure we took all the precautions of washing our hands thoroughly every time Scoot was handled and we made sure Brazos and Sandy DID NOT touch Scoot.  Brazos handled it very well and was excited to watch Scoot jump in the pond.

Scoot in a container Brazos
is unable to open.  Matt even put a
ziptie around it to make sure.

Brazos watching Scoot jump in the pond.

Farewell, Scoot.  It was fun while it lasted.

1 comment:

  1. Poor baby Sandy! Happy to hear you got it figured out... and made it a fun teachable moment for Brazos. Way to go Mommy!


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