Sherman the tortoise was involved in a dramatic case of derring-screw has undergone specialist-led surgery after swallowing a number of household fixings.
Concerns were first raised about Sherman, a 17-year-old male Horsfield tortoise, when his owner Suzette Jones from Guildford noticed his pet had been vomiting.
Initial scans carried out by vet surgeon Colin Clarke from Alder Vets in Guildford, soon pin-pointed the problem – scavenging Sherman had swallowed six screws!
After playing a waiting game and closely monitoring Sherman, unlike the sands of time the screws did not pass.
The ravenous reptile was then referred to Sandhole Vets in Snodland, Kent, to be examined by Daniel Calvo Carrasco, an RCVS specialist in zoo and wildlife medicine and European veterinary specialist in avian medicine and surgery.
At Sandhole, Daniel and Colin performed an endoscopy, which involved passing a camera through the mouth, down the oesophagus and into the stomach to attempt retrieval of the screws, however, they had travelled too far through the intestinal tract.
This left the vets with no other option than to operate on their shell-shocked patient in a bid to finally remove the screws.
Lifting the lid on the operation, Daniel said: “Following monitoring and an attempt to remove the foreign objects via endoscopy, it was clear Sherman required surgical intervention.
“A segment of his shell was removed from his plastron to perform an exploratory laparotomy and the screws were located in the colon.
“To reduce the risk of peritonitis from colon content entering the coelomic cavity following the incision for removal, the screws were milked into the cloaca to allow them to pass once recovered from anaesthesia.
“The shell was then reattached using a form of dental putty to secure it in place while the shell below heals. We are pleased to report Sherman is now doing well post-surgery and eating well.”
A relieved Suzette said she was now keeping a close eye on what wily Sherman finds to munch on. She said: “I first realised something wasn’t right with Sherman when he vomited twice, which is unusual for tortoises.
“When the vets told us the diagnosis following the initial scans as reaction was just one of sheer amazement.
“We just couldn’t think of where the screws had come from. We could only guess that they were in a plant pot which he knocked over and was found sat of top of the earth and munching.
“After then being told Sherman would need an operation to remove the screws, we were obviously very concerned but thought he must be given a chance. The vets were excellent throughout and gave us good explanations and were clearly interested and concerned about Sherman’s welfare, which helped reassure us.
“Sherman’s now back at home following his operation. He was somewhat grumpy at first as his daily antibiotic injections were clearly disliked!
“But now his daily bath has been reinstated he has become more active and interested in life again amongst the living room plants!”