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New set of wheels: LSU veterinarians help turtle walk again

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BATON ROUGE - LSU veterinarians at the university's Veterinary Teaching Hospital have helped a little turtle become mobile again.

Pedro, an adult male box turtle, was missing one of his back legs when he was adopted. He lost his other back leg after escaping his outdoor enclosure.

According to LSU his owner, Sandra Traylor, brought the turtle to the teaching hospital for help.

“I was impressed by the interest they showed in a box turtle," Taylor said. "Sometimes people have this idea that pets are just cats and dogs. It’s very strange to walk in with a turtle and sit next to a dog, but they were very good about it and they were very nice."

The veterinarians found nothing medically wrong with Pedro.

“The wound had already healed quite well and he managed to get back on his own with his front legs somehow," said Kelly Rockwell, DVM, a zoological medicine intern in the LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital. "Without his back legs, he’s a little less mobile. As a box turtle, he can still ‘box up’ and protect himself that way, but due to his weakened mobility, the owners decided to make him a permanent indoor turtle."

In order to give Pedro more mobility, Rockwell and LSU veterinary student Sarah Mercer used a Lego car kit.

“We had the whole zoo med service and all of the students helping," Rockwell said.  "We had to make the axles long enough to fit his body. We also made it so they could come off to clean Pedro. We had to try a couple of things to fit him. We used epoxy to attach Pedro. The same epoxy that’s used on horseshoes," Rockwell said.

Epoxy and other equipment were also needed to give Pedro his prosthetics.


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