Friday 30 September 2016

Tortoise shells out for a wheel

Published 11/06/2015 | 10:41

Touche the tortoise after undergoing surgery to fit a wheel in Bristol (Highcroft Veterinary Hospital/PA)
Touche the tortoise after undergoing surgery to fit a wheel in Bristol (Highcroft Veterinary Hospital/PA)

A tortoise that had to have a leg amputated after an accident is back on its feet after having a wheel fitted.

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Vets had to remove Touche the tortoise's rear left leg after an accident at home in Bristol.

Veterinary surgeon Sonya Miles had the idea of replacing the eight-year-old's leg with a wheel.

During a 90-minute operation at Highcroft Veterinary Hospital in Bristol, she attached the base of a Hotwheels car to the underside of Touche's shell with a special resin.

Within an hour of the surgery, Touche was moving around and eating, seemingly unfazed by his new prosthetic.

Dr Miles said: "We decided to attach the wheel to avoid him traumatising the underside of his shell by dragging his back end.

"It can be taken off in the future if we feel that he has enough strength to hold himself up, but he could be fine with a wheel for the rest of his life.

"He may even need a bigger one fitted at some point as tortoises carry on growing until they are between 10 and 15 years old so he could still double in size."

Touche has now returned to owner Lisa Purnell, who reports that he is "zooming around the garden as if nothing has happened".

Miss Purnell, a mother of one from Withywood, said: "He is doing really well and is happily moving around the garden.

"As he grows he may have to have a bigger wheel fitted or we may be able to take it off completely if he is managing on three legs.

"We won't know for a while but at the moment he is absolutely fine."

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