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Clinical approach to the anorexic tortoise
  1. Gidona Goodman

    Gidona Goodman graduated from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Ghent University, Belgium, in 1996. Shortly afterwards, she completed an MSc in wild animal health at the Royal Veterinary College and London Zoo. Following a brief period of wildlife work abroad, she joined a small animal and exotics referral practice in Manchester. Since 1999, she has been a lecturer in exotic animal medicine and surgery at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.


ANOREXIA is one of the most common presenting conditions in tortoises seen in veterinary practice and may be accompanied by other clinical signs. In the first instance, the clinician must distinguish between physiological and behavioural anorexia and whether it is a consequence of disease or inappropriate husbandry. It is difficult to determine whether a case should be considered an emergency or how soon a client should seek advice, as this depends on a number of factors, including the age and demeanour of the patient, concurrent clinical signs and duration of the anorexia. This article describes the clinical approach to the anorexic tortoise, highlighting the common diagnostic tests that can be used to assess the patient. It also provides key pointers for immediate and long-term supportive care of affected animals.

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