Immature Hinged Back - Exotic Animals



December 2012
Dr Gerhard Steenkamp


Dental materials have revolutionized the way we deal with exotic patients, even those that do not have any teeth.  For this month I have decided to show an example of a tortoise where dental acrylic can be used and why it is beneficial.


First case is an immature hinged back tortoise that was driven over by a car.  Due to this the shell (carapace) can fracture, exposing the lungs (thorax) or abdominal cavity underneath it. 

Exotic Animal Tortoise Dental Column December 2012_01 

Conventionally veterinarians used to drill holes into the shell and then insert small screws.  This was then covered with some methylmethacrylate preparation or even steel epoxy.  The downside to this technique is the large holes necessary for the screws (especially in small tortoises), and the severely exothermic reactions from the materials used to cover it. Some of the methylmethacrylate preparations have a curing temperature of 70º centigrade.  The trauma this can do to underlying soft tissue is severe and I prefer not to use them.

Before stabilisation the area is cleaned and fluched.  Taking extreme care not to flood the tortois’ thoracic cavity with the fluids.  Any debri is removed.
The carapace is then stabilized with small dental pins and a very thin orthopaedic wire construct.

Exotic Animal Tortoise Dental Column December 2012_02


After the carapace was stabilized, the whole area is covered with a dental acrylic, which is strong enough to keep the area firm, protect the structure and is no very exothermic.

Exotic Animal Tortoise Dental Column December 2012_03


This big leopard tortoise had a carapace fracture as well and due to its size, stainless steel screws instead of dental pins was used to anchor the construct.

Dental acrylic also allows you to express your innerself, while helping your patients!

Exotic Animal Tortoise Dental Column December 2012_04


All the best till next time!


If you found this page informative and useful, please click on the +1 so that you we can let Google know as well! .. Thank you




   Back to top     |      Print this page   |     Bookmark this page