It is not uncommon for reptiles to be presented with trauma to either the tail or one of the digits of the feet. In most cases they are brought in by their owners after the disease is well established and it is impossible to salvage the traumatized area. This page shows a case in a Leopard Gecko (do you recognize him? His picture is at the entrance to the reptile section).
This is the tail upon presentation to our office. Initially we treated it with antibiotics to save it but the problem progressed and we were worried about infection spreading to the rest of the body.
We perform preanesthetic blood panels in reptiles just like in any species. There is a vein in the tail that gives us the amount of blood we need with minimal trauma to the animal, especially when the tail is infected. In this picture we are taking a blood sample from this vein, even though it might look like we are taking the blood sample from its abdomen.
The amputation goes rapidly because there is minimal blood supply to the tip of the tail due to the infection.
Before we begin the process of suturing the opening we make sure we have removed all of the infected tail and there is adequate blood supply to allow the skin edges to heal.
These stitches will be kept in for 3-4 weeks because reptile skin heals much slower than mammal skin.
Our little friend is waking up from anesthesia. He feels lots better now that the infected tail is gone.
This would have been an ideal surgery to perform with our laser. Click here to learn more about laser surgery and to see pictures of its use.