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"Mandy" - Tortoise with eye injury
Mandy the tortoise

When I first started working as a veterinary surgeon at the age of 21, after 5 years at University, I quickly became accustomed to the fact that most of my clients were older than me.

I always felt a little reassured that at least I had more experience than my patients! It is therefore very enlightening, as my 40th birthday rapidly approaches, that very recently I have been treating a "patient" who is 20 years older than me!

"Mandy" the tortoise, a genuine OAP, was recently presented because a longstanding eye injury had taken a turn for the worse. Excessive granulation tissue from an old injury had started bleeding and been causing some discomfort.

By anaesthetising the eye I was able to cut back the "proud" flesh and send it off for analysis to ensure that it was nothing more ominous like cancer!

I am hopeful that with the introduction of topical antibiotics the eye may settle down and not cause further problems.

Unfortunately, Mandy's slow metabolism and increasing years means the healing and recovery takes a great deal longer than usual. Despite these inherent handicaps, Mandy is a fine example of her age being a measure of "how she feels" as she remains extremely active! I am hoping to attain a similar level of activity when I reach sixty!!

Since the importation of tortoises to the UK was made illegal it has become increasingly rare to come across tortoises of this size and age. Those interested in the care of tortoises should visit the Tortoise Trust website -

Terry Dunne BVMS, Cert SAO, MRCVS

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