Viral Diseases - Beware

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Re: Viral Diseases - Beware

Postby Kathy » Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:14 pm

Thanks Steve & Andy.

Is it correct to think that UK Captive bred tortoises are less likely to have the Herpes virus than imported and wild caught torts?
Kathy
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Re: Viral Diseases - Beware

Postby Kathy » Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:34 pm

Sorry, no need to answer that, have found out the answer by re-reading the article :oops:
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Re: Viral Diseases - Beware

Postby Nadine Highfield » Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:44 pm

My question is, if a tortoise can be a carrier and never show any signs of this virus, is there ever a safe time to allow them to live together?


The answer is no. There is always a risk.

We keep all our tortoises here in small groups and maintain strict quarantine between them. Even though we know the history of the animals, and even if they're captive bred from our own tortoises that we've had for twenty years - they are kept in their own group. So, if one tortoise in one of our groups was to become ill, the spread would be contained to that small group. It takes extra time to scrub between them and you need to have more separate enclosures, but it is the safest way to keep a collection of animals.

Some people think the danger isn't real, or that somehow it couldn't happen to them. They're wrong. It can happen to any of us. Even what we would consider "low risk" animals.

I had the very sad experience of losing my iguana to Mycobacterium. I had two adult males, and since they didn't get along I had separated them years before. As soon as they were separated, I maintained strict quarantine between them, as I do with the tortoises and turtles. This was a highly contagious disease, and had I not taken the precautions I had, I could have lost them both.

So, yes, herpes is a real danger and every keeper needs to take it seriously. But it's not just about herpes. There are at least 20 other viral diseases currently known that can affect chelonia, and they can infect many other animals before any symptoms appear. Other diseases that can affect them as well, and the precautions you take can prevent them from spreading to other animals.

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Re: Viral Diseases - Beware

Postby Kathy » Mon Oct 05, 2009 6:28 pm

Thanks Nadine.
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Re: Viral Diseases - Beware

Postby insenceaddict » Tue Oct 06, 2009 6:10 pm

What about cats that go in and out of the tortoise house and garden, can they spread it? i wonder if although being very careful; with feet, shoes, hands etc, can it be carried on the paws of others??
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Re: Viral Diseases - Beware

Postby Tamie Milne » Tue Oct 06, 2009 7:01 pm

insenceaddict wrote:What about cats that go in and out of the tortoise house and garden, can they spread it? i wonder if although being very careful; with feet, shoes, hands etc, can it be carried on the paws of others??
:? Jacqui


Basically, yes.

Also worth noting - think about where you put your bucket of weeds, never place it within an enclosure and then move on to the next one. Think about where the bucket has been! Also, think about whether, having put the food in and you see a tortoise far from the food, you move it closer and then move straight on and feed other tortoises. Think where your hands have been and what they maybe taking to the next group of tortoises ......... it may just be more than food. It may just be the most god awful death sentence.

What I am trying to say is THINK, think basic, dont EVER take a risk, think about what you have touched before even moving an inch from an enclosure and onto the next one.

This may seem basic but following my post in the R & R section I felt it worth mentioning.

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Re: Viral Diseases - Beware

Postby Jonesy » Tue Oct 06, 2009 7:09 pm

AH that's a thought, stop the birds, snails and slugs as well.
It's never ending really is it. There are so many ways that these things can be transferred.
I know of 4 tortoise people in my area so a bird going from one area to another could cause problems.
mmmmmmmmmm so much to consider.
Linda
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Re: Viral Diseases - Beware

Postby Tamie Milne » Tue Oct 06, 2009 7:34 pm

Jonesy wrote:AH that's a thought, stop the birds, snails and slugs as well.
It's never ending really is it. There are so many ways that these things can be transferred.
I know of 4 tortoise people in my area so a bird going from one area to another could cause problems.
mmmmmmmmmm so much to consider.
Linda


Linda

I am not scaremongering; however, there are things beyond a tortoise keepers control and there are things that are well within their control and ARE being forgotten, overlooked - basic barrier control, basic hygiene. Forgetting the 'basics' results on tortoises dying. I am not talking about a random bird, I am talking basics.

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Re: Viral Diseases - Beware

Postby Kathy » Tue Oct 06, 2009 7:55 pm

Tortoise Trust wrote:Correct.

Bear in mind that lab tests for all known/possible viral pathogens do not yet exist.

There is a PCR test for chelonian herpes, however.

Andy

Just for anyone who is wondering about the test - i phoned my Vet today and the Herpes test is £65.00 per tortoise plus a consultation fee. My vet charges £25 for a consultation. So for me personally - this would cost £220 for my three torts. Obviously individual Vetinary Centres prices differ.
I have also phoned DEFRA and gave them my certificate numbers for my two young Iberas and the certs do relate to tortoises bred locally to me here in Kent. The tortoise that I have recently re-homed is 5 years old, is UKCB and has been a lone tortoise. I feel that this makes my little trio relatively low risk after the quarantine period has elapsed. Is that so?
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Re: Viral Diseases - Beware

Postby Jonesy » Tue Oct 06, 2009 9:30 pm

Oh Tamie

I was not in any way saying that you was scaremongering. In Fact I was totally agreeing with you.
I see and speak to soooooooo many people, weekly, who think that this is just being over the top and when you actually start explaining why hygiene etc is so important they either shut off or just take in what they want to hear.

I was just pointing out that this could get very serious if people do not take note and sometimes if you add a little humour, people actually remember it and it sinks in.

Unfortunatley yes there are things that are out of our control. I am farming stock and when foot and mouth rears it's ugly head is it as simple as a bird etc going from an affected farm to another farm. Or visitors bringing in the disease through several different ways. Let's hope that this does not happen with the tortoise community.
Linda 8-)
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