When the patient’s too big for the hospital, you bring the hospital to the patient!

A portable vet treatment area was brought to the Galapagos Tortoise habitat this month to help us find what’s troubling Sierra.

Our 51-year-old tortoise Sierra has been unwell and his animal carers have been doing all they can to determine the cause. 

Last week, our veterinary team performed an echocardiogram, or a heart ultrasound on Sierra to have a closer look at what’s happening under his shell. 

To give the results more context, we enlisted the help of Sierra’s brother Cerro. 

Perth Zoo Veterinarian Rebecca Vaughan-Higgin said: “Sierra has been on a treatment plan for some time now, and we’ve been following his progress very closely. 

“It was very important we obtained baseline results from his brother Cerro; they live in the same environment and eat a similar diet, which means Cerro’s results are useful to have as a comparison. 

“It’s concerning to learn that Sierra has heart disease, but now we can focus on providing him with the specific medical support he needs. 

“Unfortunately, as with many heart issues, he will be unable to make a full recovery, but we are certainly hoping a new treatment plan will provide him with some relief.”

Now, our team are focused on monitoring a new treatment plan for Sierra, using the expertise from veterinary cardiologists and reptile and zoo vets around the globe that have experienced similar health conditions with giant tortoise species. 

 Feel better, Sierra!