A 55-pound Sulcata tortoise named Sully is recuperating after having a softball-sized stone surgically removed from his bladder at BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital, Tampa Bay, Fla.
Dr. Peter Helmer, who performed the five-hour procedure to remove the stone last Thursday (Feb. 4), said the surgery was successful and Sully is recovering nicely. He was discharged from the hospital on Saturday.
“It went really well,” said Helmer, who is board-certified in avian practice. “I’m always cautiously optimistic and Sully appears to be doing just fine.”
Sully’s bladder stone was discovered after owner Renee Niehaus took him to his primary care veterinarian to treat a nosebleed. An X-ray revealed the stone and the case was referred to Helmer, who has years of advanced training within his specialty.
Operating on a tortoise isn’t easy. Helmer first had to use a special surgical power saw to gently cut a flap in the underside of Sully’s shell in order to reach the bladder. The flap was glued back into place after the surgery using epoxy.