15 Sep 2014
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Stamford Veterinarians Heal Massive Rare Tortoise [Video]

Cornell University's Veterinary Specialists had the honor of aiding Arizona, a rare Galapagos tortoise, by participating in his CT scan.

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Top veterinarians from the were more than pleased to run a CT scan on Arizona, a 20-year old, 300-pound Galapagos tortoise that was brought to Stamford by his owners to receive a diagnose for his non-functioning hind leg. 
 
The gargantuan tortoise was brought from Westchester County, NY to CUVS's vet hospital at 880 Canal Street in Stamford on Wednesday morning by his owners, a husband and wife team on a 1,000 sq. ft. farm in Pound Ridge, NY.  At least four people were needed to carefully escort Arizona from the parking lot of CUVS to the CT lab at 10:30 a.m. 
 
Arizona was carefully anesthetized for the brief process of scanning his thick legs, and information from the scan was sent to both computers in the CT lab and a tortoise expert in California who will help in diagnosing Arizona. 
 
"The x-ray photographs multiple slices of the leg at different angles. It makes a full picture," top CUVS veterinarian Susan G. Hackner said.  "We've positioned him in the CT in a way that we can best visualize the affected leg and the normal leg." 
 
Even the veterinarians and lab technicians running Arizona's CT were awestruck by the tortoise, treating him like royalty and photographing him as they remained professional and efficient in their work. 
 
Becoming camera shy during the process, Arizona's head often slinked back into its wide shell. 
 
While Arizona's owners choose to remain anonymous, they were very generous with giving information in regards to Arizona, his fellow tortoises in Westchester, NY, and Galapagos tortoises in-general. One of Arizona's owners suggests that if Arizona's CT reveals that his hind leg has become non-functioning or "lame", his treatment may takes years. 
 
"He'll be quarantined, given a high calcium diet, and be restricted from mating. Natural grazing will be important," Arizona's male owner said.

Galapagos tortoises, now considered a "vulnerable" species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, were once considered to be an endangered species due to hunting, natural hazards within their African habitat, and disease. One subspecies of the Galapagos tortoise, the Pinta Island tortoise, is extinct in the wild.

After Arizona receives a diagnosis and veterinarians recommend their own treatments for him, Arizona will be taken to his owner's second property, where they keep even more Galapagos tortoises. 
 
"They're driving him to a farm in Florida next week," Hackner said. 
 
Arizona could be considered both young and small for a Galapagos tortoise, as they can reach ages of up to 150 years and weigh up to 700 pounds, according to Arizona's owners.

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