NuWestlakes Vet Team Saves Baby Blue Tongue
Being located in the middle of Fennell Bay, surrounded by bush and Lake Macquarie means that we are often faced with Australian Native animals who are in urgent need of our help.
The last Friday of January 2014 was no exception.
Nurse Heidi was met at the door with a small cardboard box and a very concerned local citizen who had found this tiny creature in distress.
Upon opening the box we saw a baby Blue Tongue Lizard, no more than half the length of Nurse Heidi's pen.
The tiny lizard, nicknamed 'Kurt' met Dr Paul. Next, Dr Paul assessed Kurt's injuries and decided on a plan of action. Kurt would need several stitches on his jawline.
Nurse Heidi prepared the theatre.
With any native animal in stress, shock is a big danger they face.
Shock can be brought on by a traumatic experience or severe pain in the animal, it is a last ditch effort by the animal's body to save its life. It can cause the body to shut down as it tries to save itself.
Shock needs to be treated almost immediately and this can be done quickly.
Time for action!
First of all we need to warm the animal, in this case Kurt, in a small dark and quiet place. Kurt was moved to our purpose built safety crate that we use for native animals. This carrier can house a heat mat, a blanket and enough room for Kurt to move from the heat if he likes.
With Nurse Heidi holding and monitoring Kurt's vital, Dr Paul gets to work.
Using small sutures, he closes Kurt's facial wound making sure to keep the ends small so they won't irritate Kurt as he is in the healing process.
Once the procedure is complete, Kurt is quickly put back into his safe box and is covered again to ensure he feels calm and safe after all the hands on work that was his surgery.
Nurse Heidi checks his vital signs every ten minutes for the next hour until we are sure Kurt is out of the woods.
Kurt thanks us by giving a little hiss, eating his lunch and growing big and strong!
Nurse Heidi cared for Kurt while he grew a little more , he was then released into her parents backyard where he still to this day is seen basking in the sun on a rock in the garden.
If you ever encounter an injured lizard or other native reptile, it is best to call the Native Animal Trust Fund hotline: 0418 628 483.
The hotline is manned 24hrs and they can instruct you on which type of reptile you are dealing with. If it safe to pick up and if it injured, they will ask you to take it to a vet.