File photo: One of a number of types of blue-tongue lizard found in Australia. in 2019. Picture: Justin Kennedy
File photo: One of a number of types of blue-tongue lizard found in Australia. in 2019. Picture: Justin Kennedy

Baby blue-tongues saved after ‘C-section’

A LOUNGE of baby blue-tongues have a chance at life thanks to a Sunshine Coast veterinarian who performed an emergency caesarean on their injured mother.

The 30cm long blue tongue lizard was so badly injured her uterus was hanging outside of her body.

Dr Stephanie Zurek of the Noosa District Animal Hospital in Noosaville, said a member of the public recently brought the large native skink in after it was possibly attacked by her dogs.

"When she brought it in, half of its body was hanging out," she said.

"The lady that found it also found two babies it had already delivered next to her and brought them in as well.

"We then realised there were still live young inside as they were moving."

blue-tongue lizards are the largest members of the skink family and can be recognised by the blue on their tongue.

 

 

Staff at the Noosa District Animal Hospital in Noosaville recently performed an emergency caesarean on a blue-tongue lizard. Six living and one deceased babies were saved. Picture: Noosa District Animal Hospital.
Staff at the Noosa District Animal Hospital in Noosaville recently performed an emergency caesarean on a blue-tongue lizard. Six living and one deceased babies were saved. Picture: Noosa District Animal Hospital.

They give birth to live young and can have up to 20 in one litter.

Dr Zureck, 29, anaesthetised the blue-tongue and performed the reptile equivalent to a caesarean birth, gently removing one dead young lizard and six live ones.

"Once I got patient anaesthetised, it took about 10 minutes to remove the other seven babies," she said.

"We just used a scalpel to incise the sac the babies were living in and then removed them manually.

"One was dead already inside of her, the largest one. It probably died from shock or from the mum undergoing the attack. The other babies just ate it."

Staff at the Noosa District Animal Hospital in Noosaville recently performed an emergency caesarean on a blue-tongue lizard. Six living and one deceased babies were saved. Source: Noosa District Animal Hospital.
Staff at the Noosa District Animal Hospital in Noosaville recently performed an emergency caesarean on a blue-tongue lizard. Six living and one deceased babies were saved. Source: Noosa District Animal Hospital.

 

Staff at the Noosa District Animal Hospital in Noosaville recently performed an emergency caesarean on a blue-tongue lizard. Six living and one deceased babies were saved. Source: Noosa District Animal Hospital.
Staff at the Noosa District Animal Hospital in Noosaville recently performed an emergency caesarean on a blue-tongue lizard. Six living and one deceased babies were saved. Source: Noosa District Animal Hospital.

 

Dr Zureck said the surviving young lizards were healthy and immediately ate their placenta.

She said it was the first time she had ever performed a caesarean on a blue-tongue lizard.

"This is a very specialised field which normally happens in zoo work, not so much in domestic practice," she said.

"It was perfect timing since the babies were ready to be born and were still healthy and alive.

"Thanks to the member of the public that brought the lizard in.

"If she hadn't I think the mummy would have bled out or she would could have gotten an infection and the babies would have also suffered."

The vet said the adult lizard was humanely euthanized and even though the babies are independent from birth, they were released to a wildlife carer.



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