Forty-five Horsfield’s tortoises (Testudo horsfieldii; syn. Agrionemys horfieldii, Russian tortoise) belonging to different owners had decreased appetite and respiratory issues. Twenty-nine tortoises had epiphora, dyspnea, and white necrotic diphtheroid oral plaques (group G1). Ten of the remaining 16 tortoises had serious dehydration, appetite disorder, and depression (G2). The last 6 tortoises had only decreased appetite and moderate conjunctival discharge (G3). During the physical examination of all 45 tortoises, a cytologic sample and an oral swab for herpesvirus and Mycoplasma agassizii PCR testing were taken. In 20 of 29 specimens from G1, in 8 of 16 from G2, and 0 of 6 from G3, the cytologic exam revealed intranuclear acidophilic inclusion bodies, multinucleate cellular syncytia, and further abnormalities caused by herpesviral infection. Moreover, all 45 tested subjects were found to be positive for testudinid herpesvirus 1; 2 were positive for M. agassizii. This prospective study suggests that Horsfield’s tortoises with such signs would benefit from this screening procedure, given that it was effective in a significant proportion of infected and symptomatic animals, and no negative effects were seen.
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