3yr old leopard tortoise severe intestinal gas/constipation. Please help!

dzzxmm1919

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Hello tortoise lovers. This is my first post about my 3 years old leopard tortoise, Strong.

My husband has already posted her basic information on another thread: https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/help-my-3yr-old-leopard-tortoise-lost-appetite.197149/

We took her to a vet immediately when we noticed her abnormal behavior on 3/24. Here is her X-ray photo 130ED576 FC93 4485 8158 B2E3E3382DA6

The doctor said she is suffering from severe intestinal gas, but did not notice any foreign matters in her stomach. She has received 5 injections included vitamin A C D B12, and a pain relief called meloxicam (each injection on four limbs and one under her neck). The doctor also suggested she might need to be hospitalized to accept esophagus insert under sedation. We thought it was so cruel so we decided to take her home and provide her intensive care.

She was prescribed two oral medicine, meloxicam and metronidazole. I was trying to syringe some metronidazole jelly into her mouth, however, she was not cooperate.
We have setup an ICU tent for her to rest, with mercury vapor bulb, ceramic heater, and a heating pad. Ambient temp is 29. 5-31C (85-88F). Our biggest concern is the humidity is below 30%, no matter how we try to increase it.

We soak her in warm water with electrolyte everyday for more than 1 hour. However, she is too lethargic to open her eyes, eat, or move around. I could not give her oral medicine neither.

Do we need to bring her back to the vet, or there is any gentle approach I can tube feed her those medicine?

Thank you for reading this post. Any reply is appreciated! Thank you so much! @Tom @Yvonne G @ZEROPILOT

Bonnie
 

dzzxmm1919

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I took Yvonne's advice to soak her by carrot juicy for three days, so far there's no obvious improvement.
I also tried to drop some mineral oil into her cloaca yesterday 3/27, and today I found some yellow mucus on the pad where she is resting, and I guess it might be intestinal mucosa?
I'm so afraid if I cannot give her oral medicine, she is keeping declining and I will lose her some day: ( Please let me know what I need to do to save her. Thank you so much for your time and response!
 

MenagerieGrl

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Well, I doubt the vitamin A C D B12, injections were needed. I agree with Yvonne. I would think The soaks should help with the gas, allowing water/carrot juice to enter the GI Tract from front & back and help purge the gas. Did the Vet give any explanation as to how or why the gas is building up? How long has it been since she last ate?
I would also remove the MVB, I believe they have a tendency to dry out the shell's
If Things are NOT getting better, the Vet may be the only option.
As far as the humidity, I add a couple of quarts of water a week to the Orchid Bark substrate for my leopard, and the enclosure needs to closed up good to keep humidity up.
 

wellington

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Be sure the warm soaks are in a large area like the tub and try to keep her legs moving.
I would do this twice a day and do at least one more soak with the carrot and piediyte.
Be sure her enclosure temps do not go below 85 and has a basking of 95-100.
The vitamin A shot usually is not recommended for torts.
All the shots may be making her more lethargic.
I have also found running the water from the faucet on their private area will help them poop. Try this and see if it will help her pass anything.
Good luck and keep us posted.
 

Yvonne G

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Just a note of expl anation about the carrot soaks:

You soak in 50/50 strained carrots/warm water when a tortoise has swollen shut eyes (because he's not eating). The swollen eyes means vitamin A difficiency. It wouldn't help your tortoise's problem. He 's not eating because the bloating is making him feel full, not hungry.

Because the vet has given the vitamin injection, watch for raw spots on his skin (a vitamin A overdose).

One cause for the gas build up MIGHT be not enough exercise. Tortoises, like horses, need exercise to keep their digestive tract working efficiently. Living in too small an area contributes to this.
 

Yvonne G

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I just read your other thread. Let's hope the tortoise isn't impacted with strings from the weed barrier material. That sort of thing doesn't show up on X-ray.
 

dzzxmm1919

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Well, I doubt the vitamin A C D B12, injections were needed. I agree with Yvonne. I would think The soaks should help with the gas, allowing water/carrot juice to enter the GI Tract from front & back and help purge the gas. Did the Vet give any explanation as to how or why the gas is building up? How long has it been since she last ate?
I would also remove the MVB, I believe they have a tendency to dry out the shell's
If Things are NOT getting better, the Vet may be the only option.
As far as the humidity, I add a couple of quarts of water a week to the Orchid Bark substrate for my leopard, and the enclosure needs to closed up good to keep humidity up.
Thank you for your reply! The intestinal gas is probably caused by dysbacteriosis. Another issue is her enclosure is not large enough for her size, we decide to build a new one recently but seems like is too late.
We have added three more clay saucers of soaked coconut cior to increase humidity, and we will replace the mercury bulb to other types of basking light.
 

dzzxmm1919

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Be sure the warm soaks are in a large area like the tub and try to keep her legs moving.
I would do this twice a day and do at least one more soak with the carrot and piediyte.
Be sure her enclosure temps do not go below 85 and has a basking of 95-100.
The vitamin A shot usually is not recommended for torts.
All the shots may be making her more lethargic.
I have also found running the water from the faucet on their private area will help them poop. Try this and see if it will help her pass anything.
Good luck and keep us posted.
Thank you for your reply! My husband soaks her twice these days for almost two hours, hope it can help her keep hydrated. We have a jar of zoomed electrolyte, add about 1/3 teaspoon to her bathe water. Does the electrolyte work the same as pedialyte you mentioned?
Me too worried about those injections she received on the other day, but the vet said it good for her recovery so we let the vet to do so. Could you tell me how long it will take a tortoise to recover from those shots? Or will she be recovered from those shots?
Thank you for your advice, I will try to stimulate her cloaca by running water tomorrow after her first soak.
 

dzzxmm1919

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Just a note of expl anation about the carrot soaks:

You soak in 50/50 strained carrots/warm water when a tortoise has swollen shut eyes (because he's not eating). The swollen eyes means vitamin A difficiency. It wouldn't help your tortoise's problem. He 's not eating because the bloating is making him feel full, not hungry.

Because the vet has given the vitamin injection, watch for raw spots on his skin (a vitamin A overdose).

One cause for the gas build up MIGHT be not enough exercise. Tortoises, like horses, need exercise to keep their digestive tract working efficiently. Living in too small an area contributes to this.
Thank you for your reply! Yes, her intestinal gas is probably built up by lacking of exercise, or based on the vet's opinion, dysbacteriosis. Her enclosure is not large enough for her already, my husband has decided to build a new one on early April but seems like it's too late.
Does it work if I replace carrot juice to electrolyte for her intestinal gas relief? The vet suggested to give her oral medicine asap, but she refuse to eat. I'm not sure if I can force her to open beak : (
 

dzzxmm1919

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Well, I doubt the vitamin A C D B12, injections were needed. I agree with Yvonne. I would think The soaks should help with the gas, allowing water/carrot juice to enter the GI Tract from front & back and help purge the gas. Did the Vet give any explanation as to how or why the gas is building up? How long has it been since she last ate?
I would also remove the MVB, I believe they have a tendency to dry out the shell's
If Things are NOT getting better, the Vet may be the only option.
As far as the humidity, I add a couple of quarts of water a week to the Orchid Bark substrate for my leopard, and the enclosure needs to closed up good to keep humidity up.
She took her last bite on 3-23, five days from now. She ate 50% of normal appetite on 3-21, and 20% on 3-23. She was the one crazy about food, and that's why I realized there must be something wrong.
 

dzzxmm1919

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We also encounter with a dilemma: let the tortoise rest without any interruption;
or give her daily soak and possible outside "exercise" such as vibration on her belly shell, or moderate shake to help her release gas.
As the vet mentioned, we should not interrupt the tortie at all, we cannot force her to take bath everyday, which makes her even more stressful.
However, I have read some threads on this forum, most of the members recommend daily soak as long as possible, and take torties for a car ride to release blockage.
Strong was extremely stressed after visiting the vet, and the following two days. Today 3-28 she seems like relax a little, but I'm afraid that is a sign she is loosing energy.

I will go for soaking her everyday and expect a good response from her. Please advise me if I need to do more to save my shell baby. Appreciated!
 

wellington

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Thank you for your reply! My husband soaks her twice these days for almost two hours, hope it can help her keep hydrated. We have a jar of zoomed electrolyte, add about 1/3 teaspoon to her bathe water. Does the electrolyte work the same as pedialyte you mentioned?
Me too worried about those injections she received on the other day, but the vet said it good for her recovery so we let the vet to do so. Could you tell me how long it will take a tortoise to recover from those shots? Or will she be recovered from those shots?
Thank you for your advice, I will try to stimulate her cloaca by running water tomorrow after her first soak.
I don't know if the electrolyte from zoomed is the same as piediyte. Maybe do the switch and see if the piediyte will work better.
I would keep up the carrot soak too just to get some nutrients in her. They can absorb while soaking.
Getting her legs moving should help, the reason for the soaks in the tub.
Letting her just sit as the vet suggested isn't going to help pass the gas. Not sure the vet knows what they are doing. Most don't when it comes to tortoises.
Car rides usually always causes a poop.
 

MenagerieGrl

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We also encounter with a dilemma: let the tortoise rest without any interruption;
or give her daily soak and possible outside "exercise" such as vibration on her belly shell, or moderate shake to help her release gas.
As the vet mentioned, we should not interrupt the tortie at all, we cannot force her to take bath everyday, which makes her even more stressful.
However, I have read some threads on this forum, most of the members recommend daily soak as long as possible, and take torties for a car ride to release blockage.
Strong was extremely stressed after visiting the vet, and the following two days. Today 3-28 she seems like relax a little, but I'm afraid that is a sign she is loosing energy.

I will go for soaking her everyday and expect a good response from her. Please advise me if I need to do more to save my shell baby. Appreciated!
Keep up the good work . . .all of us here are trying to help. There is a LOT of institutional knowledge here.
Mostly from trial & error, so keep on trying all the recommendations given here.
I'm saying prayers 🙏 for you and your lil shell baby :tort:
 

Gijoux

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Hello tortoise lovers. This is my first post about my 3 years old leopard tortoise, Strong.

My husband has already posted her basic information on another thread: https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/help-my-3yr-old-leopard-tortoise-lost-appetite.197149/

We took her to a vet immediately when we noticed her abnormal behavior on 3/24. Here is her X-ray photo View attachment 342523

The doctor said she is suffering from severe intestinal gas, but did not notice any foreign matters in her stomach. She has received 5 injections included vitamin A C D B12, and a pain relief called meloxicam (each injection on four limbs and one under her neck). The doctor also suggested she might need to be hospitalized to accept esophagus insert under sedation. We thought it was so cruel so we decided to take her home and provide her intensive care.

She was prescribed two oral medicine, meloxicam and metronidazole. I was trying to syringe some metronidazole jelly into her mouth, however, she was not cooperate.
We have setup an ICU tent for her to rest, with mercury vapor bulb, ceramic heater, and a heating pad. Ambient temp is 29. 5-31C (85-88F). Our biggest concern is the humidity is below 30%, no matter how we try to increase it.

We soak her in warm water with electrolyte everyday for more than 1 hour. However, she is too lethargic to open her eyes, eat, or move around. I could not give her oral medicine neither.

Do we need to bring her back to the vet, or there is any gentle approach I can tube feed her those medicine?

Thank you for reading this post. Any reply is appreciated! Thank you so much! @Tom @Yvonne G @ZEROPILOT

Bonnie
I would like to suggest that you try "activated charcoal" in the bath water. The charcoal is a great treatment to eliminate gas. You can find it at your local pharmacy in a powder or capsule form. You can open a few capsules and sprinkle the powder into the bath water. I would also try using an oral syringe filled with the charcoal water mixture and try squirting a small amount into her mouth it might also help to eliminate the gas.
 

MenagerieGrl

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I would like to suggest that you try "activated charcoal" in the bath water. The charcoal is a great treatment to eliminate gas. You can find it at your local pharmacy in a powder or capsule form. You can open a few capsules and sprinkle the powder into the bath water. I would also try using an oral syringe filled with the charcoal water mixture and try squirting a small amount into her mouth it might also help to eliminate the gas.
I would cautious about Squirting fluids in their mouth, You would NOT want that to go down their "Windpipe"...
 

dzzxmm1919

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I would like to suggest that you try "activated charcoal" in the bath water. The charcoal is a great treatment to eliminate gas. You can find it at your local pharmacy in a powder or capsule form. You can open a few capsules and sprinkle the powder into the bath water. I would also try using an oral syringe filled with the charcoal water mixture and try squirting a small amount into her mouth it might also help to eliminate the gas.
Thank you so much for your input! I'll definitely try to add some activated charcoal powder to her bathe water. Additional question- can I combine simethicone with activated charcoal for stronger effect? I understand it works great for human, but not sure if reptile could handle this.
 

Gijoux

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Thank you so much for your input! I'll definitely try to add some activated charcoal powder to her bathe water. Additional question- can I combine simethicone with activated charcoal for stronger effect? I understand it works great for human, but not sure if reptile could handle this.
I do not have any experience with simethicone.
 

dzzxmm1919

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Any changes for the good?🤞
Thank you for your follow up- so far there is no obvious improvement. She is still not eating, opening her eyes, or moving. We were trying to use stomach tube for a force feeding, but she retracted into her shell so quick- not even a single chance to catch her limbs or head.
The only silver lining is she's still hold some strength in her little body and fight for her life.
Finally, my husband and I decided to bring her back to the vet and let her receive pharyngostomy implant under sedation. This is our last hope, we really want to save her, she has been with us since a new hatching. We saw her was growing up day by day for last two years and half.
We have not heard from the vet yet, hopefully they could accept her tomorrow morning. Finger crossed.
 

Lyn W

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If she's not pooping I wouldn't try force feeding her it could make things worse. Torts can go quite a while without eating so don't worry about that yet, but they need to be kept hydrated as you are doing with soaking.
@zovick may be able to advise.
As Wellington said, car rides have been known to help torts poop. I tried it when mine seemed constipated by putting him on the floor in a box and it certainly worked - maybe something to do with the vibrations.
I've also made mine poop by gently shaking his water tray while he's soaking.
 
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