Corey4

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Oct 16, 2018
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Toronto
Hello everyone, I am writing this post as I have recently rescued a snow leopard tortoise, I had noticed a guy had one up for sale on kijiji and the condition of him looked horrible so I picked him up the same day and immediately took him to the vet.

I named him Jambo. Jambo is two years old but only weighs 45 grams and is the size of a 3 month old which I find super odd (This I have never seen before). On his plastron it seems like he has a wide spread fungal infection that looks as if it had been around for a long time and never treated. Jambo is also missing three nails (toes) two on one back foot and one on another back foot.

I was told Jambo was housed with a four year old Indian star which is also unacceptable. I believe this is the reason for the missing toes. They seemed to be gone for a long time now and are cleanly healed.

The previous owner who clearly neglected him had told me he noticed the "discolouration" on his plastron for a while now, he also said he housed him outdoors in toronto during the warm season, eating lawn his grass, random leaves, and weeds. In the winter he fed him mazuri LS & store bought greens. - I believe jumbo never got to eat much as the larger tortoise he was housed with was much larger and probably ate everything before jambo could get much in him.

During Jambos first vet visit this week, we did a stool sample and had found pin worms (gave treatment yesterday). We also did a scrape on the infected area on his plastron which we are still waiting on results (Should arrive next week). The Dr. gave me a solution to apply to the plastron temporally and I am seeing some positive results so far (see images of before and after).

Jambo currently seems to be great now that I have been providing him with the husbandry he needs. He is active, alert, eats like a tank. Stool is a little soft but nothing concerning at the moment. He has a nice, tough shell, breaths normal, eyes are clear, and overall seems to be doing good. With that being said, we all know how well they can hide their issues.

My question for you guys (I know there are a large number of experts on here) would be; at two years old... why is he only 45 grams and the size of a hatchling? - Could this be because the previous owner neglected the issue on his plastron and due to this, growth has been focused on healing rather than growing? Or possibly due to a lack of proper diet. Could stress stunt growth as well? And lastly, could it more simply be the pin worms?

Another theory of mine is that he was born with a short intestine which isn't giving him all the proper nutrients during digestion.

I am looking forward to what the results say once they come back from the vet and I will also be booking him in for x-rays to see whats going on internally this week. I'd love to hear your thoughts as well here on Tortoise Forum.

Please see photos attached of jambo as well as his plastron issue (let me know if you think its a fungal infection).

Thank you all for taking the time to read my post. I look forward to your comments.
 

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ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
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Welcome
I had and posted about a couple of years old Redfoot tortoise that was the size of a 2 month old. Truly tiny. And very ill.
It had only been fed pellets of some sort and had never had access to a source of UVB. He seemed blind and couldn't walk.
I believe that nutrition is to blame for the size. Actual dwarfism isn't something I've seen.
I was able to get that tortoise walking normally. He could see and his weight and size increased quite a lot. But today he is still very small. But healthier.
Did your vet mention metabolic bone disease? Your little tort looks like his legs are strong.
The only diagnosis was the pin worms?
And does he/she suspect fungus on the plastron?
Stunted tortoises can recover and life a nice long life. But will remain small for its age.
Best of luck to you.
 

Corey4

New Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Toronto
Welcome
I had and posted about a couple of years old Redfoot tortoise that was the size of a 2 month old. Truly tiny. And very ill.
It had only been fed pellets of some sort and had never had access to a source of UVB. He seemed blind and couldn't walk.
I believe that nutrition is to blame for the size. Actual dwarfism isn't something I've seen.
I was able to get that tortoise walking normally. He could see and his weight and size increased quite a lot. But today he is still very small. But healthier.
Did your vet mention metabolic bone disease? Your little tort looks like his legs are strong.
The only diagnosis was the pin worms?
And does he/she suspect fungus on the plastron?
Stunted tortoises can recover and life a nice long life. But will remain small for its age.
Best of luck to you.
Thanks so much for the reply! That’s great to hear yours is doing well and better now. Definitely gives me hope. Thank you.

To answer your questions, the vets current only firm diagnosis is the pin worms. We are still waiting for the lab results to come in from the shell scrape testing a to see if the issue in the plastron is fungus. We both suspect that it is but need to be 100% sure before we thoroughly treat it which is why I am currently cleaning the infected looking areas with a solution they provided me with.

The vet says MBD isn’t a factor with jambo, his shell and strength is 10/10 (minus the infection on the plastron).

I hope that now I have him in my care, he can be treated, recover, grow, and life a long happy life.

I’m just so curious as to why his growth has been so extreme minor for two years.

Thanks again for sharing with me and helping out! Much appreciated. I look forward to hearing more suggestions and advice on here.

Cheers!
 

wellington

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A few years ago I rescued a leopard that was not taken care of properly either. Mine couldn't walk and was way under sized for the age
With proper care, diet and water therapy he not only has caught up in size, but passed up another one I had before him and walks like a champ, and very fast.
Give proper care with humidity and in a closed chamber, proper diet and he will do good.
I'm not sure why the previous owner calls him a snow leopard except it gets more money. The lighter leopards (snow or ivory) are usually much lighter than what yours is and as they get older a lot of them start to darken up.
 

Maro2Bear

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Greetings. I think you pretty much answered your own question regarding the relative small size of your tortoise.

➡️➡️➡️ why is he only 45 grams and the size of a hatchling? - Could this be because the previous owner neglected the issue on his plastron and due to this, growth has been focused on healing rather than growing? Or possibly due to a lack of proper diet. Could stress stunt growth as well? And lastly, could it more simply be the pin worms?

Id say yes to all of these, plus it was being bullied by a larger, more aggressive tortoise, was NOT housed separately, did not have the benefit of a complete diet, soaking or humidity or a nice big enclosure to freely roam. Now, throw in some intestinal worms & fungus & you have a perfect recipe for “stunted” growth.

Id say if you fix all these issues, your tort should start to thrive & grow.

Good luck
 

Corey4

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Toronto
Greetings. I think you pretty much answered your own question regarding the relative small size of your tortoise.

➡️➡️➡️ why is he only 45 grams and the size of a hatchling? - Could this be because the previous owner neglected the issue on his plastron and due to this, growth has been focused on healing rather than growing? Or possibly due to a lack of proper diet. Could stress stunt growth as well? And lastly, could it more simply be the pin worms?

Id say yes to all of these, plus it was being bullied by a larger, more aggressive tortoise, was NOT housed separately, did not have the benefit of a complete diet, soaking or humidity or a nice big enclosure to freely roam. Now, throw in some intestinal worms & fungus & you have a perfect recipe for “stunted” growth.

Id say if you fix all these issues, your tort should start to thrive & grow.

Good luck
Thank you for this! I’ll be posting updates in the coming months. I’m still going to take him in for x-rays just to be safe and make sure all is good internally :).

Thanks again!
 

Maro2Bear

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Thank you for this! I’ll be posting updates in the coming months. I’m still going to take him in for x-rays just to be safe and make sure all is good internally :).

Thanks again!

I doubt if x-rays will help show anything “out of normal”. Maybe you can see that everything is clear & nothing blocked. Concentrate on improving everything else for sure. Soaking, heating, lighting, substrate, humidity, enclosure space, & good variety of proper food. Good luck!
 

HoosierTort

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It honestly could be a genetic issue dealing with their GI system. I have seen this first hand with leopards, desert box turtles, and tan phase box turtles. These were all animals I had raised up with clutchmates of the same species and they just never or barely grew, but the others grew normally.

The leopard lived the longest, with the box turtles only living to just under two years old. Sadly, the leopard only lived for 4 years and didn’t grow much at all.
None of these showed any signs of deformities like you’d normally see with bad husbandry. I have a rescued 14yo midland painted the size of a yearling, but he has obvious deformity in growth. The box turtles and leopard simply looked like typical hatchlings/juveniles.
I would be interested to see updates and if it grows with better care, or if it is possibly genetic.
 

HoosierTort

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Jambo's a classic example of why to not keep two tortoises in the same enclosure. One ends up being the dominant and the other the subordinate. The sub grows slowly or not at all.
Agreed completely! My reply should have included they were housed separately. I keep very few things together.
 

Corey4

New Member
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Toronto
It honestly could be a genetic issue dealing with their GI system. I have seen this first hand with leopards, desert box turtles, and tan phase box turtles. These were all animals I had raised up with clutchmates of the same species and they just never or barely grew, but the others grew normally.

The leopard lived the longest, with the box turtles only living to just under two years old. Sadly, the leopard only lived for 4 years and didn’t grow much at all.
None of these showed any signs of deformities like you’d normally see with bad husbandry. I have a rescued 14yo midland painted the size of a yearling, but he has obvious deformity in growth. The box turtles and leopard simply looked like typical hatchlings/juveniles.
I would be interested to see updates and if it grows with better care, or if it is possibly genetic.
Thanks for the insight! I'll definitely be giving updates here. Today he took his medication orally for the pinworms. He's eating great, staying hydrated, and very active. Still waiting for the lab results to come in regarding what I believe is a fungal infection on his plastron. Hopefully we start to see growth over these next few months once he is recovered from the plastron issue & pinworms.
 

Lyn W

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Hi and thanks for rescuing this little guy to give him a better life.
If you haven't already found it this caresheet will help you
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
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Thanks for the insight! I'll definitely be giving updates here. Today he took his medication orally for the pinworms. He's eating great, staying hydrated, and very active. Still waiting for the lab results to come in regarding what I believe is a fungal infection on his plastron. Hopefully we start to see growth over these next few months once he is recovered from the plastron issue & pinworms.
A mild fungal infection is very easy to treat.
Hopefully that's all it is.
 

LuckyEgyptian

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This is not easy for you to spend time and money rescuing such a poor little tortoise. And you are doing a great job!

I've noticed the listing too. The guy was selling it for $700, and I thought it was only a 3-5 months old hatchling. Turns out I'm totally wrong.

Respect to you and finger crossed?
 

Corey4

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Toronto
This is not easy for you to spend time and money rescuing such a poor little tortoise. And you are doing a great job!

I've noticed the listing too. The guy was selling it for $700, and I thought it was only a 3-5 months old hatchling. Turns out I'm totally wrong.

Respect to you and finger crossed?
Thank you! We got results back and it is a fungal infection + bacterial infection on his plastron. I am treating it as of two days ago. We got his oral meds for the pin worms done and we are currently giving a nasal wash as he seems to also have a minor respiratory infection. Hes eating well and active which is a good sign.
 

Lizz-ie

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I'm so glad you rescued the little guy. I took on a Herman 6 months ago. She is 12 according to her paper work but weighted 102g, 9cm long and was essentially hollow. She has put on 50g since then (horrid eye infection so she couldn't see her food). No signs of growth yet but I'm sure once her insides have developed she will start to grow, the vet doesn't see a reason that that shouldn't, I'm sure the same will be for yours. A lack of food and poor living conditions wouldn't do any animal or human any good.

Best of luck with Jambo, such a handsome little critter!
 
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