Back legs frostbite?

Jolie

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Oct 12, 2019
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Has anyone had a tortoise that didn't make it back into his shelter and stayed in the snow too long? I know that sounds HORRIBLE. WE FEEL SO BAD. SICK TO OUR STOMACH. YESTERDAY Our African Sulcata Tank (of 18 years) went out of his shelter and didn't make it back in and we found him with snow on his hind legs....we thought he was dead. (side note, this is not his first snow) Brought him in the house put him on top of the heater vent in the floor and heat lamp on top of him and he an hour later he started to move. Gave him a warm bath soak.....Today he has limited movement of his hind legs. Dragging his shell. Does anyone think he will regain movement? His skin is not blacken, I hope this is temporary and not nerve or tissue damage. I am reaching out to all of you TORTISE lovers/experts for help. Please note, we would take him to the vet but we are overwhelmed with medical bills from a family member with a broken neck and back. We want to take him to the vet, we just can not afford to. Thanks- from a family that loves their "Tank"
 

Tom

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You love him, but you left him out in the cold? And this has happened before and you didn't learn the first time? Paying vet bills is part of the cost of ownership. Your tortoise deserves better.

There is no way for us to tell you how much damage has been done. Even a vet will have a tough time assessing that. I hope your tortoise receives better treatment and care in the future.
 

Yvonne G

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I know you don't need people to lecture you, but I just wanted to say, right before dark I go out into the tortoise yards and make sure all the tortoises are in their shelters and their doors are closed and locked. If I'm away from the house at dark, then I go out when I get home, with a flashlight, and make sure they're all put away.

Is your bath tub big enough to fill with water deep enough that he can't touch the bottom? If so, fill the tub with warm water, place him gently in the water, and allow him to 'swim' for 15 minutes or so each night. This exercises the leg muscles without too much strain on them. Obviously, you or someone, needs to stay in the bathroom and keep an eye on him.

I don't think it's frost bite, but rather, he's gotten cold clear through to his inner core. When reptiles muscles are too cold, they can't move well. Hopefully the warm water exercise coupled with being in a nice, warm area, will get him back up and running in no time.

Please keep us in the loop. We all learn from things like this. I know you didn't do this on purpose. You've had this tortoise for almost 20 years, and I know you love him and don't want to see him come to harm. This is just one of those things that happens, and you wish it hadn't. From now on, just get into the habit of checking on him every night to make sure he's in his shelter.
 

Jolie

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Oct 12, 2019
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Colorado Springs
Yes I dont need a lecture. We don't leave our little dude out in the cold. He has a full on house he lives in, unfortunately it snowed in the middle of the night in OCTOBER and we did not lock his door. And it has never happened in 18 years. Thank you Yvonne for the advice, and Tom Thank you for the critizism.
 

Jolie

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Oct 12, 2019
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Colorado Springs
Tank has gained movement in his hind legs, although he is not putting a lot of weight on them. When we touch his legs he tucks them back in. My husband has been giving him hind leg massages. He also built him "wheels". SO he sits on this wood plank with wheels and runs around the yard. His hind legs are moving like he is walking while he is walking. This is a good sign. Sort of like a dog that has lost use of their hind quarters and they have the wheels apparatus. I just hope he puts weight on his back legs soon, otherwise he will drag his shell if he isn't in the "wheels". Our guilt is overwhelming. He is 18 and has quite a few more decades on this earth, I hope that he doesn't need his wheels forever.
 

vladimir

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@Jolie I can't imagine how you must feel. I think it's probably a good sign that there's been an increase in movement, and the wheels ideas is a great one!. Do you have any pictures of Tank to share with us? :<3::tort:
 

Jodie

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Tortoises are amazing creatures. I am hoping for a full recovery for tank. I would make sure he has plenty of heat this winter, and lots of soaks to help him fight off any infections.
 

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