bad UVB light possible cause of Freddy's Issues! Thanks Tortania!!!

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bdoyle

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Thanks to Tortania pointing out the posts regarding the hazardous UVB florecent bulbs on the market right now

My bulb is one of the worst ones listed, the Exo-terra Repti-GLO 10.0 standard florecent tube. Along with a dozen other bulb types ( mostly compact florecents and the bulbs from Zilla )

Apparently they are emitting UVB at such a low end of the spectrum its dipping into UVC radiation and causing burns to the Eyes of reptiles.

The 2 main symptoms of the effects are reluctance to open their eyes, and severe lethargic behavior..

which anyone who's read my repeated posts would know thats my tortoise's issues described perfectly..

so the UV light is OFF.

will remain off for a few days to allow Freddy to heal up, and the eyedrops will continue to make it easier on him. Poor guy.

I will keep everyone updated but PLEASE visit

http://www.uvguide.co.uk/phototherapyphosphor.htm to learn more about this potential hazard and what specific lights are found to be at fault.

I am So thankful to have this forum here! and Im very thankful to Tortania for bringing this to my attention. It could have very easily slipped by and He would be worse off then he is now.

Its only been 13 days exposed to this light, and there are records of other reptiles like Bearded dragons being exposed to these lights for 3 and 4 months.. within 2 days of the lights being removed a noted improvement has been observed.

The illness is called photo-kerato-conjunctivitis

here is a quick rundown of what it is:

This is a painful eye condition caused by excessive exposure to UV radiation.

It is exactly the same as "snow blindness" in skiers, from excessive UV reflected from snow, and "arc welder's flash" experienced by people working with metal welding equipment, who have not worn protective glasses. It is very painful - like having sand in your eyes - and it is caused by damage to the delicate transparent cells on the surface of the eye (the cornea) and the lining of the eyelids. Fortunately, only the superficial layers of the eye are affected; the lens and retina are not damaged (the UVB does not reach the deep structures of the eye) and so it does not cause permanent blindness.

The pain is protective (it makes sufferers close their eyes) and healing begins at once, when the harmful UV light is removed. Unless there have been serious burns, the eyes heal remarkably quickly. The damaged cells are replaced within days and the pain disappears.

Most cases open their eyes again within 2 - 3 days and all symptoms are gone within a week or so, with no medication being necessary. If there has been skin damage to the eyelids this may take a little longer and veterinary examination is essential in case the damaged skin has become infected. We have heard reports of some cases with a sticky discharge from the eye and/or peeling of the skin around the eyelids.

------------------


Now obviously dont jump to conclusions that just because your tortoise wont open his eyes that this is what it must be..

consult your vet, make sure he's otherwise healthy and no infections are present ( fecal tests are a good idea to rule out other potential reasons )

But be diligent in seeking a resolution!

I have been up and down every site on the net actively searching for potential reasons for his behavior..

After vet visits and all clear results... I am positioned to think this is the cause of my freddy's issues.

I will post daily progress reports.


On a Side note, Does anyone know how long its ok to go without any UV in the enclosure?

Its suggested 2 - 3 days to allow time to heal.
I assume this is no going to throw him off, as in nature, there are times when its cloudy for a few days at a time, am i correct?
 

bdoyle

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Day #1 of No UVB light / Exo-Terro Repti-GLO 10.0 removed from enclosure..

Freddy's eyes still would not open this morning without the application of natural tears eye drops. Once opened he was alert and hungery.

soaked for 5 minutes, as he's pretty well hydrated anyways lately.. But he drank so that was good.

Placed him back in his enclosure.. he moved around for a bit till his eyes shut , then was sleeping for a few hours. I woke him again re-applied eye drops, was good for another 30 minutes or so of roaming.

Now he has layed down to sleep, and relocated himself to 3 different spots and only one of them was his basking spot!

For the first time since ive gotten him he's removed himself from his basking location. So happy.

Still only day 1.. will hope to see improvements in the next 3 - 4 days.

I have purchased a Zoomed UVB 5.0 bulb but found it does not fit the balast I had for his Repti-Glo 10.0 bulb... so tomorrow i'll be off to get him a new one.

My Vet and the individuals looking into the Repti-Glo 10.0 issue suggest that a ZooMed 5.0 florecent tube is sufficient if kept within 8 inches of the tortoises basking area with the addition of a foil reflector.

So this is what I shall be doing some monday or tuesday when its time to re-introduce UVB lighting to his enclosure.

Daily updates will be made in hopes this will help others who have been "burned" so to speak by the damaging uvb bulbs out on the market.

ZooMed and Zilla are offering Full refunds to owners of the compact florecents and their Desert 50 lamps if you wish to return them to them.

Ext-Terra is denying all reports and has not issued any official statements on their Repti-Glo 10.0 bulb at this point.
 

Yvonne G

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My sister came down to visit me a couple weeks ago and I gave her two leopard hatchlings to either keep or sell. She set them up the way she has all her babies set up, not realizing that her son had replaced a burned out bulb in one of her light fixtures with a new one he found on a shelf in her house. For the past couple of days she has been telling me that one of the babies seems to be blind. I had just read the thread on UVB lights and the informed article about likening it to snow blindness and I copy/pasted that info and emailed it to my sister. She said she didn't have that kind of bulb in their fixture. But later in the day she took a better look at it and realized what had happened.

So sure enough, be careful with those darned UVB bulbs. They really do harm the little guy's eyes. I think she said hers was a Repti-sun 10.0 and she had it shining too close to the floor of the habitat. Hopefully now that the light has been changed the baby will get better.

THANK YOU BDOYLE for posting that info for us-- very much.

Yvonne
 

bdoyle

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Yea reptisun-10.0 compact florecents are one of them
along with the zilla desert 50 bulbs

least zoomed and zilla are offering refunds on the effected models

Exo-terra is in denial about their repti-glo 10.0
 

tortania

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You are so very welcome, Blair! I'm glad I could help :). Like I said, when I noticed the post myself I recognized the symptoms in my Hermann's. Once I turned the compact UVB bulb off for a few days their eyes began to open up, and instead of back and forth from their hide to the food, they were up and exploring again!
 

Diana Stone

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Hi all, I have just been reading this with great interest. Not quite clear on it all however. I have the repti-glow 10.0 tube on my tort table and my box turtle table. Both hanging 18" off the ground. Is this good or bad? Should this be changed?
 

bdoyle

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Well here's how i understand it..

typically when UVB florecents are manufactured, they are Burned ( lit up ) for X amount of hours during manufacturing to burn off the initial high amounts of UV , This allows the UVB bulb to level off in its concentration and continue for the specified life of the bulb within acceptable UVB out put ranges...

Each bulb contains a certain type and amount of a "Phototherapy" Phosphor..
these same phosphurs are found in the 10.0 compact florecents put out by Zoomed as well , but not the standard florecents.. unlike the Exo terra Repti-GLO 10.0 .

This Phospor is what is beleived to be responsible for the problem.. as I understand it , it has something to do with how the UVB is emitted from the bulb, its coming out at a lower frequency wavelength, which approaches the UVC spectrum.. UVC is the spectrum that causes sunburn, skin cancer... etc.. its the bad part of the sun .. if you follow...

The reccomended height for the Repti-GLO 10.0 bulb is 30 cm ( roughly 12 inches ) from the reptile's basking spot.

at 18" it would be unlikely that you would have adverse effects on your animal however these bulbs put out a much weaker amount of UVA output which helps encourage "normal" behavior in reptiles.. At 18" the already weak UVA output would be extremely week with these questionable light bulbs.

As far is this low UVA output goes as well, it further increases the potential for damage to the repiles skin and eyes because with low UVA, the animal's retina's do not contract the way they would in a bright environment.. Causing the retina to remain enlarged , allowing an even greater amount of UVC radiation into the eyes and eyelids etc..

the combination of dangerous UVC , and weak UVA . when at distances from 12 or less can be unhealthy for your reptile.


My lights were approximately 9 - 10" from the substrate.

In addition to this, prior to finding out my light was on the hazard list... my vet had instructed me to increase the UVB output , either by placing my lights inside the enclosure and not on top of the lid.. or adding a reflector behind the light.. I did both for 3 days.

In that time my tortoise went from reluctantly opening his right eye, and his left being sealed... to both eyes refusing to open even though he actively blinks in attempt to open them.

eyedrops quickly fix this , and when he was out of his enclosure.. he perked right up and would eat.. but within 5 minutes once the moisture from the drops dissapated , he became lethargic again, and closed his eyes.



Sorry for this being long winded.. but i might as well say all i know in one post so i dont have to reply with little bits all day long hehe.


And back to your lights being 18"...

I doubt they will cause damage.. but if you ask me.. ANY UVC radiation that shouldnt be there , no matter how small at that distance, i would rather do without.

Zoomed Reptisun 10.0 compact florecents, and the Zilla deset 50 models are very much the same, and I read that both companies are offering refunds for owners of them.

Exo terra has not yet responded to the issue.
 

Josh

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interesting information on this. im going to have to double check my bulb... its nearly time to replace it anyhow. i'll definitely have to add a reflector and read up on that UV lighting site...
 

Diana Stone

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Thank you Blair for being long winded. :D
I have not noticed a problem with my tortoises or turtles having issues with thier eyes yet. But now what are we suppose to do for UVB light now that this info is out? Dont remember reading anything about that. Guess I will be moving my bulbs closer to the substrate on both tables for the time being.
 

bdoyle

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Day #2 , since Exo-terra repti-GLO 10.0 florecent Tube was removed...

Fredrick slept 1/2 in 1/2 out of his hide last night, closest he's ever been near to it since we got him a couple weeks ago.

He's back to opening his right eye partially when we pick him up.. left eye still remains "sealed" shut until we soak him or apply the eye drops.

Still better then both eyes being sealed in the mornings.

He's still quick slow to get roused awake.. but once both eyes are well moistened he perks up and roams around and eats. ( Im weening him off lettuce right now so he's not eating as much grass as he would be lettuce in comparrison but im not worried bout that .. its to be expected ).

Within a couple minutes of being placed back in his enclosure he finds a place thats comfy and stretches out and back to sleep.

Improvements while minor.. are still improvements.

Can only hope im on the right track with it.

1 more day of no UV lights then i'll re-introduce a Repti-sun 5.0 into his enclosure for a couple hours 1st day, then 1/2 day on the 2nd.. and back to full 12 - 13 hour day by the 3rd.

Will continue with updates just so anyone else whos had this issue can see how mines going.

fingers crossed that ive found the solution to the poor guys ailments.
 

Diana Stone

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torts4me said:
Thank you Blair for being long winded. :D
I have not noticed a problem with my tortoises or turtles having issues with thier eyes yet. But now what are we suppose to do for UVB light now that this info is out? Dont remember reading anything about that. Guess I will be moving my bulbs closer to the substrate on both tables for the time being.

Don't we get UVA from the heat lights we use for basking? Seems to me I read that. And what are we suppose to do for the important uvB now since the lights we are using are not emitting enough to do good only emitting other UVC and weak UVA that do harm?
 

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bdoyle

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Another Update!

today Fredrick opened his right eye without issue, however the left was still not openeing, administered an eyedrop to the left.. it opened... during his bath he was scratching at it, and a large dried bit of skin that was making his left eye look like it had a double eye lid.. began to flake off, now only being held by a small section at the front of his left eye.

He seemed even releived by getting it that far off, be proceeded to eat and walked around my whole livingroom for at least an hour and a half before getting sleepy and losing interest in things.

Placed him back in his enclosure, where he wandered for another 20 minutes or so before settling on a spot to sleep.. on top of a large pile of hay right in the middle of the enclosure. Yet again not in his basking spot like he used to do!.


few hours later I woke him for his 2nd eyedrop of the day, upon administering the eyedrop, he successfully gfot rid of the remaining dry /damaged skin.

Now both the left and the right eyes look "normal" and symmetrical as they should.

Nice glossy black eyes once more.


Another steady day of what i would consider imrpovements.

Tomorrow will be his last day without any UV bulb.

then Thursday we start with a reptisun 5.0 bulb at 10" with a reflector for 5 hours, friday will double that time. and then back to normal lighting.


*fingers crossed that this keeps improving*
 

bdoyle

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Another update

A few days ago i started giving Fredrick codliver oil drops in his eyes once a day... as they were now healing with alot of dry skin and getting stuck...

I cleaned out his enclosure, got the new UVB light working with a custom made ballast.

and for the last 2 or 3 days, he wakes up within 20 min of the lights coming on in the morning, both eyes open without need for eyedrops , he roams for a long while , eats some, nakes a nap and repeats... He's picking a variety of places to hang out in his enclosure now.. and he even uses his hide!

So.. I'm confident we found and solved the problem. ExoTerra Repti-Glo 10.0 florecent tubes are baaad for mr tortoise !
 

bdoyle

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Well,

Its with sad news that I have to report that my poor freddy has yet again taken a turn for the worse..

after introducing his new UV light to his enclosure, and with eyedrops his eyes cleared up and became healthy looking.. his activity level went up considerably for 2 - 3 days afterwards..

but in the last 2 days his health has declined to worse then it was prior.

He is no longer waking up, will not open his eyes even during a bath.
He is limp to be held.. has no reaction when we tug on his legs.

He just gives a slight head bob now and again.

Does not move from where he is placed.

His first sign of decline was when we took him out for a bath and a feeding
he was unable to hold his weight up as he walked.. and would stumble down onto his front as he attempt to walk toward his food.. "acting drunk" as my fiance called it.

very distressing to see him in such a way.

the very next day he was limp and unresponsive.

Last trip to the vet came back with healthy test results.. no paracites or the like.

He has gained a gram or two of weight since we got him.. his appetite was strong even throughout his eye issues...

now he seems to just barely be clinging to life.

I'm so upset about this. So much time and effort put into our attempts to rehabilitate him and just when things were looking up.. he's crashed to a new low.

All we can do is wait and see now. I will attempt to rouse him awake to tempt him to eat and give him a bath 2x a day..

but im at the limits of my efforts for this guy. Im at a loss as to what else I could possibly do.

poor freddy. Its amazing how much he's become a part of our family in the month we've had him. Right from the start he was not a strong little guy , we have only tried our best to make him well.

perhapse it just isnt meant to be.

Im just not sure what else can be done.

I hope he pulls through, but ive never seen an animal look so weak and disoriented in my time with keeping various reptiles.

Here's a video of him attempting to walk when we first realized he was slipping back into his ailment.. 2 days ago before he declined to the total inactive state that he's currently in

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Jg9jvHALcM
 

Crazy1

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I am so so sorry to hear Freddy has made a turn for the worst. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Freddy at this time. Are you planning another trip to the Vet?
 
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