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Baytril injections

LittleSpud

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Jan 9, 2020
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Terrace
Hello, I have a sulcata with a RI. The vet gave us baytril to give as injections and showed us how to do it while there. He injected it into the flesh in the tortoises rear end/ leg and told us that thats how we should do it, alternating sides each time. Everything I've read/watched says to do it between the front leg and neck. Is this how we should be doing it? I feel like the skin between the neck and leg is much thinner and less tough and would be a lot less painful for him. Its also a lot cleaner up there.

His symptoms are definitely improving.
 

Yvonne G

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If the symptoms are improving, then continue to do what your vet told you to do.

Like you, I've also heard that injecting in the front is better, and to alternate sides. But I've learned over the years that using Baytril as a nasal flush works much better, so I don't inject it at all anymore. I mix the Baytril 1 part to 9 parts of sterile saline and flush the nostrils. While Baytril works very well as an injectible, it is a very harsh antibiotic and is quite painful to the animal, sometimes even causing the tortoise to favor that leg and limp. Baytril is one antibiotic that can be either injected or given orally, so I don't inject anymore.
 

Tom

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Hello, I have a sulcata with a RI. The vet gave us baytril to give as injections and showed us how to do it while there. He injected it into the flesh in the tortoises rear end/ leg and told us that thats how we should do it, alternating sides each time. Everything I've read/watched says to do it between the front leg and neck. Is this how we should be doing it? I feel like the skin between the neck and leg is much thinner and less tough and would be a lot less painful for him. Its also a lot cleaner up there.

His symptoms are definitely improving.
Baytril is what we used to use back in the 90s. It is very caustic. It burns the flesh at the injection site and it should not be used. There are related drugs that work as well or better without the pain and tissue damage. Ask your vet to replace the Baytril with Fortaz or the drug of his/her choice that will not burn your tortoise's flesh.

Did you discover and correct the CAUSE of the RI? Tortoises are not like us, in that they don't just get sick for no reason. They don't catch a cold like a human does. When they get sick it is because something in the husbandry is off. This is usually cool temps. How and where are you housing your tortoise? Where is "Terrace"? What size and age tortoise are we talking about? What are you using to maintain the necessary minimum temp of 80, day and night, for your tropical tortoise species? Minimum ambient of 85-90F 24/7 will also help him overcome the RI.
 

LittleSpud

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Jan 9, 2020
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Terrace
Baytril is what we used to use back in the 90s. It is very caustic. It burns the flesh at the injection site and it should not be used. There are related drugs that work as well or better without the pain and tissue damage. Ask your vet to replace the Baytril with Fortaz or the drug of his/her choice that will not burn your tortoise's flesh.

Did you discover and correct the CAUSE of the RI? Tortoises are not like us, in that they don't just get sick for no reason. They don't catch a cold like a human does. When they get sick it is because something in the husbandry is off. This is usually cool temps. How and where are you housing your tortoise? Where is "Terrace"? What size and age tortoise are we talking about? What are you using to maintain the necessary minimum temp of 80, day and night, for your tropical tortoise species? Minimum ambient of 85-90F 24/7 will also help him overcome the RI.
Yes, we know the cause of the RI. He (I say he but we dont really know) came to us mid December and was in transit for 8 hours and his heat pack failed to activate. When I received him off of the plane he was freezing cold- it took me almost an hour to warm him up to my body temperature. He is only 7 months old. Currently his one side of his enclosure is being kept at exactly 90F day and night using a heat lamp.

Unfortunately Baytril is the only antibiotic our vet has that can be used to treat an RI in a tort as they are not a designated practice for reptiles and only have a locum come in that treats reptiles once a month. I am in northern British Columbia. There are no vets in my town that treat reptiles so we went to see that locum at a practice 2 hours away while he was there.
 

Tom

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Yes, we know the cause of the RI. He (I say he but we dont really know) came to us mid December and was in transit for 8 hours and his heat pack failed to activate. When I received him off of the plane he was freezing cold- it took me almost an hour to warm him up to my body temperature. He is only 7 months old. Currently his one side of his enclosure is being kept at exactly 90F day and night using a heat lamp.

Unfortunately Baytril is the only antibiotic our vet has that can be used to treat an RI in a tort as they are not a designated practice for reptiles and only have a locum come in that treats reptiles once a month. I am in northern British Columbia. There are no vets in my town that treat reptiles so we went to see that locum at a practice 2 hours away while he was there.
They need it dark at night. They need a basking area to warm up that is around 95-100. The cool side should stay above 85 until this sickness passes.

Here is the standard sulcata care info. This might help with some of the details.
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-sulcata-or-leopard-version-2-0.79895/
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/

There are four elements to heating and lighting:
  1. Basking bulb. I use 65 watt floods from the hardware store. I run them on a timer and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. You can mount a fixture on the ceiling, or hang a dome lamp from the ceiling. Go lower or higher wattage if this makes the enclosure too hot or not warm enough. Do not use "spot" bulbs, mercury vapor bulbs or halogen bulbs.
  2. Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species like sulcatas or leopards. I like this thermostat: https://www.lllreptile.com/products/13883-zilla-1000-watt-temperature-controller. Put the probe in the coolest corner away from all heating elements. You may need more than one heating element to spread the heat out for a given enclosure.
  3. Light. I use florescent tubes for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most tubes at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish. I've been using LEDs lately and they are great, and run cooler than a florescent. This can be set on the same timer as the basking bulb.
  4. UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. If you want it anyway, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. I like the ZooMed 10.0 HO, and the Arcadia 12% HO. Which type will depend on mounting height. It helps to have a UV meter to test and see what your bulb is actually putting out at your mounting height. Plexi-glass or screen tops will filter out some or all of the UV produced by your bulb.
 

Maro2Bear

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I’m wondering out loud here, can a tort really get RI in the short duration of shipment regardless of the “heat pack failure”? Id think it would take extended time (days) at sub-optimal temps to cause RI. I’m thinking it had RI to begin with.
 

Tom

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Unfortunately Baytril is the only antibiotic our vet has that can be used to treat an RI in a tort as they are not a designated practice for reptiles and only have a locum come in that treats reptiles once a month. I am in northern British Columbia. There are no vets in my town that treat reptiles so we went to see that locum at a practice 2 hours away while he was there.
I would not use Baytril on any tortoise, but especially not a little one. The warm temps will allow the tortoise to fight off the infection. If it were my tortoise I would not dose it again.
 

mark1

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my opinion is listen to your vet , while anything's possible , I doubt a vet comes in once a month to treat reptiles that doesn't treat reptiles ...... cold doesn't cause a bacterial infection , low body temperature causes stress which causes a suppressed immune system , which allows the bacteria or underlying virus already present to proliferate and become an infection ..... most people have staph on their skin , most people don't get staph infections ... most tortoises and turtles in the pet trade have been exposed to a wide variety of diseases ………….. just shipping animals under ideal conditions can cause them to become clinically sick ……..dosing is critical to using antibiotics , an 8 month old sulcata I doubt is hard to dose for a competent reptile vet , or even a vet with a book or access to the internet ........ I took a couple 20gram turtles with ri's to the vet , I told him they were kinda small , vet told me they were behemoths in comparison to the geko he had just treated , was a lesson......... jmo
 

Tom

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I would suggest you call and discuss your concerns with the reptile vet.
This seems like logical, sound advice, but there is a problem. Most vets know nothing about tortoise care or treatment. They attempt to treat symptoms with out diagnosing and correcting the problem that caused the symptoms. There is no semester on tortoise care in vet school, so do you know where they learn what to do? They go to the back and look it up in a vet handbook, or nowadays on a vet website. Problem is that most of what is recommended will harm or kill tortoises, especially little babies.

I don't say this lightly. I've seen it first hand many times. I'm fortunate to call many vets friends and I've talked about this with them many times. Vets who know their way around a tortoise, and how to treat them are few and far between. Unless you find a vet that has been keeping, raising, breeding and treating tortoises for years, you are better off taking advice from people who have been keeping, raising and breeding tortoises for years, and have first hand experience with what they are recommending. If you need need medicine or surgery for a dog or cat, vets are the place to go. Not so much for tortoise care advice in most cases. No one is born knowing everything about every animal. Vet school doesn't teach everything about every animal. There is only one way to gain knowledge about a given species, and that isn't reading a vet treatment handbook in the back room.
 

TammyJ

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Jun 21, 2016
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Littlespud, I hope your tortoise recovers. I like what Yvonne said about the nasal flush rather than the injection, but to ask a real, experienced tortoise/reptile vet would be the ideal thing to do. All the advice here about keeping him warm is also the best thing you can do for him. Please keep us informed on his progress.
 

Geng

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Jun 22, 2015
Messages
129
I once took my russian tortoise to the vet because he was inactive for weeks. The vet randomly gave him an injection of baytril without properly analyzing what the problem was, because it was 'a cure that cures everything'.

However, my tortoise seem to get worser with every injection. On the 3rd injection he even puked out his food. I became extremely worried and seeked help on these forum and got to know that baytril injections can be fatal for tortoises. That is when I stopped with the injections and warm soaked him alot and bumped the temps.

Thank god my tortoise is fine now and is still with me.
 

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