Box turtle not using rear legs

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caitemaynot

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I have recently rescued an Eastern box turtle from a less than motivated owner. When I received "Turtleman" he had been living in a ten gallon aquarium and living off of only meal worms and dried box turtle food. He is a male, ( confirmed when he fanned his penis in his watering dish) and approximately five years old. I have been feeding him earthworms, strawberries and blueberries, collards with shredded carrots and de-seeded yellow squash.
Last week he suddenly stopped using his rear legs, they aren't paralyzed he is able to pull them into his shell, and uses them when he is fanning himself. He is living on a substrate of coconut husk material, which brand eluded me right now. Is there a better substrate to keep him on?
I plan to take him to the vet this week at the very earliest appointment available but would appreciate and help to triage this until I can get him in.
Thank you!
 

kimber_lee_314

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Was he living on a bare surface before he came to you? Sometimes if they can't get traction because of a slippery surface, they start to have trouble with their back legs.
 

caitemaynot

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No,he was kept on the same coconut fiber substrate as now, but it was a really small cage and I wonder if his little legs have atrophied.....poor little guy
 

tortoisenerd

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Here's a great thread: http://www.tortoiseforum.org/Thread-very-weak-back-legs#axzz1Hr5nw9QW Glad you are taking him to the vet...I definitely agree. My first guess is MBD (from lack of calcium & UVB) due to the bad conditions. Another potential thing is bladder stones, which are ruled in/out by an x-ray. Any possibility he got bit by something? From what I've read, that would be true paralysis, not avoiding use of legs, so probably not likely.

I'd rule substrate out. Some people prefer cypress mulch over coconut coir. Another choice is organic soil. How long have you had him? if you've seen him walking around fine for awhile, I'd think the old enclosure size isn't an issue. Good luck and keep us posted.
 

caitemaynot

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I am concerned that it is MBD and have been dusting his worms with calcium + d3 powder, his shell has mild pyramiding but no soft spots. I had read in other posts that collards have given other types of turtles bladder stones is this something I should refrain from feeding him ( it has been the primary green I have been giving)? He is my first turtle and I intend that he WILL live the full 100 yrs! :) Thank you for responding!
 

Yvonne G

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Hi caitmaynot:

Welcome to the forum!! May we know your name and where you are?

I think your turtle has some sort of impaction. Only a vet would be able to tell you for sure, but that's what I think.

Reason being, male turtles and tortoises "fan" occasionally, but what you say sounds like Turtleman is fanning more often than normal. When they have a load of rocks or other blockage that they're having trouble pushing out, it causes them to fan or even to prolapse.

Just let him sit in warm water as often as possible. And make that vet appointment.
 
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