Can CDT upper respiratory disease jump to other tortoise breeds?

Jshapco2

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Hello everyone. I have two CDTs. One male and one female. The female is spayed but has the upper respiratory disease. We have had them for 25 years and the male has never shown symptoms of the disease. He was born in captivity. Unsure about the female.


Anyway, I am seriously considering getting an Aldabra tortoise. If I do, how concerned to do I need to be about my female CDT getting the Aldabra sick? Is having completely separate enclosures safe enough?
 

Yvonne G

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Yes, it can.

I'm going to assume that you mean the female has tested positive for the mycoplasma that causes upper respiratory tract disease in desert tortoises. This is supposed to be highly contagious, but since your male doesn't seem to have it, I'm guessing you've had a wrong diagnosis on the female.

Tortoises show symptoms - runny nose, etc. - of a respiratory infection when stressed. This isn't necessarily an infection, it's just the symptoms of being stressed. Lots of things cause a tortoise to be stressed, and living with a male that continually wants to breed is one of them.

If you are positive that your tortoise has a 'bug' then when you get your Aldabran tortoise, you want to tend to him and things in his yard first, saving the desert tortoises for last. Always wash your hands, don't intermix supplies, food dishes, etc. wear different shoes in each enclosure.

It might be a good idea to build separate yards for the desert tortoises, even though the female has been spayed. Tortoises are solitary. They don't look for other tortoises in their territory to live with, in fact, they normally chase other tortoises out of their territory. She may be the dominant tortoise in the territory and she's stressed because she can't get rid of him. Her symptoms will probably clear up once he's got his own space and she's once again the Lone Ranger.
 

Jshapco2

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This is extremely helpful thank you! I never thought about her being stressed as a reason for the runny nose. The male rarely ever tries to mate with the female and they do have access to my whole back yard, but I am hopeful it is a misdiagnosis on the female. Maybe about 10 years ago we took her to a vet and gave her shots for the URTD during the winter. The runny nose came back pretty quickly, so maybe its just stress! This spring when she wakes up I will try keeping them separated. If I do get aldabras I am thinking of giving them access to the whole yard and keeping the desert tortoises in a pen. Is there any fear of disease transmission through dogs?
 

Yvonne G

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This is extremely helpful thank you! I never thought about her being stressed as a reason for the runny nose. The male rarely ever tries to mate with the female and they do have access to my whole back yard, but I am hopeful it is a misdiagnosis on the female. Maybe about 10 years ago we took her to a vet and gave her shots for the URTD during the winter. The runny nose came back pretty quickly, so maybe its just stress! This spring when she wakes up I will try keeping them separated. If I do get aldabras I am thinking of giving them access to the whole yard and keeping the desert tortoises in a pen. Is there any fear of disease transmission through dogs?
I don't know the answer to that, but if YOU can bring the critter into the pen on the bottom of your shoes, then the dogs can too. So, in THAT way the answer would be yes.
 

TeamZissou

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It might be a good idea to see if your tortoises are carriers of the disease so that you know what you're dealing with. It would probably just take finding a knowledgeable tortoise vet that can run a PCR test to determine if they have it.
 
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