Can someone help me out here (problem swallowing)

GingerLove

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So I just noticed a problem with Ginger. First of all, since yesterday, Ginger has been chewing/swallowing a lot. She takes longer to eat her food as it takes her a while to do the swallowing/chewing thing. It seems as if everything keeps getting stuck in her throat, but it never used to before!
Then I noticed she yawned this morning. I've only seen her yawn once before. And finally, outside today, I went to check on her and she was munching on some grass and suddenly gave a little squeak and starting trying to spit something out. She got bubbly at the mouth but nothing came out, and then she went back to eating as if nothing was wrong.
I get stressed super easily, and I'm afraid that something is stuck in her throat. :( I read that she might be getting a respiratory infection!!!!! What can I do to prevent this from happening? The only thing I've changed semi-recently was her light bulb to a better one that was highly recommended on the forum!! Help!!!
 

MPRC

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Is she wheezing, squeaking or whistling while she breathes? Does it seem labored at all? Any sneezing?

My RF's will foam at the mouth if they eat something bitter or sour like citrus or oxalis.

I feel like if there is something stuck in her throat she is probably going to be struggling constantly to get it out. Think of any time you have choked on food, you want it out NOW. I suppose she could have scratched her throat and be irritated, but ot me it sounds more like congestion.

Are her temps staying the same with the winter weather? I don't know where you are located, but up north we had to make a lot of changes to keep the critters warm.
 

GingerLove

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Is she wheezing, squeaking or whistling while she breathes? Does it seem labored at all? Any sneezing?

My RF's will foam at the mouth if they eat something bitter or sour like citrus or oxalis.

I feel like if there is something stuck in her throat she is probably going to be struggling constantly to get it out. Think of any time you have choked on food, you want it out NOW. I suppose she could have scratched her throat and be irritated, but ot me it sounds more like congestion.

Are her temps staying the same with the winter weather? I don't know where you are located, but up north we had to make a lot of changes to keep the critters warm.

She only wheezes when she is being soaked. She's done that for as long as I can remember. But she rarely ever squeaks, but it was definately a squeak when that thing was stuck in her mouth. Her breathing doesn't seem labored, but when she foamed at the mouth, it definately was. No sneezing. And I live in Florida, so I've never really had to worry about the weather. Do you think she could have scratched her throat from eating something thorny? How long will it take to heal if so? Or will it not heal and I need to do something? Thank you for all of the advice. She seems to be doing better tonight, but I haven't fed her again since her "gag" reaction.
 

GingerLove

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Okay, so today, she is still chewing/swallowing consistently. I'm really worried. I think it's a respiratory infection. What should I do? Is it because her substrate is too wet? I'm going to take her leaky water bowl out of the cage immediately and I'm thinking of putting towels over the dirt to keep it dry. I'm not sure what else to do for a respiratory infection! Anyone please help!!!!
@Yvonne G , have you dealt with this before?
@deadheadvet , what would you recommend I do?
 

SarahChelonoidis

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The photos aren't in focus enough for me to see shell rot.

Temperatures are the first go to if you suspect a sick tortoise. How warm is your basking spot? How cold is your lowest nighttime temperature?
 

GingerLove

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I will have to take more pictures this afternoon as I have to leave for work soon, but the temperatures at night are 74 and during the day it is about 89.1 in the hottest spot. My temperature thing is not super accurate, but that is the general warmth. Is it too cold at night, do you think?
 

SarahChelonoidis

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For a Russian, your lows are fine. They are on the warmer side of things. Your basking spot is not high enough though - you need to raise that temperature. Getting an accurate thermometer is important here.
 

GingerLove

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Okay, thank you so much!! I will try to get another reading later. My clock has a thermometer reading on it and I think I'll stick it in the cage for a bit and see what is says when I get back from work. I definitely need a more accurate thermometer. So I need warmth, sunlight, and warm soaks to get rid of a respiratory infection, correct? Is there anything else can I do?
And am I supposed to use athlete's foot cream for shell rot? Will it hurt any to use it if she doesn't really have shell rot? Thanks again, Miss Sarah!
 

SarahChelonoidis

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It won't hurt to treat it. There are instructions on many threads that can walk you through shell rot.

A good thermometer is an essential for keeping tortoises healthy. They aren't a big expense but extremely valuable. I recommend popping out to a hardware store and picking up a couple digital thermometers ASAP.

Correct temperatures are most important. You don't have a species that needs high humidity, so making sure when your temps drop at night you don't have an overly humid enclosure is important too. Humid and cold = sick. Antibiotics from a vet may be needed if increasing your basking temp doesn't cut it.
 

Tom

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Okay, thank you so much!! I will try to get another reading later. My clock has a thermometer reading on it and I think I'll stick it in the cage for a bit and see what is says when I get back from work. I definitely need a more accurate thermometer. So I need warmth, sunlight, and warm soaks to get rid of a respiratory infection, correct? Is there anything else can I do?
And am I supposed to use athlete's foot cream for shell rot? Will it hurt any to use it if she doesn't really have shell rot? Thanks again, Miss Sarah!

What sort of environment is Ginger living in? Indoors or outdoors? What substrate and how damp? Where does she sleep at night and how damp is it there? Can we see a picture?

You definitely need a 100 degree basking spot. It will hurt nothing if you add another incandescent bulb during the day and generally warm things up and dry things out for a little while. Keep daytime temps all over 85-90 for two weeks after these symptoms stop. I'd keep nighttime temps 75-80 for that time frame too with the help of a CHE set on a thermostat.
 

GingerLove

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Ginger lives indoors and gets outside every day for a half hour or more (unless it's raining). It is usually sunny when she goes out. She lives on coconut coir.... it is, unfortunately, often damp in the middle because of my occasionally leaky water bowl. Here is a picture of Ginger's cage, things have been slightly rearranged and the log is now in the shade and the water dish in the middle. newcage 016.JPG
 
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