Early signs of an RI? Can things be fixed?

Reptilian Feline

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Embers isn't doing so well any more, but I think I caught it in time. His head was tilting to one side a few weeks ago and that scared me. Up until then he had been fine, eating and pooping and sharing a home with Tank Girl. Tank Girl was a bit reserved so Embers could be active and get to the food and hide where he wanted. I know that keeping two redfoots in the same enclosure can be a problem, but up to that point, they seemed fine. No apparent bullying and Tank Girl gave Embers (who is the smaller one) plenty of leaway.

So, the tilting head scared me. Temperature had been fluctuating outside because of autumn, and even if they are indoors, the temp will go up and down indoors as well as the heater responds to the outside temp. I quickly added more heat to the enclosure and things seemed to be improving. At least Tank Girl perked up, and Embers slowly stopped tilting his head.

Long story short, Embers didn't seem that happy to eat anymore and not very happy to walk around either. He would hide away as far from Tank Girl as possible in the hide, and I think that's how he almost got sick... the heat wouldn't reach him in there whith her blocking the entrance. So, I've moved him to the hospital tank, he has a nice cosy heat of about 32 celcius under the che, and last night he liked the sallad mix. When he gets to swim , he floats equally, so I don't think he has congested lungs, but this is really scary. I thought they were OK, living together, but when Tank Girl got more confident, Embers didn't have a chance. No apparent bullying, just an budding RI and not being happy.

I'm hoping extra heat, solitude in the tank, and more humidity will help him pull through. I'd hate to loose him. He is such a friendly little one.

On the other hand, Tank Girl will now take more than one piece of food from my hand at a time, so she has settled in well... and growing.
 

JoesMum

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Bullying can be mental as well as physical. You often can’t see it happening. I am glad they are now separated.

I am concerned about “swimming”. Redfoots are land tortoises. Siaking is good. Swimming isn’t.

These two need a review of their accommodation. Please can you post photos of their homes and lighting along with details of temperatures day and night.

@Anyfoot - more redfoots in need!
 

Reptilian Feline

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Bullying can be mental as well as physical. You often can’t see it happening. I am glad they are now separated.

I am concerned about “swimming”. Redfoots are land tortoises. Siaking is good. Swimming isn’t.

These two need a review of their accommodation. Please can you post photos of their homes and lighting along with details of temperatures day and night.

@Anyfoot - more redfoots in need!
Actually, swimming is ok for redfoots that like it. One Polish site actually described the pool they should have in their enclosure to be happy. Embers like swimming while soaking, Tank Girl doesn't. So when I let Embers soak, I usually raise the water level after his first poop. He will then swim a little, and poop again (when things are normal). He is never ever left alone when the water is deep enough for him to swim.
It is common among turtle keepers to find that a turtle with RI is listing to one side while swimming. When Embers' head was tilted the most, he also listed to one side. Using that to check the progress of health is OK, I think. If I suspected Tank Girl to have the sniffles, I would place her in enough water to float or swim as well, in order to check.

Now, the problem seemed to be a temperature problem at first, but Tank Girl was fine, even more active than before. Embers was pushed to the back, where the heat from the CHEs didn't reach. It was an oversight from me, I admit that freely.

The hospital box is small, warm and humid, a place to heal.

Embers gets extra warm soaks every day now, with extra treats to make him eat. Tank Girl is happily banging on the walls to get out or get a treat every evening. She is fine.

Question. Is there any particular food I should give Embers to make his recovery faster? Should I move the UVB tube to the hospital box, or rely on calcium + D3 instead?

I will set up a separate enclosure for Embers when he's feeling better. It will be on the small side, but will have to do until summer, when I can build a larger tank for Tank Girl. I have no room to cut and grind and paint exept outside, so I need to wait until the weather permit me to do so. In the mean time, they will get more "out of the tank"-time. The dogs are finally fine with the attention the new critters are getting and will now leave us alone when the torts are out and about getting their exercise.
 

Anyfoot

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Sounds like you are using an open enclosure so your torts can't possibly have the correct ambient temperature unless the whole room your enclosure in is 86f ish.
We need to see the enclosures to help you.
 

Reptilian Feline

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The enclosure is a glass-only fishtank. It's covered. The hospital box is also covered. That one is plastic.

I need to get a larger variety of CHE's to find the right temp.... I'm thinking that I have to adapt according to the weather. Our indoor temp is at its highest during freezing winter days, and hot summer days. It is now autumn and the outside temp is going up and down like a jojo and the heater is trying to catch up.

I can understand why some people will find the idea of indoor temps fluctuating as an oddity, but for us with a heating system with an outdoor sensor, and the heater being electric to heat the water and the watercarried heaters in the rooms, it does go up and down a lot when the seasons change.

Embers is doing a lot better in the hospital box.... last night he pooped twice and ate dandelion, sallad and saw thistle. For some reason he doesn't want pellets (rehydrated) at the moment. He used to like that a lot, but maybe now he feels like grean leaves are best.

So... I've been thinking about what happened to Embers, and this is my theory:
I had made sure the temp in the coolest spot wasn't too cold, but that was when it was still sort of summer. It was also before I got this big plastic bucket för a hide for them to share. I added another CHE to compensate for the bucket-hide, but when Tank Girl decided to sleep closest to the opening and so she was in the way for Embers to get out. I think he ended up in a spot that got too cold and damp for a while. I should have remeasured the temp, but they dig a lot and the sensor gets moved around.

I never thought it might be the temp that vould keep them from staying together, I thought bullying would first. When things seemed fine, I never thought I would have to separate them until I could build a new enclosure next summer.

I'm sure I caught it in time. Embers is getting better and he can't get too cold in the hospital box. Tank Girl can't hide in the coolest corner in her enclosure because she is too big.

@Anyfoot - do you know where I can find out what size CHE is apropriate for what size or height of tank? I think that I bought some that are not strong enough because I was afraid I'd fry the torts.

BTW - I know I shouldn't have bought both of them, but that is my mistake and I (we) love them both and are looking forward to a long long life with them, especially after the dogs are gone from old age. I knew they would need their own setups eventually, just not so soon.

To sum up... heating is the key and when the house temperature is fluctuating, the cool spot might end up too cold before the heating of the house catches up. If this is a problem in a smaller tank, goodness know how I'll keep the heat up in a larger one. I think I'll need to look at greenhouse heaters, because reptile heaters for larger tanks are hard to find here in Sweden... or maybe I don't know what to look for. A CHE gets very hot close up, I have markings on my arm to prove it, and with limited height a number of smaller ones, have to be isntalled instead, right?

Sorry! I was freaking out, but I am sure things will be fine now. I just need to figure out the configuration of the CHEs. The mini 40W is perfect for the hospital box, keeping at a snug 33 celcius just below it. If I need to make a ramp with 3 or 4 of those in a row for the larger tank, then that's what I'll do. I'll go to the hardware store and buy the fixtures and some cable and put it together. I'm sure the thermostat can work with a row of them as well as with just one larger one.
 

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