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Green and yellow mucous- please help with experiences???

Discussion in 'Redfoot and yellowfoot tortoises' started by Mantissa3, May 3, 2015.

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  1. Mantissa3

    Mantissa3 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg Hi all Redfoot keepers- my dear little Gibby, is sick. I need your help and I can't find anything at all on these symptoms. That may totally be because I don't know the words to use on a search on the Health boards.

    Will someone please help me? He is scrubbing and scrubbing at the sides of his head with both legs, but one side, then the other.

    He's not eating (for 2 days) and he hasn't pooped for a couple of days either. He's drinking water and expelling the little "floods" out his nose and mouth after his deep drinks, so I think he's trying to purge or cleanse inside his sinuses and throat.

    Also- I'm attaching some really gross pictures of what is coming out of his vent/bottom - no poo, just these stringy yellow-green mucous things.

    I've got a vet appointment tomorrow afternoon, but I'd like to go in with some language or hints about what is going on with him, so they don't poke, prod and freak him out running a general panel and testing if at all possible.

    THANK YOU SO MUCH, IN ADVANCE, if you can shed any light at all. He looks great- no ticking or respitoray distress, no abcesses around his ears, etc.
    Karen
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2015
  2. crimson_lotus

    crimson_lotus Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I'm thinking parasites with that really weird yellow mucus. I would get a stool sample and tell your vet to check for flagellates as well. For scratching the ears and eyes, what kind of bulb are you using? Some bulbs can damage a tortoises eyes. Sometimes scratching the ears and eyes could also mean there is an ear or eye infection.

    How long have you had the tortoise, what substrate are you using, and what are the temperatures and humidity percentage?
  3. Killerrookie

    Killerrookie Well-Known Member

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    To me it seems like a RI (Respiratory Infection). What are your day and night temps at? What is your humidity at? Most RI's are caused by a cold temp and is humid in the enclosure and can cause them to get sick. It sounds like he's trying to get the mucus out of his mouth and nose with his legs because tortoise can not sneeze or cough it out like other animals. Most of the time the vet will give you some antibiotics. ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1430696617.352103.jpg
    But it could also be parasites and I have no expertise in that area.
    I wish you good luck and hope your tort gets well.
    Mantissa3 likes this.
  4. crimson_lotus

    crimson_lotus Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I was thinking that he was vomiting the water back out, which could also be high parasite load. Just make sure you have all of this in mind when you go to the vet, it may very well be a respiratory infection too. Do NOT let them give your tortoise a vitamin injection - this is fine for mammals and some vets inexperienced with tortoises/reptiles don't know that it can slough their skin off and it's super easy to overdose.
  5. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    When a tortoise spends a lot of time wiping at his face with his front legs, it might be a couple different things - something stuck in his throat, his nose is plugged up or there's something in his eyes, or the eyes are sore from the light.

    Scrape up that mucous and put it into a little plastic container and seal it (a sandwich baggie would be ok) and take it with you to the vet. The vets don't usually check for flagellates when checking for parasites, so ask him to be sure to check for flagellates.

    Whatever you do, if he wants to give the animal an injection containing vitamin A, ask him to not give that one. It's much easier on the tortoise to get the vitamin A into him through his soaking water or food and the injection might end up being problematic.
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  6. Mantissa3

    Mantissa3 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Thanks for your prompt response- I've had Gibby since he was near-egg-sized, so since he was about 3 months old as far as I can tell. I used cyprus mulch and a broad spectrum mercury vapor bulb at a height above the enclosure that won't burn or hurt his eyes. His temp in his hide swings from around 72 at lowest to around 92 at the highest, at the hottest part of the day with his lamp on.

    His habitat has been clean and stable for the past 2 1/2 years, and he goes outside as much as I can possibly take him out- he has about 1600 square feet of varying habitat to roam around in, in our backyard. He has about a 200 sf strip of "shade plants" that he roots around in, digs snails, takes naps in the heat of the day. He's had the same routine, the same yard, the same plants, the same diet, and the same heated floor and substrate (thanks to Terry-O's instructive heated floor tortoise terrarium habitat instructions) since he came home with me.

    The only thing I can possibly think of that has changed is that he and the other 2 redfoot babies I keep found a chunk of a smelly dead squirrel in the backyard about 2 weeks ago. I think the dead animal bits were dropped by a hawk or a cat, and they all fell on it like ravenous wolves. I had to actually gently pull the carcass out of my smallest rf babies mouth before they would leave it.

    I'm worried the dead smelly animal gave Gib an infection or disease or something.

    Thanks again- I just needed some guidance when I talk to the vet tomorrow afternoon- I'm total nerves and emotions right now.
    k
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  7. Mantissa3

    Mantissa3 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Thanks so much for the best wishes Killerrookie! The other two babies we adopted were half-dead when we got them with wheezing, lethargy, undersized and malnourished- they both got Baytril from the herp vet in our area and both recovered, although I must say the littlest baby had a REALLY hard time on Baytril and we are not going to allow him to have Baytril ever again- he was likely allergic, and it absolutely destroyed all the good bacteria in his body- we almost lost him because he was too sick to eat for a month and he was underweight and scrawny when we rescued him...

    If he has an RI, it's a weird one since he doesn't have runny eyes or nose, or ticking when he breathes - we went through that with both the little guys we rescued, but maybe I'm catching it early since I know Gib so well and caught on right away that he was acting funny. With the other two, the RI was full-blown at time of rescue, so it was pretty far advanced in both of them.

    I'll mention RI to the vet, so she can take a look- thank you so much for responding!
    k
  8. Mantissa3

    Mantissa3 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Thanks so much Yvonne! You have helped me so much with your posts the past 2 years- I totally respect your wisdom, experience, and your hunches. I just bathed him with some electrolytes in the warm bath water. I used some opthalmic ointment on his eyes when I took him out of his bath, in case he's rubbing due to dry eyes, as you posted here.

    Thanks for the tip on asking for the test or exam for flagellates! I will also ask for no vit A shot- we got that one for one of the little rescues one time, and it helped him because he was malnourished, neglected, chronically starved and dehydrated, and I think an injection of tap water would've helped him at that point, but in this case, Gibby is very healthy, active, and I know the history of his large, consistent appetite and his behaviour. No vit A shots for him- he loves dark leafies and I can give him carrot soaks since he always takes big drinks when he bathes. It's a great point, thank you.

    I put the mucous strings in a plastic baggie and sealed it- hopefully they will be able to tell a lot from the specimen.

    Thanks for your prompt help and responses! More soon when his condition changes- hopefully for the best when the vet nails the diagnosis and treats my dear little Gibby.

    Best,
    k
  9. crimson_lotus

    crimson_lotus Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Sounds like you're doing great with their care, and I'm happy that you've made them an outdoor habitat, I think you're right, the issue may have been that dead squirrel. Keep us updated, and good luck at the vet!
  10. Mantissa3

    Mantissa3 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Thank you! As Wellington told me when I first joined this wonderful forum, I'm a "worry-wart tortie mommie" and the way I always conquer worry and fear is education- this forum and the RF companions who are monitoring are wonderful and a gift from God for my little guys and me.

    So- last little bit of fear and worry over that darned squirrel carcass - is it possible Gib got sick but the other two didn't even show any signs of distress or illness? They were all 3 gnawing on it with gusto - very bonding for the three of them as a little herd, but nearly made me hurl! Also, our herp vet (I emailed him immediately after cleaning them all up and feeding them fresh leafies and some fruit and veggies to flush their little systems) said it shouldn't hurt them because in the wild they eat all manner of poo and carrion and whatnot, and they are built for it.
    k
  11. domalle

    domalle Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Your herp vet is correct. Redfoots prowl the ground searching for anything fallen; leaves, flowers, fruit, live, dead, decaying animals. They are part of nature's cleanup crew. It is unlikely that a redfoot would be sickened by feeding on an animal carcass unless the animal had been poisoned. If the squirrel died naturally I am sure it is OK, even healthy and in line with the natural inclinations of these opportunistic omnivores. Mine get occasional roadkill.
  12. Mantissa3

    Mantissa3 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Thank you Domalle: OK, and I couldn't think why the biggest tortie in the herd would get sick and the two little ones, gnawing on the same dead animal, would get a pass. I'm just really stumped about Gib falling ill, then the green-yellow discharge out of his tail area. I looked carefully this afternoon, and the discharge I show above came out of his vent, not a cut around his legs or tail. He has no swelling, no noisy breathing, but he won't eat (totally unusual for Gib who loves to sit on my lap and get hand fed fruits and veggies and lettuce) and he hasn't had a bowel movement for at least 2 days. Although he is drinking a lot in his bath, and he is urinating and it looks like a lot of fluid being discharged and the same watery yellow color as always.

    All I can think of is parasites or a blockage of the intestines... Do you think I"m endangering his life by waiting until tomorrow afternoon to take him to the vet, after I get off work? (that question is for anybody/everybody who is reading this, please?)

    Thank you!
    Karen
  13. Mantissa3

    Mantissa3 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Quick update on the goopy, stringy discharge from Gib's vent- I took him to a really good herp vet today that specializes in torts and turtles. She said absolutely no sign of any RI at all, which is awesome. Gib discharged some of the stringy goop when he urinated on the exam table, though, so she took it and did two cultures- one for parasites and one for broad spectrum infection. No visible parasites of any kind, but we still don't have a full stool sample. She did gram negative and gram positive stains, and as in all torties, lots of gram negative bacteria, and just a small touch of gram positive. She said she believes he ate something that is irritating his digestive track and this stringy stuff is his internal digestive cells sloughing off of the sites of irritation.

    She also did an x-ray and can see something that is small and round, but it should be small enough that he should be able to pass it naturally, and she will call me in the morning once the exotic pet x-ray tech has a look to interpret the x-ray. She also said it is not dense enough to be a pebble or rock, so she's a bit puzzled. I'm worried it may be a round bird seed or piece of popcorn that comes mixed in with birdseed. He goes outside a lot, and in the wild bird seed and pigeon mix we see some popcorn and big round seeds- hoping they soften and pass without damaging him.

    Gibby still feels low tonight, even though she gave him IV fluids today. He's resting on my lap in his heating pad with moisture, and tucked up under the palm of my hand like he used to do when he was just a hatchling baby.

    Thank you to each of you who responded last evening- I appreciate your support so much, and wanted to let you know for future reference if you see stringy goop coming from their backsides, it "may be" an irritant in the digestive track lining or in lining of the intestines.

    More updates tomorrow and if he finally passes whatever is on the x-ray.

    With respect and gratitude,
    Karen, Gib, Pumpkin and Bump
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  14. tortadise

    tortadise Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    How is your set up? Could we see a picture and know the temperatures day/night? Scratching the face can be too hot. But this mucous for sure looks like it's an infection or Protozoa of some sort. Even though they did a fecal on the stringy stuff doesn't mean internal parasites could not be present and or shedding at the moment, but are these young ones correct?
  15. Mantissa3

    Mantissa3 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg 4.jpg 5.jpg 6.jpg 8.jpg post temp.jpg
    Thanks for your kind response Kelly - I really enjoy looking at your Sanctuary page, by the way. You do such a great job of giving your herd the best care.

    I'm posting some pics of Gib's habitat with this reply. I keep his general substrate (eye level to Gibby) at 80% R/H and 80 degrees F. When he was about 1 year old I had him in the backyard on a really warm summer day, and he burrowed into a "brush pile" where we had chopped up some old crab grass, some very small bush trimmings, and some grass hay and laid it out to dry. When I saw Gibby dozing contenedly in that brush pile, we cut up some of the smaller bits of it and put it into his indoor habitat, and he's been a "brush pile sleeper" ever since.

    I sometimes find him wedged at an angle, or "standing nearly straight up" against the side and the cushiony brush pile. My husband and I speculate that it feels good to change resting positions sometimes, and this is supported by some pictures we've seen of wild redfoots in the Amazon forests and grasslands.

    The temp/humidity composite image is include here for your reference- this is standard 80/80 we keep it at, but back inside his brush pile, under the breathable shade cloth cover (and towels over that in colder temps, to keep the heat/humidity stable in his hide) it can get as high as 90 sometimes - I keep an eye on it during the summer, but Gib seems to like it dark, damp and hot sometimes. He also basks under the MVB and lays in his wading pool sometimes too - you will see his shallow pond near the temp sensor. We keep a fresh plate of fruits, veggies, sprouts, greans and outdoor flowers and leaves (washed after being grown for our herd) in the shade near his brush pile.

    The burgundy-colored control picture turned out blurry, but I usually have it set steady at "86" on the control, but measure his substrate and hide temps too, as well as spot-checking temps under his MVB where he lays "in the sun" sometimes. Depends upon where you put the sensor for the burgundy control, how hot the habitat really stays.

    When Gib was just a few months old, and I realized I wasn't doing a great job of regulation of temp and R/H, I consulted with a few veterans here, and was directed to Terry-O's "how to" pages, so I gave Gib a heated floor using hardware cloth, waterproof heating cable, and the burgundy control. Now when he burrows into the cypress mulch, moss, peat and coir mix, he finds heat along with the humidity, not just wet and cold underneath the spot-heated surface of the substrate. Until this recent bump in the road, he's been gaining size and weight steadily for 3 years (slower in the winter with short, dark days of course, even though we keep his MVB on 10-12 hours per day, trying to simulate equatorial day/night cycles.) I think they can "feel" short, dark, barometric pressure rise and fall, in spite of the artificially-created conditions in my house.

    He's been living in the 5.5 foot x 3.5 foot x 2.5 foot high plastic tile grout mixing tub for about the past 18 months. He had another, smaller version when he was younger but started to fuss and feel constricted so we got him the large one and he settled back into his preferred indoor routine with me.

    Any comments and feedback are always most welcome- I love him and get too close to the situation emotionally.

    He passed a hard object this morning. Whether he has parasites or not remains to be tested when I can get the stool sample over to the vet (working today- lost some time due to Gib being sick and needing extra attention.) Also, I'm not going to treat him for any parasites (aka putting poison directly into his mouth and digestive track and blood system) until I know he's healed and feeling better from the hard object scraping his little stomach and intestingal linings.

    It doesn't make any sense to me to pour (even mild) poison down his throat with scratches in his system where the poison could collect, irrate the sensitive, scratched tissue, or concentratee. Wild tortoises live with a lot of parasites so this is low on my medical priority list, now that I know he swallowed, then passed, a hard object with a coupld of semi-sharp edges.

    Again- comments from you and All very much welcome at any time,
    Karen
  16. tortadise

    tortadise Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    That's a fantastic setup for sure. I'd hope he turns for the better soon. For sure I'd get a good fecal done, with lots of live plants it creates an ecosystem for other creatures. Most being microscopic. So somewhere along the line he could of ingested some Protozoa or flukes. Sometimes there hard to see for gets. A good decal float should catch most round,flat, hook, some coccidia and nematodes. But if not and problem persist I'd recommend a PCR analysis.
  17. Mantissa3

    Mantissa3 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Thanks so much for the great suggestions- what is a PCR analysis, and what does it find out about his condition, please?

    Sorry- he's just never been ill before so I am on a massive (and stressful) learning curve.
  18. tortadise

    tortadise Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    PCR is polymerase chain reaction. It's a very advanced method for testing and diagnosing infectious diseases, they also use it for a number of other things in science like genetic testing, DNA sequencing, paternity testing. It can see things that a traditional microscope, smear, or bacterial culture can't. Cloacal swabs are the best way to get them. Your vet can send off for one through the university of Florida.
  19. tortadise

    tortadise Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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  20. tortadise

    tortadise Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    Is he at least eating and active? Just expelling the goo is all?
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