Hello! CA Desert Tort Question

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1TORT4ME

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Hello! My family has 1 CA Desert Tortoise. She lives at my father's house since that is the yard she knows and is comfortable in (I tried to move her to my house but she would not stop pacing and digging). I haven't seen her for a few years and my father mentioned that she has grown a sort of hook/beak from her top lip. Apparently it has grown so much that she no longer will eat lettuce or flowers but she still grazes on the grass. I haven't seen it yet but I'm guessing it is impeding her ability to open her mouth wide enough to take a bite.

She's never had this problem before and we've had her for 37 yrs. What causes this? Can it be trimmed or filed off? Is this a vet only procedure? What can we do to prevent this in the future?
 

wellington

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Hello and Welcome:) yes it can be file, or trimmed. Also a drummel can be used. A vet can also do it if you don't feel comfortable enough. I can't tell you why or how it happened after all these years, but I can tell you how you can try to prevent it. However, if she just grazes then this won't help. If you feed her on a ruff flat rock, or piece of tile, it will file itself down as she eats. If you don't feed her, maybe lay out a few flat rocks and every day put some kind of food item you know she likes, even just the weeds she eats. Hopefully she will find them and eat them off the rock.
 

Yvonne G

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Hi, and welcome to the Forum!
 

1TORT4ME

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Thanks for the response. Since my post I read a thread about using nippers or a dremel. I don't think she is going to be cooperative but I'll try. If not, I'll take her to the vet. I can tell my dad to start feeding her on the concrete patio, he doesn't give her much, she mostly eats what is growing in the yard (planted specifically for her) but he occasionally lets her indulge on a piece of watermelon.
 

Team Gomberg

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Letting her graze naturally but offering any additional foods on the concrete patio sounds like a great plan for beak maintenance.

Heather
sent while on my purple android TFOapp
 

ascott

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May we see a pic of the beak? Lets make sure it is just an overgrown beak and not a broken off piece appearing like a hook????

After all, torts maintain their beak healthy by grazing and the biting and tearing wears the beak down....so I would be curious to see what you are referring to...
 

1TORT4ME

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I don't have any pics. I actually haven't even seen it myself.

We decided to take her to the vet. Her appointment is next week. She hasn't been to the vet in a few years and since this is something new I don't feel comfortable diagnosing/treating it myself.

I thought it was odd that she would have a beak now too since she grazes and seeks out her own food in the yard. One of the things she eats grows on a block wall so I'd think that would take care of any overgrowth but maybe because she doesn't bite down onto the wall it isn't helping wear down her beak.

She had bladder stone surgery about 5 years ago and the vet did mention she had an overbite and a slight beak but we told her we had never done anything about it so she said it would probably never be a problem since she was already at least 52 years old.

We'll see what they say. I hope it's nothing serious. She's been with my family so long it would be like losing a relative. :(
 

Tom

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Just don't allow the vet to give any "vitamin" injections. For some reason they all want to do this, and it can really hurt or kill them. Physical and fecal exams would be great though.
 
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