Hello from MN!

Homeschool Mom

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Hello, We live in northern MN and have recently had our adult RT of 18 months (as in we've had him that long, he was adopted as an adult) diagnosed with shell rot. We had read and read before adopting him, had taken him to our vet who is experienced with reptiles for his "new pet" check up 2 summers ago and again for a 1 year check this summer. He was doing great after having been in our home and care for a year. However, we noticed a "spot" on his plastron on Friday & took him into the vet immediately only to discover his shell has been rotting from the "inside-out". He goes back Monday to have debris removed and we are following a strict regiment of soaking daily with antibiotics and starting oral or injected antibiotics Monday. The assumed culprit is lack of humidity in his enclosure and we are taking many steps to change his cage to make it more sterile for his time of healing. I don't need anyone hounding us on having let his shell "get to this point." We feel guilty and confused enough, having thought we were doing things well. I am joining for encouragement and information. We thought we were doing well and had read SO much from russiantortoise.net and other sources, but it turns out the dryness of a MN winter was too much for him this year all though last winter he made it through all right. Unless the culprit was some form of bacteria and fungus, which our vet said we can have a blood test done to diagnose, but she feels a broad spectrum antibiotic would be more beneficial. For now he will be in a slightly smaller cage as we guide him through the healing process, but we will be building him a custom tortoise table over the summer and would love to see/discuss plans for those if anyone has recommendations. The tortoise (Munchy) technically belongs to my 8 year old son and he (like myself) is having a hard time emotionally with this situation.

Munchy (4).JPG
 

Yvonne G

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Hi "Mom" and welcome to the Forum!

I've not heard of shell rot due to dry conditions. But you're lucky that you have a tortoise knowledgeable vet you can turn to. More than likely, what started the rotting problem was the bad conditions they go through during capture and shipping. They are piled up on top of each other and they get pooped and peed on and the live in those conditions until bought by the pet store.

It looks like your little guy might benefit from being fed on a rough piece of cement or some other rough surface. His top beak is growing a bit long.

Thanks for sharing your picture with us. I love seeing our new members' animals.
 

Kathy Coles

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I know how you feel about thinking you've read all about the tort then find out it wasn't quite right. Stay on this forum for the best, and tried, experience. I also had to completely transform my Zeb's enclosure a couple of times. And now he's out growing the great enclosure. Figures. But your tort has a nice smooth shell. He looks pretty.
 

lismar79

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The important thing is you care about him and want to do better! Welcome! You will find loads of info on here :)
 

Donna/Turbo

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He is so cute. I know this must be difficult. I am sure you will get the right advice from this forum. I have never met a group of people more experienced and willing to help than this on website. Doesn't matter how minor your questions are, they will help you find a solution!! Good luck.
 

weldorNate

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Nice looking tort I like my two Russians I keep my humidity around 30 to50%. It has been tough this winter with it being so dry
 

Grandpa Turtle 144

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Hello and welcome to the TFO from AZ . Your doing good and if you do the reading we have here you'll do Evan better . Russian torts rule !
 

Jacqui

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Hi and welcome! :) If anybody starts picking on you, please let me know and I will bop them on the head. My opinion is what happened in the past is over and can not be changed. You can only fix things in the here and now.
 

pam

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Welcome :) Great picture Russians are awesome :)
 

Tidgy's Dad

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Lovely tortoise. Hope all works out ok for you, Munchy and your son.
Welcome to the forum. And don't worry, trolls are rare here. We prefer help and encouragement to abuse and criticism.
My little girl needs her beak filed down a bit too. A rough tile or cement feeding square should do it.
Good luck
 

Homeschool Mom

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Thank you, everyone, for your warm welcomes! Sorry, I haven't responded sooner, we've been rather busy with our soaking, cleansing, bandaging routine. When we spoke to the vet after she removed debris from his shell, she seemed open to the idea that it could have been something bacterial/fungal/parasitic that caused the shell rot rather than the humidity in his cage. She stated we could do an expensive blood test but we felt it might better fit my budget to treat him with a medicated cream on his wounds and a general antibiotic rather than doing the expensive blood test. I felt comfortable with that decision & things were going well, his shell was starting to look much better this week and he was still eating and active. Tonight when my husband picked him up so I could administer his shot, we saw that he had a dark red (think the color of a beet only not purplish- dark red/maroon) on his tail and a small spot the size of a dime in his sphagnum moss bedding. Brought him into the brighter light and it appears to be red urine, no injury and when I rinsed his tail he attempted to defecate again and the dark red liquid returned. I held off on giving him his shot for the night (as the vet had warned me there can be side effects to the antibiotic, but she hadn't said what) and I will call the vet the minute they open in the morning. Googling "blood in tortoise urine" gave me two hints: parasites or kidney/liver failure. I don't know how I will sleep tonight. In hindsight, perhaps I should have kept the tissue with the bloody urine to show the vet, but I just cleaned him up and his cage and discarded it. Here I thought this was going as good as can be expected with shell rot.... And yes, I notice his beak definitely needs a trim, we started feeding him on a "rough" rock. He picks most of his food without hitting the rock though, so we may need to have the vet trim it. We have had one of those white bird cuttlebones (without the hard backing) in his cage and he has never been interested in it.
 

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