Is this normal?

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@AshleeSparling, an animal with a bladder stone(s) can exhibit labored breathing and nasal discharge. He would have to be pretty stopped up before you saw these issues on the front end. Is he eating and pooping normally? I would say that this is an unlikely source of the problem but you have said you have never seen him drink water so I would not completely rule out a stone. It would be easy to diagnose via xray next time you have him at the vet.

If you want answers, and are willing to spend the money, talk to your vet about submitting samples for the Chelonian Respiratory Disease Panel at UF. It may give you peace of mind knowing what the problem is but none of these diseases are curable. Knowing what you are dealing with can help you treat the animal and manage the disease for a very long time.
https://cdpm.vetmed.ufl.edu/services/zmdxlab/available-tests/chelonian-tests-and-panels/

You seem extremely concerned about this guy, I don't want to alarm you with additional possibilities. I have been in your shoes before and even lost animals while waiting for a diagnosis. Ultimately it was discussions with other tortoise keepers that led us to the proper diagnosis and the right vets to deal with the problem. Listen to the husbandry advice you are getting from the group here (temperature and soaks), share your updates here and keep working with your vet.
He is drinking and has been pooping but it's softer than it used to be. I've seen him drink in the last couple days, I gave him a soak and he drank lots of water. I'm very concerned, I'm not sure what to look for to tell what he's got
 

dd33

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He is drinking and has been pooping but it's softer than it used to be. I've seen him drink in the last couple days, I gave him a soak and he drank lots of water. I'm very concerned, I'm not sure what to look for to tell what he's got
The change in poop could possibly be attributed to the antibiotic use. The fact that he is still pooping is a good sign. It can take tortoises many months to recover from an illness, this guy isn't going to bounce back overnight. If he is still eating, drinking or pooping you are probably making progress.
 
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The change in poop could possibly be attributed to the antibiotic use. The fact that he is still pooping is a good sign. It can take tortoises many months to recover from an illness, this guy isn't going to bounce back overnight. If he is still eating, drinking or pooping you are probably making progress.
He is doing all three of those things. He just has a concerning wheeze, he's a little more lazy than usual not moving around all day anymore, and he's passing large urates. He pooped yesterday but it's still early today. He will get another soak tonight
 
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He is doing all three of those things. He just has a concerning wheeze, he's a little more lazy than usual not moving around all day anymore, and he's passing large urates. He pooped yesterday but it's still early today. He will get another soak tonight
If his wheeze doesn't go away, should we go back to the vet?
 

dd33

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If his wheeze doesn't go away, should we go back to the vet?
That is a tough question. If you resolve the temperature and humidity issues in his enclosure and he doesn't continue to make slow/steady improvements once his course of antibiotics are completed I would go back to the vet. There is probably no harm in continuing with an additional course of antibiotics but it if were me I would want diagnostic work to find out what the source of the problem is.
 
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That is a tough question. If you resolve the temperature and humidity issues in his enclosure and he doesn't continue to make slow/steady improvements once his course of antibiotics are completed I would go back to the vet. There is probably no harm in continuing with an additional course of antibiotics but it if were me I would want diagnostic work to find out what the source of the problem is.
Thank you. I appreciate your advice. He's my only pet, I love him with all my heart. I wish I could have known all his needs his whole life so I could have always met them but I struggled to find reliable information.
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Thank you. I appreciate your advice. He's my only pet, I love him with all my heart. I wish I could have known all his needs his whole life so I could have always met them but I struggled to find reliable information.
While you can't get into the tortoise head, you can learn more about him every day. Everyone has had his own trials and errors period.

You are in luck (just like me) to find this forum. Here you can get all much needed information how to make your guy thrive and get advice and support when something's going off.

I think, you are on the right track now and he's getting well.
 
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@AshleeSparling, an animal with a bladder stone(s) can exhibit labored breathing and nasal discharge. He would have to be pretty stopped up before you saw these issues on the front end. Is he eating and pooping normally? I would say that this is an unlikely source of the problem but you have said you have never seen him drink water so I would not completely rule out a stone. It would be easy to diagnose via xray next time you have him at the vet.

If you want answers, and are willing to spend the money, talk to your vet about submitting samples for the Chelonian Respiratory Disease Panel at UF. It may give you peace of mind knowing what the problem is but none of these diseases are curable. Knowing what you are dealing with can help you treat the animal and manage the disease for a very long time.
https://cdpm.vetmed.ufl.edu/services/zmdxlab/available-tests/chelonian-tests-and-panels/

You seem extremely concerned about this guy, I don't want to alarm you with additional possibilities. I have been in your shoes before and even lost animals while waiting for a diagnosis. Ultimately it was discussions with other tortoise keepers that led us to the proper diagnosis and the right vets to deal with the problem. Listen to the husbandry advice you are getting from the group here (temperature and soaks), share your updates here and keep working with your vet.
He pooped and peed today this morning with no urates, I got the temperature controllers and I'm keeping it at 88°, he received his 7th shot yesterday. He still has a bad wheeze, sounds a little congested. Sometimes when he inhales I can hear a pop like snot clearing out of his airways. He is extremely active, I've never seen him try to climb up a wall before but he's getting some height. Is it possible that maybe he just sounds like that? It's a whistle/wheeze.
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Hello! Thank you for the update.
1. I think you need another vet appointment. I don't expect any urgency here - maybe after all shots. Sometimes, if Fortaz doesn't work another type of antibiotic treatment may be prescribed.
2. Meanwhile, try to use oil-radiator as a heat source and raise humidity in the enclosure. I doubt you can do this with CHEs (hot and humid air will escape through the mesh top).
3. You are doing great to help you guy to get well. I hope this will work out.

By the way, can you make a photo of temperature controller probes placement?
 
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Hello! Thank you for the update.
1. I think you need another vet appointment. I don't expect any urgency here - maybe after all shots. Sometimes, if Fortaz doesn't work another type of antibiotic treatment may be prescribed.
2. Meanwhile, try to use oil-radiator as a heat source and raise humidity in the enclosure. I doubt you can do this with CHEs (hot and humid air will escape through the mesh top).
3. You are doing great to help you guy to get well. I hope this will work out.

By the way, can you make a photo of temperature controller probes placement?
Thank you for your continued help.

1) I'm trying to get ahold of a vet who can help me. The vet I took him to that prescribed the antibiotics can't run very many tests at his facility so he recommended I go somewhere else. It'll probably be about a week or 2 after his medicine runs out because I called these places initially with an emergency and they said they are booked out by usually about a month and there is a waiting period for new patients.

2) we tried the space heater, it's dangerous. The floor gets lava hot, burns your feet to walk on and it's wood. So I'm not sure how we will incorporate that into here maybe we will just get a different one.

3) these controllers were working good, but I think maybe the lamps aren't powerful enough. They were cheap, so I put his old expensive one on and I'm hoping for the best. The cheap ones struggled to maintain temperature even when connected to the controllers.

4) we are giving him his 8th shot today, he has 2 left.
 

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Alex and the Redfoot

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Thank you for the detailed update!
1. Okay, I think two weeks after Fortaz will show if there is a stable improvement and if second vet visit is necessary.
2. It should not be like this if there is enough space around. This heater has two knobs - one for thermostat (temperature setting) and the second regulating how many heating elements are on. You can try to set it on minimum (600 watt), this way it should not get too hot.
3. Controllers don't give a boost to lamp power, just in case. I don't think that cheap CHEs are *that* bad, that they don't give labeled heat output. It's more about positioning and domes you use (putting them on top of the enclosure means that the most heat goes up in the outer space and narrow domes make heat projection "spot-like").

I would try to hang the domes from the mesh inside of the enclosure. But the trouble is that you need to put something under, so your guy doesn't rest directly under them. If you can remove the domes itselves (leaving only the sockets with CHEs) this would be less drying and give more ambient heat.

Or you can get a mini (half height, 600w) oil-filled radiator, like you suggested, and install it in the enclosure.
 
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Thank you for the detailed update!
1. Okay, I think two weeks after Fortaz will show if there is a stable improvement and if second vet visit is necessary.
2. It should not be like this if there is enough space around. This heater has two knobs - one for thermostat (temperature setting) and the second regulating how many heating elements are on. You can try to set it on minimum (600 watt), this way it should not get too hot.
3. Controllers don't give a boost to lamp power, just in case. I don't think that cheap CHEs are *that* bad, that they don't give labeled heat output. It's more about positioning and domes you use (putting them on top of the enclosure means that the most heat goes up in the outer space and narrow domes make heat projection "spot-like").

I would try to hang the domes from the mesh inside of the enclosure. But the trouble is that you need to put something under, so your guy doesn't rest directly under them. If you can remove the domes itselves (leaving only the sockets with CHEs) this would be less drying and give more ambient heat.

Or you can get a mini (half height, 600w) oil-filled radiator, like you suggested, and install it in the enclosure.
He has an appointment for January 9th.
 
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Thank you for the detailed update!
1. Okay, I think two weeks after Fortaz will show if there is a stable improvement and if second vet visit is necessary.
2. It should not be like this if there is enough space around. This heater has two knobs - one for thermostat (temperature setting) and the second regulating how many heating elements are on. You can try to set it on minimum (600 watt), this way it should not get too hot.
3. Controllers don't give a boost to lamp power, just in case. I don't think that cheap CHEs are *that* bad, that they don't give labeled heat output. It's more about positioning and domes you use (putting them on top of the enclosure means that the most heat goes up in the outer space and narrow domes make heat projection "spot-like").

I would try to hang the domes from the mesh inside of the enclosure. But the trouble is that you need to put something under, so your guy doesn't rest directly under them. If you can remove the domes itselves (leaving only the sockets with CHEs) this would be less drying and give more ambient heat.

Or you can get a mini (half height, 600w) oil-filled radiator, like you suggested, and install it in the enclosure.
Do you think that after he Is done with the antibiotics he could get worse? They don't seem to be making much of an effect, so I'd imagine that if they didn't help then when he is finished he will just remain the same. But is it possible that they are helping and I'm just not seeing it?
 

dd33

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It can take weeks or months for a sick tortoise to fully recover. He has to recover from whatever was wrong in the first place and the use of antibiotics. I wouldn't treat him again unless he declines or you actually find out what the problem is.
I think you are worrying a bit much based on the videos and the fact that he is eating and pooping. Focus on perfecting the indoor living conditions.
 
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It can take weeks or months for a sick tortoise to fully recover. He has to recover from whatever was wrong in the first place and the use of antibiotics. I wouldn't treat him again unless he declines or you actually find out what the problem is.
I think you are worrying a bit much based on the videos and the fact that he is eating and pooping. Focus on perfecting the indoor living conditions.
Ya your probably right about worrying to much. I spent an extended period of time away from him leaving him in the care of someone else and he wasn't like this before he never wheezed and was always moving around. He just seems different now :(
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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I think, you are worrying just enough for the first-time owner. Your attention might have saved his life: you've noticed symptoms and made a vet appointment, now you catch any changes in his behaviour. This greatly helps to learn what's working and what's not.

I second, what dd33 said: make him right indoors conditions and give some time to recover.

About antibiotics and his condition:
1. Sometimes RI is caused by bacteria resistant to specific antibiotic medication. In that case tortoise will get worse and another antibiotic type may be administered (it might have more severe side effects or be in a reserve list to avoid creating resistant bacteria colonies).
2. There are some infections which cause irreversible damage to tissues. So after a successful treatment some symptoms (like a loss of olfactory sense) might persist.
3. Some infections persist in tortoise body even after the antibiotic treatment. They might be asymptomatic and never manifest themselves when tortoise is kept in proper environment.

Anyway, I think you are doing everything timely and he will fully recover.
 
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It can take weeks or months for a sick tortoise to fully recover. He has to recover from whatever was wrong in the first place and the use of antibiotics. I wouldn't treat him again unless he declines or you actually find out what the problem is.
I think you are worrying a bit much based on the videos and the fact that he is eating and pooping. Focus on perfecting the indoor living conditions.
How soon should I replace his substrate after his antibiotics? Right away, or should I wait a couple weeks.
 
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Update on Lewis,

1) I changed his substrate adding about 1.5 times as much this time so he has more room to dig. I plan to replace it again as his condition gets better.

2) he eats orchard Grass, collard greens, turnip greens and kale. They are the only things I can get my hands on greens wise no endive or arugula at my grocery stores. He gets mostly orchard grass, he eats it pretty well I am surprised. I soak it a little to add some moisture.

3) he has had his 9th shot

4) I've been soaking him once a day, he has not passed any urates since I started soaking him.
Here is the boy himself, enjoying a good nap in the uvb light. He's got a pretty solid sleep schedule, napping around the same time everyday.
 

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