tamzsturg

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Tom is 100% correct.

He has to have the proper temperatures to run his immune, digestive, cardiovascular, renal, and other systems. There is no point to give him food (or force it into him) without the proper temperatures to digest, metabolize, absorb, and utilize the nutrients.

In fact, putting food into a long-term sub-optimal stomach in most cases results in quick death. The body is overloaded with stuff it cannot process. It is possible that the antibiotic treatment given, combined with poor hydration and incorrect temperatures is what has damaged his internal organs to their current degree.

Very quickly tonight: get a large plastic storage container and a reliable thermometer.

Place him in the container on a thick layer of newspaper and hang a heat lamp over him so that the temperature is correct. He must not be too hot or too cold - it can take some time to get things set well. A very large container will let you create a bit of a temperature gradient. Don't worry if he tries to get out...he's just trying to get to where he was used to being.

Soak him in warm water for 20 minutes every three hours. After 24 hours of hydration therapy under correct temperatures, take dandelion greens, puree them in a blender, and add some to the soak water so that some electrolytes and nutrition can be absorbed through the vent. Continue to offer foods and water, but continue the soak therapy every 4 hours.

In the meantime, begin to gather supplies to create a proper habitat.
Wow wow thank you so so much thats incredibly helpful. Its shocking how different everyone’s advice is here in comparison to the vet. And no hard feelings towards the vet he’s a lovely guy seems like he knows what he’s doing but at the same time, he just doesn’t seem to have as much experience as he needs to have before rushing into feeding tubes and what not. That makes so much sense about the antibiotic potentially kick starting this illness. After he was administered the antibiotics for potential infections and a swelling in his leg, his appetite decreased. Since then the decrease in apetite just got worse and it was obvious he wasn’t well and going to perk up on his own. I’m going to the shop tomorrow to get better heat for him and will pick up a better thermostat while I’m at it, a digital one seems to be best. I’ve soaked him 3 times today already but can continue to do as you instructed this evening. Thank you so much again for your help
 

Tom

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Thanks so much for the advice. So despite the vet saying his bloodwork came back a bit worrying, it could be just that his kidneys will start functioning properly again with more heat and continued hydration?
Purely speculation on my part, but its speculation based on decades of dealing with "exotic" vets. Most of them know little to nothing about tortoise care. I'll bet there is nothing wrong with your tortoise at all. Its just not eating because its too cold.

What are the values found in the blood work? What values is the vet comparing those too? Does your vet have a reference that list the normal values, based on hundreds or thousands of cases, for Russian tortoises? Doubtful. Most of the time they are just guessing, and they often make stuff up. Many times they recommend courses of action and treatments that are harmful because they just don't know any better. As we said. Dreadful.
 

Tom

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After he was administered the antibiotics for potential infections and a swelling in his leg, his appetite decreased. Since then the decrease in apetite just got worse and it was obvious he wasn’t well and going to perk up on his own.
You never mentioned this. What antibiotic was used? The usual one administered by vets does major tissue damage. It is extremely painful to the tortoise, and usually kills their appetite and makes them want to hide. This was important info that should have been included in the original post.

Antibiotics can destroy their normal gut flora and fauna too, which kills appetite.

This is EXACTLY the kind of thing I was talking about in post #22.
 

ZenHerper

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Wow wow thank you so so much thats incredibly helpful. Its shocking how different everyone’s advice is here in comparison to the vet. And no hard feelings towards the vet he’s a lovely guy seems like he knows what he’s doing but at the same time, he just doesn’t seem to have as much experience as he needs to have before rushing into feeding tubes and what not. That makes so much sense about the antibiotic potentially kick starting this illness. After he was administered the antibiotics for potential infections and a swelling in his leg, his appetite decreased. Since then the decrease in apetite just got worse and it was obvious he wasn’t well and going to perk up on his own. I’m going to the shop tomorrow to get better heat for him and will pick up a better thermostat while I’m at it, a digital one seems to be best. I’ve soaked him 3 times today already but can continue to do as you instructed this evening. Thank you so much again for your help
Tortoises are basically Wild animals. They have not had the 6000 generations of domestication that dogs have had. And they are reptiles - evolutionarily tied completely to their environments-of-origin.

When we bring them into captivity, we have to replicate those environments they evolved with.

Additionally, tortoises are intensely territorial and hard-headed. When they are relocated, they strive very hard to get back Home (where things were safe and predicable). It is normal for a tort to be over-active and trying to escape. This escapist mentality is intensified when the conditions they have been moved to are not Optimal.

If a New environment is ultimately safe and healthful, tortoises settle down and become content. They can still be active - they need to wander around a lot in order to manage their body temperature, to forage, and to digest their meals - but they are able to get into a comfortable routine.
 

tamzsturg

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Will the rescue place accept him and treat him?
If he is not too active at the moment a smaller warmer enclosure would be OK while he is off colour. If he is warmer he may eat and not need a tube. They won't eat if they are cold because their digestive system won't work properly but be careful you have a relaible thermometer to check he doesn't over heat. Try everything that's been suggested before getting the tube. Raising his temps as recommended by Tom might do the trick.
Set up a temporary enclosure, post pics and double check everything here if you need to.

When my tort wasn't eating well I also bought some Oxbow critical care from Amazon, followed the instructions to make a paste with it and spread it on leaves he liked. I folded them to hide it.

My leopard tort lives indoors because he's too big for a viv or table but he has his own room and in there he has a dog kennel with a reptile radiator (which is basically a flat CHE) and I run it through a thermostat. So he alwasy has a warm place to go as well as his basking and uvb lamps in the room.

Joesmum wrote this thread which may help you.
So that when he gets better you can see about setting him up properly outdoors if you don't have room indoors.
We have a spare room in the house which has its own separate thermostat. I’ll put him in that room with his lamps and a little box for him to sleep in. I’ll also do a few more soaks tonight. So I should keep the bulbs on all night over him while he’s in a little box? What temperature should I leave them at? They reach about 27° but can be dimmed, not sure if they need slightly cooler at night and wouldn’t want him to overheat if the old thermometer I have isn’t very accurate and he can’t escape (as I said previously he walks off from them at the moment because he’s poorly). I will send pictures and keep you posted.
Tom is 100% correct.

He has to have the proper temperatures to run his immune, digestive, cardiovascular, renal, and other systems. There is no point to give him food (or force it into him) without the proper temperatures to digest, metabolize, absorb, and utilize the nutrients.

In fact, putting food into a long-term sub-optimal stomach in most cases results in quick death. The body is overloaded with stuff it cannot process. It is possible that the antibiotic treatment given, combined with poor hydration and incorrect temperatures is what has damaged his internal organs to their current degree.

Very quickly tonight: get a large plastic storage container and a reliable thermometer.

Place him in the container on a thick layer of newspaper and hang a heat lamp over him so that the temperature is correct. He must not be too hot or too cold - it can take some time to get things set well. A very large container will let you create a bit of a temperature gradient. Don't worry if he tries to get out...he's just trying to get to where he was used to being.

Soak him in warm water for 20 minutes every three hours. After 24 hours of hydration therapy under correct temperatures, take dandelion greens, puree them in a blender, and add some to the soak water so that some electrolytes and nutrition can be absorbed through the vent. Continue to offer foods and water, but continue the soak therapy every 4 hours.

In the meantime, begin to gather supplies to create a proper habitat.
Yes its still a good sign I guess. He had a swollen leg a few weeks ago but was treated with antibiotics to treat the swelling/limp which is now gone - we don’t know if this is linked to his now apparent issues. I think we’re at a pivotal moment now where if we act quickly he could be on the road to recovery, but every day counts, and potentially another week of him not eating or drinking would be absolutely detrimental to his health. I ordered him some new food which is on the way after another user told me her tortoises can’t resist it even in the winter when they dont want to eat. He’s basking with his eyes shut right now under his lamps which he’s been avoiding recently so I’m I’ll try him with some yummy foods when he wakes up.
@Tom sorry here is the post where i talked about it, i should have mentioned it in the original post but didn’t really put two and two together about the antibiotics potentially causing this illness
 

tamzsturg

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You never mentioned this. What antibiotic was used? The usual one administered by vets does major tissue damage. It is extremely painful to the tortoise, and usually kills their appetite and makes them want to hide. This was important info that should have been included in the original post.

Antibiotics can destroy their normal gut flora and fauna too, which kills appetite.

This is EXACTLY the kind of thing I was talking about in post #22.
So we noticed he had a limp, took him to vet after it didn’t seem to be getting any better (nor worse but it wasn’t looking easy to walk on). The vet said the leg looked swollen and injected him. I can’t find the receipt at the moment for that injection but will find out asap from vet. Then after his leg healed, and we noticed he wasnt eating as much, I thought he may have mouth rot or something, vet said his mouth looked a bit sore and injected him over the course of 2 weeks with 3 Amoxypen, 2 Baytril and 3 Metacam and then gave him rehydration supplement/reptoboost. By the sounds of it this was not what he should have had done to him at all, as further tests showed he had no infection. His bloods recently showed no parasites, hes been fully xrayed, the lot. The bloodwork was told to us over the phone, but I can also get vet to send copies of this to us Monday when we speak again.
 

tamzsturg

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Will the rescue place accept him and treat him?
If he is not too active at the moment a smaller warmer enclosure would be OK while he is off colour. If he is warmer he may eat and not need a tube. They won't eat if they are cold because their digestive system won't work properly but be careful you have a relaible thermometer to check he doesn't over heat. Try everything that's been suggested before getting the tube. Raising his temps as recommended by Tom might do the trick.
Set up a temporary enclosure, post pics and double check everything here if you need to.

When my tort wasn't eating well I also bought some Oxbow critical care from Amazon, followed the instructions to make a paste with it and spread it on leaves he liked. I folded them to hide it.

My leopard tort lives indoors because he's too big for a viv or table but he has his own room and in there he has a dog kennel with a reptile radiator (which is basically a flat CHE) and I run it through a thermostat. So he alwasy has a warm place to go as well as his basking and uvb lamps in the room.

Joesmum wrote this thread which may help you.
So that when he gets better you can see about setting him up properly outdoors if you don't have room indoors.
Thanks so so much!
 

Lyn W

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We have a spare room in the house which has its own separate thermostat. I’ll put him in that room with his lamps and a little box for him to sleep in. I’ll also do a few more soaks tonight. So I should keep the bulbs on all night over him while he’s in a little box? What temperature should I leave them at? They reach about 27° but can be dimmed, not sure if they need slightly cooler at night and wouldn’t want him to overheat if the old thermometer I have isn’t very accurate and he can’t escape (as I said previously he walks off from them at the moment because he’s poorly). I will send pictures and keep you posted.

Please post a picture of the box and lamps so we can get an idea of what it's made of and size etc you don't want the box to be a fire hazard and may not need 2 lamps especially if you are heating the room.
Tom has told you the temps you need and the caresheet will also help you, it takes some adjusting with a thermometer but better safe than sorry.
The heat needs to be one end of encosures so that there is also cooler ends where torts can move away from the heat.

Having read your last post it could be all the medication that has affected your torts appetite. Is your vet a tortoise specialist?
 

tamzsturg

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Please post a picture of the box and lamps so we can get an idea of what it's made of and size etc you don't want the box to be a fire hazard and may not need 2 lamps especially if you are heating the room.
Tom has told you the temps you need and the caresheet will also help you, it takes some adjusting with a thermometer but better safe than sorry.
The heat needs to be one end of encosures so that there is also cooler ends where torts can move away from the heat.

Having read your last post it could be all the medication that has affected your torts appetite. Is your vet a tortoise specialist?
Will upload pictures soon when I make the enclosure for him tonight. The vet deals with exotic pets but he’s not a tortoise expert mainly, just at the regular vets. Where I live we don’t have many exotic vets/tortoise specialists in close distance. And yes I’m starting to think the medication could have done more harm than good
 

mark1

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what was the tortoises diet prior to becoming ill ? when was the last time he ate ? blood values for healthy testudo hermanni are reasonably established , down to seasonal differences ....
 

tamzsturg

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what was the tortoises diet prior to becoming ill ? when was the last time he ate ? blood values for healthy testudo hermanni are reasonably established , down to seasonal differences ....
The last time he ate was today, a very small amount however. His appetite has slowly decreased over a month and we just didn’t know why. The last 2 weeks however have been the most concerning, we have to really encourage him to eat and I’m sure he just does it to get us to leave him alone. Today he had 2 small chunks of courgette (which he’s never tried before), a couple of small romaine lettuce leaves, and a little bit of his dandelion dried tortoise food by Komodo. His usual diet before that was all of those, but in higher volume, as well as fresh dandelions, kale, cabbage, brocolli, spring greens. He’s always been a fussy eater since he was a baby, but ate good portions throughout the day, but most things we try to give him hes just uninterested in, he’s never even liked cucumber and I hear that's supposed to be a torts favourite.
 

mark1

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imo , for me to consider a feeding tube ,he'd have to be in danger of starving , depending on body conditon i would think no less than 2 months and in poor condition ....... hydration is what should be the first worry , hydration if needed be can be accomplished sub q , intracoelomic and iv , hydration is very important , dehydration makes them feel bad , so they don't drink or eat , which makes them feel worse and it escalates ........... improve his conditions as suggested and see if he responds .......... i had a turtle didn't eat for 8 months , not that i'd recommend waiting 8 months , but a reptiles metabolism is very different from mammals ........
 

tamzsturg

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imo , for me to consider a feeding tube ,he'd have to be in danger of starving , depending on body conditon i would think no less than 2 months and in poor condition ....... hydration is what should be the first worry , hydration if needed be can be accomplished sub q , intracoelomic and iv , hydration is very important , dehydration makes them feel bad , so they don't drink or eat , which makes them feel worse and it escalates ........... improve his conditions as suggested and see if he responds .......... i had a turtle didn't eat for 8 months , not that i'd recommend waiting 8 months , but a reptiles metabolism is very different from mammals ........
Do you have any knowledge of how long it can take tortoises to feel better after taking medications? He’s been to the toilet 3 times today, both types, and his urate seemed to have water in it after all of the many baths we’ve given Tarquin today. I’m hoping by following all this advice with proper heating and hydration that he’ll start to eat again more on his own and not just want to sleep/borrow 24/7. As you have all mentioned, their metabolisms are slow, and I’m just wondering how long it might take for the medications to be fully out of his system and not affecting him? His last antibiotic was administered about 11 days ago, and had a few more in the weeks leading up to that. I hope he starts to feel better soon:(
 

mark1

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from my experience if an antibiotic was going to work i seen improvement before the 3rd dose ,often i've seen improvement after 1 dose ....... 11 days after the "last antibiotic" would indicate to me the antibiotics didn't work ........ sick turtles and tortoises do not thermoregulate properly , you should keep the entire enclosure 80-85 degree's Fahrenheit , so he can't find a cold corner to sit in ,become dormant , and get sicker ......
 

tamzsturg

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from my experience if an antibiotic was going to work i seen improvement before the 3rd dose ,often i've seen improvement after 1 dose ....... 11 days after the "last antibiotic" would indicate to me the antibiotics didn't work ........ sick turtles and tortoises do not thermoregulate properly , you should keep the entire enclosure 80-85 degree's Fahrenheit , so he can't find a cold corner to sit in ,become dormant , and get sicker ......
the antibiotics werent for his kidneys, they were originally because he had a limp/swollen leg. his leg healed but he then began to lose his appetite, so the next meds were for his mouth which the vet thought was the issue and why he wasnt eating, although i dont even think there was anything wrong with his mouth looking back… i think he was poorly from the leg injections and put off his food (thanks to reading everyones comments and brilliant insight on this thread!)
originally i wanted to know if he had mouth rot/stomatitis because he wasnt eating, and the vet said his mouth “looked a bit red” and had been giving him antibiotics. The problem was he never got better as you say, and thus we had further bloods and xrays, revealing dehydration and potential kidney problems
 

zolasmum

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the antibiotics werent for his kidneys, they were originally because he had a limp/swollen leg. his leg healed but he then began to lose his appetite, so the next meds were for his mouth which the vet thought was the issue and why he wasnt eating, although i dont even think there was anything wrong with his mouth looking back… i think he was poorly from the leg injections and put off his food (thanks to reading everyones comments and brilliant insight on this thread!)
originally i wanted to know if he had mouth rot/stomatitis because he wasnt eating, and the vet said his mouth “looked a bit red” and had been giving him antibiotics. The problem was he never got better as you say, and thus we had further bloods and xrays, revealing dehydration and potential kidney problems
Poor little Tarquin - I'm so sorry for him -and you. It is obvious that the vet didn't have a clue what to do - however, if you follow the advice given here by people who really know what they are talking about, you will have the best chance of getting Tarquin well quickly.
Good luck from Angie from Devon.
 

tamzsturg

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Poor little Tarquin - I'm so sorry for him -and you. It is obvious that the vet didn't have a clue what to do - however, if you follow the advice given here by people who really know what they are talking about, you will have the best chance of getting Tarquin well quickly.
Good luck from Angie from Devon.
Thank you so much that is very sweet:) I am so glad I turned to this forum for help, I need to know how to care for little Tarq better and give him the healthiest life possible <3
 

tamzsturg

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Hi everyone! Heading to the shops today to buy Tarquin a new basking lamp, those incandescent clear ones from the hardware shops, and a separate uvb light. I was doing some research into bulbs as per the care sheet that Tom uploaded, and I’m a little worried that my current bulbs could be hurting Tarquin’s eyes? Theyre those bulbs that are heat, uva/uvb. I’ve now come across info that says uva isnt necessary?? and that these mixed heat and light bulbs could potentially damage their eyes? I wanted to know wether I need to throw them out or if I can use them as overnight lamps/cooler temp lamps. Thank u!
 

Lyn W

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Hi everyone! Heading to the shops today to buy Tarquin a new basking lamp, those incandescent clear ones from the hardware shops, and a separate uvb light. I was doing some research into bulbs as per the care sheet that Tom uploaded, and I’m a little worried that my current bulbs could be hurting Tarquin’s eyes? Theyre those bulbs that are heat, uva/uvb. I’ve now come across info that says uva isnt necessary?? and that these mixed heat and light bulbs could potentially damage their eyes? I wanted to know wether I need to throw them out or if I can use them as overnight lamps/cooler temp lamps. Thank u!
You may have trouble finding incandescent bulbs now unless you can fnd somewhere with old stock - they have been banned from sale in UK and most bulbs are now LED which don't give out heat.
However, you may get them on Amazon, or Arcadia do a flood basking bulb quite cheaply.
With T5 HO uvb tube that should be OK.
Depending on your night temps a CHE run through a thermostat is a good option for night heat in enclosures because torts need deakness to sleep.
Don't get anything coiled or cfl - they can burn and damage tort eyes.
Get a good digital thermometer too - the pet shop dial types aren't very accurate.
 

tamzsturg

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You may have trouble finding incandescent bulbs now unless you can fnd somewhere with old stock - they have been banned from sale in UK and most bulbs are now LED which don't give out heat.
However, you may get them on Amazon, or Arcadia do a flood basking bulb quite cheaply.
With T5 HO uvb tube that should be OK.
Depending on your night temps a CHE run through a thermostat is a good option for night heat in enclosures because torts need deakness to sleep.
Don't get anything coiled or cfl - they can burn and damage tort eyes.
Get a good digital thermometer too - the pet shop dial types aren't very accurate.
whats CHE?
 
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