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MBD? Russian Tortoise (now 'hingeback')

Discussion in 'Tortoise Health' started by madhatteralli, May 8, 2018.

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  1. madhatteralli

    madhatteralli New Member

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    Hi! Recently (2 days ago) adopted a Russian tortoise from a friend of a friend of a friend. Really concerned about this little guy. Since bringing him home I've started calling him Fezzick.

    In addition to having a really overgrown beak and misshapen shell, his toenails are crooked (if they exist - many of them don't). His skin/scales on his legs look really discolored. He had no lights for UVA or UVB in his enclosure, ever. His eyes seem to water (like he's crying) constantly. He's been living off of "iceberg lettuce, cantaloupe, and watermelon." He's never had a water dish - they soaked him once a week in a sink & let him drink that way. They told me he's 25 years old. They also told me he wasn't really "coming out of his winter phase" and "isn't eating well" although he's eaten well while he's been with me - and has spent most of his time basking since I turned his lights on when I brought him home.

    I'm worried he has MBD. I've never had an MBD tortoise - or any reptile for that matter. He's been set up now with appropriate lighting (I have 2 sulcatas in addition to a red-eared slider and a bearded dragon so this isn't my first reptile rodeo), his own water dish, and I ended up putting some cuttlebone in his enclosure to see if he'd go after it, hoping that would help the beak situation. He whistles when he breathes (you can hear it in the video if you listen closely).

    We have a vet appointment on Thursday, but I have so many concerns. Does MBD improve with appropriate care - if that's what he has? What are the odds that he doesn't have it? Can I do anything now to see if he's comfortable? Are there any supplements I can try or that you think the vet might suggest?

    No matter what happens, I think he's in pretty bad shape. I just want to know what I can do to support him and whatever growth he has from here. I'm afraid to feed him too much and cause a growth spurt with which his shell might not be able to keep up.

    Just have a video for now but can post photos later if necessary.
  2. Eduardo Hernandez

    Eduardo Hernandez Active Member

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    Definitely not a Russian, kinda looks like a Redfoot to me? I'll let the experts here help you out more though.
  3. Kasia

    Kasia Well-Known Member

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    Honestly 25 years of bad care does not shine trough as much.. he looks smooth, that’s not a Russian I can’t identify it but @Tom, @Yvonne, @ZEROPILOT, @Will can help with it. MBD can not be reversed but it can be stopped and tortoise/turtle can get better if you think in life quality categorie. Correct diet, environmental arrangements and specific care can make it more comfortable for him. Life expectancy is shorter but it can have couple nice and comfortable years ahead so it’s worth trying. Good luck!!!
    Last edited: May 9, 2018
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  4. mikeylazer

    mikeylazer Active Member

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    Agreed. That is the most discolored redfoot I have ever seen. Feed a variety of greens and supplement with berries, egg, mushrooms.

    Please make sure the vet knows that it is not a Russian Tortoise.

    Thanks for taking in that tort I hope that its coloration will at least come back but who knows how much damage 25 years has had on it. The shell will most likely never look better.
  5. Yvonne G

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

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    I think that's a hingeback tortoise. There are different ways to care for the different sub species, so you'll need to know which hingeback you have. @Will @Markw84
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  6. Yvonne G

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

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    Incidentally, hingeback tortoises, coming from more or less jungle-like conditions, DO have runny eyes. Normal.
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  7. Kasia

    Kasia Well-Known Member

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    “Please make sure the vet knows that it is not a Russian Tortoise.”

    If the Vet doesn’t notice it get the hell out of his office, you will not get help in there.
  8. madhatteralli

    madhatteralli New Member

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    See, that's what I was thinking, but he's so discolored & I just don't know anything about tortoises that aren't sulcatas! Thanks so much. Breaks my heart if he's a redfoot & I can't even tell.
  9. Yvonne G

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

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    Like I said up above, it's a hingeback tortoise. And there's nothing wrong with its shell. Usually the hinge (the cracked area right above the rear leg) looks a bit rough, but that's normal.
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  10. madhatteralli

    madhatteralli New Member

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    Noted! Thank you thank you.
  11. Bambam1989

    Bambam1989 Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Yvonne that it is a hingeback. Perhaps a spekes hingeback
  12. madhatteralli

    madhatteralli New Member

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    Awesome, I'll check into this. Can you tell me why you think he's a hingeback? Just so I know for later.
  13. Yvonne G

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

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    After seeing many different tortoises, you just get used to what the different species look like. The shell on your "russian" looks pretty good, with lots of new growth. The hinge above the rear leg isn't really visible in the video, but that's usually what you go by.
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  14. Markw84

    Markw84 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Definitely a hinge-back tortoise. My guess from what I see is the Western Hinge-back Tortoise. Kinixys nogueyi Does it have four toes on the front feet?
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  15. madhatteralli

    madhatteralli New Member

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    He has no toes. Both his front feet look like what you see in the video.
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