My Sulcata has a URI

Rebecca67449

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Hi everyone,
(Sorry this will be long)

I found this forum after taking in a sulcata tortoise about a year ago. He is about 9 pounds. He unfortinately spent the first years of his life without the proper care he needed which resulted in slight pyramiding of his shell so I could not wait to take him in, learn as much as I could, and give this guy a better life. I live in Las Vegas so the weather remains pretty ideal. I do house him indoors at night. In the year that I have had him I've noticed tremendous improvement in activity level, growth, shell appearance, and just a generally happy active tortoise. (His name is sheldon). Recently I had noticed a slight wheezing sound though there was no visible moisture around the nose. That was until yesterday when I checked on him and I noticed moisture coming from his mouth. I panicked and found an emergency vet who would see us immediately. He took xrays and confirmed it was a respritory infection that had luckily not spread to the lungs. He had an injection of antibiotics in his front leg and I have an appointment next week for another set of injections. The vet said it will be about 7 injections to ensure we fight off the infection completely. That being said through all of this Sheldon was still active and eating. I am just thankful I am very observant with any changes and I can't help to think what would have happened had I brushed off the slightly noticeable breathing by just upping temperatures like I had initially done. My question is what can I do do make sure this doesn't reoccur and if anyone has experience with treating a URI, Will the antibiotics definitely help? Sheldon seems to be doing great but the idea of my little guy going through this stress again breaks my heart. The vet seems to think we are doing everything right as far as diet, heating, lighting and general keep of our tortoise and feels it wasn't related to cooler temps at night which is what I worried had caused this. He said it can be as simple as general anatomy and that sulcatas are susceptible to reoccurring RI's but I want to make sure I am doing everything I can for sheldon. If there is anyone who has experienced this and had success with antibiotics or otherwise I would love to hear your thoughts. Any advice is appreciated. Thank you in advance.
 

SarahChelonoidis

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What are your night temperatures? What humidity does your indoor enclosure stay at over night? Not all vets are actually familiar with modern tortoise care. Temperatures being too low is generally the first thing to confirm with an RI- did your vet advise bumping temperatures up while undergoing treatment, because that is generally good advise. How cold are you getting outside during the day right now?
 
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Rebecca67449

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What are your night temperatures? What humidity does your indoor enclosure stay at over night? Not all vets are actually familiar with modern tortoise care. Temperatures being too low is generally the first thing to confirm with an RI- did your vet advise bumping temperatures up while undergoing treatment, because that is generally good advise. How cold are you getting outside during the day right now?



At night I try to keep temps at 75 degrees in his enclosure and 72 in my actual home. Which I'm not sure if that's too low. During the day it's between 90-105 degrees outside. He has constant access outside at all times during the day as well as inside where he has a constant basking area available (I use a relatively large mvb ). The problem is, he loves to follow me around at all times (which is why I set up access to both inside and outside) he is pretty much allowed free roam in the safe zones of my home and prefers to leave his indoor enclosure and sleep next to me in the bedroom because I allowed it in the past and didnt like hearing him attempt to claw and ram his way out of his enclosure. Because that became his prefered routine I had a night time heating lamp installed in what I would describe as a dog house next to my bed that keeps that space between 75-80. I soak him daily as well as give him constant access to water where I will sometimes find him self soaking in when temps are high outside. I was adviced to soak him every other day instead of every day and on the off days do a steam in the bathroom for him while he his recovering. His diet consists of orchard grass, kale, occasional red bell peppers, dandelions, and occasional spring mix. I was told to stop supplementing calcium because he gets a lot of natural sunlight. I was nervous to use the repti fogger to up humidity because I had heard it can cause URI but maybe not upping the humidity was the problem. I did make sure to dampen the subtrate but could letting him sleep outside of his enclosure from time to time be why this happened ?
 

Bee62

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There are some mistakes in what you have been told:

A tortoise needs calcium to eat, together with sunlight to build vitamin d and get a strong shell. Please offer your tortoise egg shells or cuttlebones to eat. Let your tort decide how much he will eat. They know better than we what they need.

High humidity doesn`t harm a tortoise if it is humid and warm. Sulcatas are a tropical species and need warm temps day and night.
Night temps should never drop under 80 F. Day temps 90 - 105 outside are good for your tortoise.

It is no good idea to let your tortoise roam free in your house. There are many dangers for him: not eatable things he could eat, power lines he could bite in and the most dangerous thing is, that it is much to cold on the floor.
If he sleeps outside his enclosure he could get sick from being too cold. On the floor there is always a cold draft that makes a tortoise sick.
Please don`t allow him to sleep outside his heated enclosure.
 

Rebecca67449

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THANK you so much for your reply. It's scary how much conflicting information is out there even from vets. His temperatures have been way to low at night then. This information helps so much.
 

Bee62

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Please read the care sheeds on the top of the sulcata section in this forum and you will get the best and new updated informations how to keep your tortoise healthy.
VETS are often not well informed what sulcata tortoises really need.
It was a pleasure for me to help you.:)
 

teresaf

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Yes, temps are too low when in the house. It sounds like you'll need to deny him access to house unless he's in a controlled temp enclosure. He's not following you because he likes you. They're not like humans or even dogs. Their emotions run along the lines of trying to get rid of any competition for food(trying to run you out of town)or following food God(you)around because he's hungry.
 
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