My tortoise Ares crashed after vet visit. Please help!!!

NancKj

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Took to vet yesterday for recheck since still not eating or pooping. 2 weeks now. He took another xray, the inpacted "rocks", noted by first vet were gone. The xray did demonstrate what this guy called a fecal ball, and alot of gas. He was admitted, got injectable meloxicam, sub q fluids, and mineral oil via stomach tube. When I went in afternoon to get him, I noticed he was weak. He was not weak when I brought him in that morning. Head seemed wobbly, and could not lift his plastron above ground when walking. Vet quickly reassessed, agreed he was suddenly extremely weak. Could not fathom what had happened.. Took Ares home and he can not walk at all. Or lift his head. Last night he did forcefully move all 4 extremities very briefly when I picked him up. So it has been about 18 hours now. He has not moved. Eyes closed but will open them immediately if I pick him up, then close again. Tail muscle still very strong
What the heck should I do? Is it stress?? Should I stimulate or leave him alone
Help me please, I am beside myself
 

wellington

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I would do the warm soaks and add baby food carrot and piediyte to the soak water. Keep him warm at all times, 85F
Yes carrots are more for eye problems. I recommend this combo all the time for a few years now. Have had many let me know it seemed to really help their tort.

@Yvonne G
 

Tom

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Took to vet yesterday for recheck since still not eating or pooping. 2 weeks now. He took another xray, the inpacted "rocks", noted by first vet were gone. The xray did demonstrate what this guy called a fecal ball, and alot of gas. He was admitted, got injectable meloxicam, sub q fluids, and mineral oil via stomach tube. When I went in afternoon to get him, I noticed he was weak. He was not weak when I brought him in that morning. Head seemed wobbly, and could not lift his plastron above ground when walking. Vet quickly reassessed, agreed he was suddenly extremely weak. Could not fathom what had happened.. Took Ares home and he can not walk at all. Or lift his head. Last night he did forcefully move all 4 extremities very briefly when I picked him up. So it has been about 18 hours now. He has not moved. Eyes closed but will open them immediately if I pick him up, then close again. Tail muscle still very strong
What the heck should I do? Is it stress?? Should I stimulate or leave him alone
Help me please, I am beside myself
Where in the tortoise's body was the meloxicam injected? Any other injections, like calcium or "vitamins"?
 

TammyJ

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I am so sorry about this. Keep him warm and hydrated. Good luck!
 

TammyJ

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Inexperienced vets do more harm than good! Sigh.
 

zovick

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Took to vet yesterday for recheck since still not eating or pooping. 2 weeks now. He took another xray, the inpacted "rocks", noted by first vet were gone. The xray did demonstrate what this guy called a fecal ball, and alot of gas. He was admitted, got injectable meloxicam, sub q fluids, and mineral oil via stomach tube. When I went in afternoon to get him, I noticed he was weak. He was not weak when I brought him in that morning. Head seemed wobbly, and could not lift his plastron above ground when walking. Vet quickly reassessed, agreed he was suddenly extremely weak. Could not fathom what had happened.. Took Ares home and he can not walk at all. Or lift his head. Last night he did forcefully move all 4 extremities very briefly when I picked him up. So it has been about 18 hours now. He has not moved. Eyes closed but will open them immediately if I pick him up, then close again. Tail muscle still very strong
What the heck should I do? Is it stress?? Should I stimulate or leave him alone
Help me please, I am beside myself
How is the tortoise now?

I would say that the weakness may be a reaction to the injection and it may take a few days or so to subside. Try doing warm soaks for 20-30 minutes twice a day (check water depth to make sure the tortoise is able to keep its head out of the water and won't drown). You can add baby food carrots and Pedialyte to the water as Wellington mentioned if you wish, but just the warmth will help the tortoise metabolize the injected drug. After soaking, offer it some food and see if it shows any interest. If so, that's good, if not, just keep trying.

I may have missed it, but why was an arthritis drug used on the tortoise?

I don't think there is much else you can do at this time. Keep us posted on the progress.

Good luck.
 

Yvonne G

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How is the tortoise now?

I would say that the weakness may be a reaction to the injection and it may take a few days or so to subside. Try doing warm soaks for 20-30 minutes twice a day (check water depth to make sure the tortoise is able to keep its head out of the water and won't drown). You can add baby food carrots and Pedialyte to the water as Wellington mentioned if you wish, but just the warmth will help the tortoise metabolize the injected drug. After soaking, offer it some food and see if it shows any interest. If so, that's good, if not, just keep trying.

I may have missed it, but why was an arthritis drug used on the tortoise?

I don't think there is much else you can do at this time. Keep us posted on the progress.

Good luck.
Evidently the tortoise was in pain so the Meloxicam was injected. I was wondering if tubing the mineral oil went into the lungs instead of the stomach.
 

zovick

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Evidently the tortoise was in pain so the Meloxicam was injected. I was wondering if tubing the mineral oil went into the lungs instead of the stomach.
I suppose it is possible the mineral oil was put into the trachea rather than the esophagus, but seeing that it was done by the vet rather than a lay person, one would expect that would not happen. Also, if the mineral oil went into the lungs, I think that the tortoise would have had mineral oil coming out of its nose and mouth right away and the vet would have noticed it.
 

mark1

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my vet has given meloxicam to any of the dog chew victims i've ever brought him , seemed like a pretty innocuous treatment , maybe they felt better than they would have , but i saw no obvious affect .........

with the x-ray results and sudden decline , are they sure the blockage they saw was moving , or able to move ...... if it were a torsion, the bowel stimulant i'd think could exacerbate the problem
 

TammyJ

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I do realize that I may be overly suspicious of vets, and leery of taking my reptiles to any vet, simply because there are no reptile vets here at all. I have had bad past experience with tortoises, snakes and vets.
 

mark1

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We’ve had our Sully 8 years now thanks to @Lancecham and of course @Tom. No vet visits needed or contemplated. Sunshine, grass, hydration & good DAILY animal husbandry.
and that works until it doesn't ....... i had a group of 4 female n.a. wood turtles for at the time about 15 yrs ,never a vet visit ,i brought in a male , quarantined him for about 8 months , put him in with the females as soon as he came out of hibernation , after about 3-4 weeks he started looking unwell and i hadn't seen him eat since he came out of hibernation , i spent the next three years taking wood turtles to the vets ........ same story with the eastern box turtles .... the r.p.manni haven't had a turtle added in 25-30yrs , they've been isolated the entire time , i've never taken one to the vet , only ones i've ever lost were to dogs and raccoons ..........
 

mark1

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I do realize that I may be overly suspicious of vets, and leery of taking my reptiles to any vet, simply because there are no reptile vets here at all. I have had bad past experience with tortoises, snakes and vets.
folks for the most part only take gravely ill reptiles to the vet , reptiles who have been chronically ill for a long time with extensive organ damage ........ and there are two sides to every story , you read one side here .......
 

KarenSoCal

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and that works until it doesn't ....... i had a group of 4 female n.a. wood turtles for at the time about 15 yrs ,never a vet visit ,i brought in a male , quarantined him for about 8 months , put him in with the females as soon as he came out of hibernation , after about 3-4 weeks he started looking unwell and i hadn't seen him eat since he came out of hibernation , i spent the next three years taking wood turtles to the vets .
What was wrong with the male, then the females?
 

NancKj

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Thank you all very much! I has been a very hard 24 hours! I kept checking him in middle of night, and this am, and he remained so very weak. So, I carried him out to his outdoor enclosure and house about 9am. The second I put him down, he steadied his head, flexed his legs and started walking!! He walked right into his house, went to his usual corner and stayed there. Until this moment, he had been splayed on the floor in my spare room with a little roll under his head. It was like he was raised from the dead!! Letting him rest now, will check him a bit later to see if he is still able to walk.
No other injections besides the meloxicam, which is indicated for pain in reptiles as Yvonne says. The injection site was the back fleshy part of one of his hind legs.
He had close to 120 ml SQ fluids, administered at 3 or 4 different sites on his legs. That seems like alot to me, he weighs about 12 lbs.
I will not soak him today, because he should be well hydrated from SQ, and well, I think he needs a tiny break from handling. He has endured 4 invasive vet appointments in about 10 days.
I bought pedialyte and carrot baby food. Not sure how much to add to the kiddie pool. Any formula for how much per gallon of water? I could calculate volume of pool.
I will start soaking him again tomorrow if he seems stable. Does that sound like a good plan?? I wish I had been able to get in to see Tom's vet in Calabasas...
 

NancKj

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my vet has given meloxicam to any of the dog chew victims i've ever brought him , seemed like a pretty innocuous treatment , maybe they felt better than they would have , but i saw no obvious affect .........

with the x-ray results and sudden decline , are they sure the blockage they saw was moving , or able to move ...... if it were a torsion, the bowel stimulant i'd think could exacerbate the problem
Hi mark
It seemed like part of the blockage had been expelled, but an area of "fecal ball". looked like it was stuck in place. Hence the stomach tube and mineral oil. The xray looked pretty clear, hope that the vet would have recognized a torsion??
 

mark1

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What was wrong with the male, then the females?
the male came from florida , early in the summer .... he stopped eating early september ,i figured it was our september was probably comparable to florida's december ...... he hibernated until mid-late april , i put him in with the females ...... by may he was lethargic and anorexic ........ vet got him through, he was put in his own pen , where he is to this day........ my wood turtle usually eat through october , that year a female stopped eating late august and became unwell , vet treated her and she recovered and i hibernated her normally ...... that spring i had another female came out of hibernation without much of an appetite , turned into not eating ..... vet treated her ,she never regained a normal appetite , but ate enough late enough i hibernated her ...... came out of hibernation and ate , then stopped early summer , took her back to the vet , he treated her , her appetite picked up , but never normal ..... i hibernated her again , came out of hibernation ate normally , her appetite wasn't normal all summer , let her hibernate .... came out of hibernation the following year pretty much back to normal ........

same scenario played out earlier when i was acquiring box turtles ......... i'll probably never bring another turtle in here again ....
 

mark1

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Hi mark
It seemed like part of the blockage had been expelled, but an area of "fecal ball". looked like it was stuck in place. Hence the stomach tube and mineral oil. The xray looked pretty clear, hope that the vet would have recognized a torsion??
vets are pretty good at reading x-rays , way better than people md's ............
 

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