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My tortoise gets red swollen eyes

Jsanford

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Jan 24, 2020
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California
Hi, I’m new here. I have a 1 1/2 year old desert tortoise (actually I have two), but the little guy I’m talking about today is named Prickles. He keeps getting red swollen eyes. But as quickly as they swell & turn red they go back to normal. It’s the strangest thing! I have taken him to a vet and they gave me eye drops, and medicine to help him poop (she thinks he might be straining to go to the bathroom). I give him warm soaks a few times a day to see if that helps with his constipation. Has anyone else had this happen to their tortoise? It’s really starting to worry me.
(It even gets worse than it is in this picture.)
C8A33128-9683-4AC0-90F0-8E381E894B50.jpeg
 

KronksMom

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What kind of substrate are you using? A lot of times their eyes get irritated because they're getting sand or something else in them.
 

Jsanford

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Jan 24, 2020
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Location (City and/or State)
California
My two tortoises have been together since they were born, they never bother with each other. Nothing has changed in their life/environment to cause stress. I did read about the third eyelid and how sometimes they expose it when they’re stressed out, but I can’t seem to determine why he’d be stressed. He eats, drinks and moves around great! The lady I got him from (she specializes in tortoises) and the vet both have never seen or heard of this before.
thank you for your reply.
 

TammyJ

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My two tortoises have been together since they were born, they never bother with each other. Nothing has changed in their life/environment to cause stress. I did read about the third eyelid and how sometimes they expose it when they’re stressed out, but I can’t seem to determine why he’d be stressed. He eats, drinks and moves around great! The lady I got him from (she specializes in tortoises) and the vet both have never seen or heard of this before.
thank you for your reply.
Hi and welcome to the site.
Yvonne is VERY experienced and just about the best person to help you, so please try to do as she suggests, it can only be beneficial and may save your tortoise from escalating illness and stress. We need to know about the conditions like what type of lights you have for them and the diet, temps and humidity levels etc.
First thing is to separate them. Always.
 

Yvonne G

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You don't always see outward signs of bullying. It may be as simple as 'cuddling,' peeing on the food, sitting in the doorway to the hide so the other can't get in. One is telling the other to get out of the territory and because of the walls, he can't get out.
 

Jsanford

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California
I will definitely try separating them to see if that helps. They have a heat lamp and a uvb light, they also have an outdoor habitat that they go in on nice days. I feed them a variety of things, mustard greens, collard greens, kale, shredded carrot (on occasion), turnip greens, etc...I appreciate the ideas, I’m willing to try anything!
 

Jsanford

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You don't always see outward signs of bullying. It may be as simple as 'cuddling,' peeing on the food, sitting in the doorway to the hide so the other can't get in. One is telling the other to get out of the territory and because of the walls, he can't get out.
Yvonne, have you ever heard of their eyes doing that if they’re staining to poop? He hadn’t pooped in awhile, but the vet gave me medicine to help with that. He finally pooped yesterday. I will definitely take your advice and separate them.
 

Yvonne G

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Feed him some cactus or aloe for a few days to soften up the poop. Spritz water over the food daily, and set him, in fact both of them, in little tub of warm water daily for about a half hour. Dehydration contributes to constipation, as does living in a too small enclosure. Exercise helps keep them regular.

I don't know if any of this stuff is your baby's problem, I'm only going by things that are common to the problem.
 

Lyn W

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What sort of bulbs are you using? Coiled bulbs and the cfl type have been known to damage tort eyes so that is another possibility.

I'm glad you are going to separate them, torts are very territorial and really don't like company or need/want friends, so it will be very stressful for both of them in a confined space. There are many sad stories on the forum about torts who have suffered illness or serious injury from a bullying room mate. They will both be much happier in their own space and it will save you some expensive vet bills!
 

Jsanford

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What sort of bulbs are you using? Coiled bulbs and the cfl type have been known to damage tort eyes so that is another possibility.

I'm glad you are going to separate them, torts are very territorial and really don't like company or need/want friends, so it will be very stressful for both of them in a confined space. There are many sad stories on the forum about torts who have suffered illness or serious injury from a bullying room mate. They will both be much happier in their own space and it will save you some expensive vet bills!
I do not not use coiled bulbs, but that’s good to know!
 

Tom

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I do not not use coiled bulbs, but that’s good to know!
What type of bulb is your UV bulb and what distance from the tortoise is it?

Is the eco-earth kept a little bit damp?

I also wanted to chime in on the pair thing. Just one more voice of agreement. Tortoises should never live in pairs. Along with Russians and male sulcatas, DTs are one of the worse for this. They can be a very scrappy species.
 

Jsanford

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Hi, I was on here over a week ago talking about my tortoises red swollen eyes. I took all the advise everyone gave me, I put my baby in a new habitat by himself. He seemed to be doing a little better but now his eyes are back to swelling (really bad) and turning red (the 3rd eyelid) again. Does anyone have any other ideas what might be causing this or anything I can do to help him/her. We’ve already been to the vet.
 

ZEROPILOT

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Please ignore me of we've been over this already..
You do not use a coiled or a spiral, compact CFL bulb...
Do you have anything harsh like a Mercury Vapor light?
What do you use for substrate?
Also, photos would really help. They would greatly help us make up some theories.
 

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