Mycoplasma in a Desert Tortoise

bioteach

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We have had unusually wet weather in Phoenix (not complaining - we need the rain), and Sunshine, my adult Desert Tortoise will be headed to the vet tomorrow for treatment. I noticed that when she was eating every time that she bit down there was a milky discharge from her nose. Because she is active and eating well her vet told me that this is common; and that I should not worry. He is going to flush out her nose and administer antibiotics. He indicated that she may have had mycoplasma for a very long time without overt symptoms.

I was wondering whether or not anyone has had experience with mycoplasma in Desert Tortoises, and what the outcome was. She has been in her enclosure for several years and had not had any contact with other tortoises since we adopted her. She was an adult when we adopted her and has not had any health issues until now.

Thanks in advance for any advice!
 

Yvonne G

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It's my understanding that mycoplasma never goes away and stress can bring on the R.I.- like symptoms. It's supposedly highly contagious.

The other end of a tortoise's nasal passages is in the roof of his mouth, so it stands to reason that when he's eating, if it's fairly liquid food, you may see a bit of discharge from the nose.

If you're worried about this milky discharge, you can clean out his nares with a couple firm squirts of sterile saline.
 

bioteach

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Thank you! She probably had it for a long time but I didn't notice it. Her vet says that 95% of the Desert Tortoises that he has seen over the years (he specializes in exotics) have it. Perhaps the fact that her favorite spot has been very wet is the cause. In any case, she is getting flushed and treated tomorrow.
 

Yvonne G

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Thank you! She probably had it for a long time but I didn't notice it. Her vet says that 95% of the Desert Tortoises that he has seen over the years (he specializes in exotics) have it. Perhaps the fact that her favorite spot has been very wet is the cause. In any case, she is getting flushed and treated tomorrow.
Unless they have a flair up and is specifically tested for mycoplasma, you wouldn't know a tortoise has it - there are no symptoms.
 

maggie3fan

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I had a desert tortoise for about 20 years. He was diagnosed with carrying the micoplasma disease when he was a yearling. The only symptoms he had was a snotty nose, sometimes greenish, but mostly clear. For a few years he acted kinda sick and was treated with tetracycline over some months. I always kept him solitary
 
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