Need advice from everyone. oxalates..

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SulcataSquirt

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Hi, as most of you know I have a sulcata that will be 2 years old in June. He is going on 6 inches and 520 grams. Just yesterday in my torts humid hid box i found a large urnate stone. About the size of a big pea, it was very hard. Now i practice keeping my tort well hydrated, I soak every day for 30 mins. He has his own bowl to soak and drink in which I see him do everyday, Humidity levels are great because i have a humidifier plumbed in to his enclosure. substrate is kep moist with a tank sprayer everyday. Heated humid hide box ect, so im trying to rule out hydration as part of this problem. He gets mazuri daily which is his normal meal, usually ignoring his greens, but the last 2 months he has been a greens killing machine along with the mazuri, I also add in two 1/8 teaspoons of calcium about 3 times a week, just uped this dose about a month and ahalf ago since hes really been packin on the grams. Here is my concern, he gets Dadilions, endive, escarole, raddichio, butter lettuce, sometimes collard greens and bok choy. I think they may be the culpert of the stone. Im very afraid of the oxalates in some of theses greens, What green diet are you guys feeding your sulcatas that are low in oxalates and arnt having a problem with stones??? This has been worrying on me since I found it. I need help with this because i really dont want my tort to have to go through that again, I know it had to be very uncomfortable to pass a stone the size of a pea. Any and all help and information is welcome and I thank you for it. Hope everyone is have a great day by the way! :tort:
 

LLLReptile

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SulcataSquirt said:
Hi, as most of you know I have a sulcata that will be 2 years old in June. He is going on 6 inches and 520 grams. Just yesterday in my torts humid hid box i found a large urnate stone. About the size of a big pea, it was very hard. Now i practice keeping my tort well hydrated, I soak every day for 30 mins. He has his own bowl to soak and drink in which I see him do everyday, Humidity levels are great because i have a humidifier plumbed in to his enclosure. substrate is kep moist with a tank sprayer everyday. Heated humid hide box ect, so im trying to rule out hydration as part of this problem. He gets mazuri daily which is his normal meal, usually ignoring his greens, but the last 2 months he has been a greens killing machine along with the mazuri, I also add in two 1/8 teaspoons of calcium about 3 times a week, just uped this dose about a month and ahalf ago since hes really been packin on the grams. Here is my concern, he gets Dadilions, endive, escarole, raddichio, butter lettuce, sometimes collard greens and bok choy. I think they may be the culpert of the stone. Im very afraid of the oxalates in some of theses greens, What green diet are you guys feeding your sulcatas that are low in oxalates and arnt having a problem with stones??? This has been worrying on me since I found it. I need help with this because i really dont want my tort to have to go through that again, I know it had to be very uncomfortable to pass a stone the size of a pea. Any and all help and information is welcome and I thank you for it. Hope everyone is have a great day by the way! :tort:

Are you sure it was an actual stone, and not just a more solid piece of urate? Can you post a picture?

I highly doubt the greens are the actual issue with the stone. Oxalates are one of those words that gets thrown around with greens, and in reality they are only a very, very tiny percent of what is in the greens. Here is a list of oxalates available in common greens, based on a table published in an agricultural study from the 80s:

Oxalic Content

Notice that in the vast majority of these, the oxalates are LESS than ONE percent of a gram, per 100 grams of food items. 100 grams is very roughly equal to 1/3rd of a cup. You're looking at maybe 1.5 grams of oxalates per cup of greens - and that's if you're feeding the relatively "high" oxalate foods. A gram is a miniscule measurement when compared to animals that can often be weighed in pounds, such as sulcatas. Pretty much, unless you are feeding your tortoise nothing but one specific kind of veggie, and in massive quantities, oxalates are a non issue.

Why are oxalates bad in the first place? They bind to calcium, and may form crystals that may irritate the urinary tracts and may result in stones. That's a lot of maybe! And again, consider that many vegetables already have calcium present, AND you are supplementing with additional calcium, so any calcium that binds to the oxalates is a tiny, tiny quantity that is hardly worth noting.

In addition, another possible cause for stones is excess vitamin D3. With the amount of calcium you are offering, maybe you are providing too much D3. Does he get outside time at all? Try cutting your calcium with half plain calcium, without D3 added to it.

-Jen
 

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Per Dr. Mader, Reptile Medicine and Surgery, pp.763-767:

Urinary stones, or uroliths, can be caused by many things- insufficient A, D, or calcium; too much protein or oxalates, and bacterial infections. Dehydration is generally considered a major trigger. While larger uroliths are a major concern (taking up valuable internal space, blocking ducts, etc.), smaller stones are not considered a major health issue except insofar as they indicate care issues.

There are no definitive signs of a urolith in tortoises, although there are reports of some form of hind-limb paralysis, walking with hind up and head down, prolapses and passing blood.


As for my own input- I don't know enough about Sulcatas and their care or diets to offer much.
 

SulcataSquirt

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here is the stone next to a water bottle cap, its pretty large, I feed normal calcium and every once in a while i will give him the calcium with D3 in it, but normally he gets just the plain calcium. He has a powersun 100 watt MVB and weather is just now getting acceptable to bring him outside so hes been inside for winter.

33cracn.jpg
 

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Wow, that is pretty big, I am impressed. Unfortunately, I don't know a whole lot about this problem. I would make the comment however, that I am sure some of these happen just because an animal is more prone to having them for whatever reason, perhaps it may even be a genetic thing. So it is something that would cause me to watch this animal closely. I personally doubt it's the diet, or atleast not the diet by itself.
 

SulcataSquirt

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i really hope squirt isnt prone to them genetically.. I really didnt even know that was possible. I hope more people have some thoughts on this problem, I would assume, one stone like that is a problem, In my eyes it is anyways, has anyone practiced giving their tort mineral oil once a week just as a prevenative lube, incase their were more in their, as it could help rid the system of them?
 

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Like Jacqui mentioned, I think some animals are just more prone. I don't know if it's genetic or maybe caused by how they were cared for right after hatching.
 

Jacqui

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jaizei said:
Like Jacqui mentioned, I think some animals are just more prone. I don't know if it's genetic or maybe caused by how they were cared for right after hatching.

I honestly don't know if they are or not. It's just a guess going by how it seems to work with other scenarios some what like this in other animals. Unfortunately we may never know if it is genetics or not, as we don't keep records like that on our tortoises. Keep in mind with everything about these magnificent animals, we are just beginning to scratch the very surface on knowledge and understanding of them and their needs.
 

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In people it can be genetic,Everything I have read is that water intake is the best way to keep them from forming in people, don't know of any study done for reptiles, you can reduce the effects of raphide crystals of oxalic acid by soaking the plant in cold water over night or steaming it, how the plant is grown(light, moisture,minerals, etc) and the soil it is grown in can also affect the amount and size of the crystals in the plant.also a varied diet helps to reduce the effect. Len
 

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I have nothing definitive, but three possibilities to add to the discussion.
1. Too much protein as Mark pointed out? I would not feed Mazuri every day. Two or three days a week ought to do it.
2. An eighth of a teaspoon of calcium is a lot. And three times a week. I don't honestly know if excessive calcium can be formed into this sort of stone, but some people think it can. I only use a fraction of that amount.
3. Is it possible that that is an actual stone from the outdoor pen? I have two tortoises that will regularly eat rocks while out in there sunning pens and my "Crying Tortoise" book says that stone ingestion is fairly common in the wild ones. Every once in a while I will find some gravel at the bottom of their soaking tubs. I'm concerned about impaction, but I will not force them to live indoors in a sterile environment. I supplement these two with more calcium and more "MinerAll", and that seems to reduce the amount of rocks they ingest.
 

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Tom said:
I supplement these two with more calcium and more "MinerAll", and that seems to reduce the amount of rocks they ingest.

Confused-I thought Miner-all is a calcium supplement. You use calcium and Miner-all? If so, which Miner-all do you use? I have a rock eater too!

Sorry to hijack the thread-just interested.
 

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When I first looked at the picture of the stone my first reaction was that it was from outside. It looks just like what my tortoise eats outside if he is allowed. Is it possible that he had it in his mouth and just dropped it inside his enclosure?

Try to crack it open to see what it look like inside.
 

Tom

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Most calcium supplements are just plain calcium carbonate. If you look at the ingredients in MinerAll, there are several other things added in there too. It was suggested in a thread a while back and it has been working well for me. I think it was Yvonne's suggestion, but I can't remember for sure.

lisalove said:
Tom said:
I supplement these two with more calcium and more "MinerAll", and that seems to reduce the amount of rocks they ingest.

Confused-I thought Miner-all is a calcium supplement. You use calcium and Miner-all? If so, which Miner-all do you use? I have a rock eater too!

Sorry to hijack the thread-just interested.
 

SulcataSquirt

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It is deff not a rock from outside, as he was not outside until he passed the stone, although their are a few tiny rocks that pop up in the coco coir every once in a while. The rocks are not perfectly round like this though, as i can tell this is of urate consistancy. If it is from the excessive calcium could it have formed that big in a 2-3 month period? I also supplement minerall without d3 about once every 2 weeks, for atleast the last 8 months i have done this, just from what i read about torts trying to eat rocks and substrate, i figured i would try to prevent it from happening. I will cut back on the mazuri, and keep on with the greens, do any of you feel that the greens that i am alternating are too high in oxalates? he is well hydrated as he is always peeing, he wil eat a huge pile of greens after a soak and usually pee while still on his slate. How much calcium do you guys normally feed your tort of this size? and how often? Thanks I really appreciate everyones input on this, quite scary finding somthing like this, expecially after all the surgery storys you read on here about poor torts with big stones having to be removed, I really never thought i would have this problem. I almost hope it is from the bigger portion of calcium I introduced and that this is my warning to cut back and its not to late, and hope their isnt another stone building in their. Thanks again everyone, keep the ideas flowing if you have them.
 

lisalove

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My opinion-it probably is from the large amount of calcium.
I usually sprinkle calcium on food 2-3 times a week. When I went on vacation, my housesitter fed calcium daily for 10 days. When I got home, Nodder passed a few stones. One was pretty good size. Now he just passes what's a bit of a toothpaste texture once in a while.
 

SulcataSquirt

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Well, that kinda makes me feel better, Im gonna go back to just shakin a little calcium on with the salt shaker rather than the 1/8 teaspoon, I tested it out the other day it takes alot of shakes to fill up the 1/8th teaspoon, but with the way hes packin on grams I thought i was doing the right thing giving him more calcium, didnt even think it would stone up one me like that, If in the end thats what is causing it.
 

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LLLReptile said:
the oxalates are LESS than ONE percent of a gram, per 100 grams of food items. 100 grams is very roughly equal to 1/3rd of a cup. You're looking at maybe 1.5 grams of oxalates per cup of greens

Wouldn't that be 0.03 grams per cup?
 

Madkins007

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The thing is- you are asking a bunch of non-vets about something very specifically medical. We can GUESS all day at what caused the stone, but you would be far better off taking the stone and the tort to a good vet and get things checked out.
 
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