! Please HELP Newbie-Is my Baby Sulcata sick?

Henry’s mom

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Hi I’m brand new to both the forum and new tort mom. I’ve been reading it a lot and you all are so helpful. Thank you. I’m getting really worried about my new baby Sulcata, Henry, especially after reading all about AW! ?
I got him 2 mos ago and he was 2 mos old. I don’t know tortoise biology/anatomy yet but he always seemed to have lighter (yellowISH) “eyebrows” or eyelids and his nose/beak is sort of pointy. About 4 weeks ago I noticed that one of his nostrils looked a little bit like a pimple (now that I’ve seen that term used). About 7-10 days later that went away. Then a week later (2 weeks ago now) one of his eyelids looked a little like it. The next day or two it had changed to the other eye. Thought I was crazy so wrote it down and the next day it was back to the other eye! Promise I’m not crazy. So I’ve been keeping an eye on him since then because I’m not sure what is normal growth and changes or what isn’t.
HOWEVER the last 5 days he has peed urates-he’s only done that once before. I started soaking him every day and twice a day the last two days. Yesterday I heard and saw him sneeze and pull his head in. And I think there might have been one tiny bubble but I’m not positive-I thought it was something on his nose. Then when I soaked him he sneezed 2-3 more times. So I lowered his light. He usually lays in 95-100F and now he chooses 98-104. I’m making sure he always has fresh food and water and he’s eating about the same. Yesterday and even more today just a lot of sleep. I’m trying to baby him but not sure what else to do other than a vet if needed but hoping you guys can help.
I’ve included pictures. 1. On my hand when I got him 8 weeks ago 2. On blue blanket 5 weeks ago 3. On stripes 3 weeks ago 4.-6. In his enclosure today. Thank you.
 

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Lyn W

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Hi and welcome,
This is the caresheet you need so that you can check that his living conditions and temps are the best they can be to enable him to thrive.
There is still a lot of old, outdated information about tort care being passed around but if you post pics of his enclosure and the lamps you are using you'll get good advice to make sure he has everything he needs to be safe and healthy.
 

Tom

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Hi I’m brand new to both the forum and new tort mom. I’ve been reading it a lot and you all are so helpful. Thank you. I’m getting really worried about my new baby Sulcata, Henry, especially after reading all about AW! ?
I got him 2 mos ago and he was 2 mos old. I don’t know tortoise biology/anatomy yet but he always seemed to have lighter (yellowISH) “eyebrows” or eyelids and his nose/beak is sort of pointy. About 4 weeks ago I noticed that one of his nostrils looked a little bit like a pimple (now that I’ve seen that term used). About 7-10 days later that went away. Then a week later (2 weeks ago now) one of his eyelids looked a little like it. The next day or two it had changed to the other eye. Thought I was crazy so wrote it down and the next day it was back to the other eye! Promise I’m not crazy. So I’ve been keeping an eye on him since then because I’m not sure what is normal growth and changes or what isn’t.
HOWEVER the last 5 days he has peed urates-he’s only done that once before. I started soaking him every day and twice a day the last two days. Yesterday I heard and saw him sneeze and pull his head in. And I think there might have been one tiny bubble but I’m not positive-I thought it was something on his nose. Then when I soaked him he sneezed 2-3 more times. So I lowered his light. He usually lays in 95-100F and now he chooses 98-104. I’m making sure he always has fresh food and water and he’s eating about the same. Yesterday and even more today just a lot of sleep. I’m trying to baby him but not sure what else to do other than a vet if needed but hoping you guys can help.
I’ve included pictures. 1. On my hand when I got him 8 weeks ago 2. On blue blanket 5 weeks ago 3. On stripes 3 weeks ago 4.-6. In his enclosure today. Thank you.
Hello and welcome.

We need more info:
What heating and lighting are you using?

What are your other three temps? Warm side, cooler side, we got the basking area (98-104), and overnight low?

What does the baby weigh?

Where did you get the baby, and how was he started?
 

TheLastGreen

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I don’t know tortoise biology/anatomy yet but he always seemed to have lighter (yellowISH) “eyebrows” or eyelids and his nose/beak is sort of pointy. About 4 weeks ago I noticed that one of his nostrils looked a little bit like a pimple (now that I’ve seen that term used). About 7-10 days later that went away. Then a week later (2 weeks ago now) one of his eyelids looked a little like it. The next day or two it had changed to the other eye. Thought I was crazy so wrote it down and the next day it was back to the other eye! Promise I’m not crazy. So I’ve been keeping an eye on him since then because I’m not sure what is normal growth and changes or what isn’t.
HOWEVER the last 5 days he has peed urates-he’s only done that once before. I started soaking him every day and twice a day the last two days. Yesterday I heard and saw him sneeze and pull his head in. And I think there might have been one tiny bubble but I’m not positive-I thought it was something on his nose. Then when I soaked him he sneezed 2-3 more times. So I lowered his light.
Can you send images of the soft skin area of the neck? If you are scared that it is austwickia, @mastershake @zovick are the experts on it and can help identify
 

mastershake

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can you get some better pics of the skin on the legs and the neck i dont see anything in the ones you posted. if they have austwickia EVERY case so far has had specific symptoms. i have seen hundreds (sadly) first hand now with it and every single one had some type of physical symptom. sneezing could be their substrate is to dry and they breathed some in or a bunch of other reasons. his facial structure in the pics looks okay. they can vary some from one to another. is he eating? is he basking? are you soaking him? etc etc
 

Henry’s mom

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Hi and welcome...take a deep breath...I've had tortoises for a whole lotta years, and I'm not sure I've ever heard one sneeze. Are you saying you are worried about a respiratory disease or austwickia?
Hi thank you for responding. I’m concerned about both. With the daily urates and then the sneezing and little lethargy the last two days I made my best guess at a RI and have tried to do what people on here suggested. I assume they were sneezes because the way someone else described them. Like a little squeak and he pulls his head in. ? But the little “bumps” or areas that seem to get a little inflamed makes me worried about AW since it’s lethal. Breaks my heart. There’s 3 things that i know need to correct-put lights on a timer because I’ve fallen asleep with it on too late, I don’t know for sure what the humidity should be because everyone has a different opinion (and if I should use different substrate because of it), and I think I need, or feel like I should use, some type of animal safe cleaner for his things. The store I bought him said never use anything but water or vinegar if I absolutely have to. I’m going to read the care sheet above and provide more answers above. Thank you for any and all advice!
 

Henry’s mom

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Can you send images of the soft skin area of the neck? If you are scared that it is austwickia, @mastershake @zovick are the experts on it and can help identify
Thank you so much for responding. I just took these pictures while he was soaking. I don’t see any spots but I’m not an expert. The last one he’s posing-doesn’t look thrilled when I hold him up or upside down.
 

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mastershake

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currently from those pics i see nothing of concern. has there been any facial swelling or edema of the front body? any rear leg toenails falling out? did the bumps you saw look like these (see attached picture). if not at this time i dont see anything to worry about. IF they have austwickia the bumps will come back and you will see them again sooner then later. so keep an eye out for anything like that. follow the care guide here and this will def give them the best care you can at this age.
 

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Henry’s mom

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Hello and welcome
I'm not sure what your question is.
Are you concerned about the sneezing?
You mentioned temperature. What is your humidity level
Hi thank you for responding. I’m worried about both a RI and AW. I’m not positive the cheap thermometer/hydrometer works well because I use a temp gun for that. The humidity now says about 55.
 

Henry’s mom

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Hi and welcome,
This is the caresheet you need so that you can check that his living conditions and temps are the best they can be to enable him to thrive.
There is still a lot of old, outdated information about tort care being passed around but if you post pics of his enclosure and the lamps you are using you'll get good advice to make sure he has everything he needs to be safe and healthy.
Wonderful! Thank you so much for responding. Attached is pics of his enclosure but now I use a 8.5” dome instead of 5.5” and he’s been up on a table since last weekend. I haven’t read the care sheet yet but will tonight. I think the RI could be likely because unfortunately I had to travel by car for 10 hours for Thanksgiving and it was cold when traveling and a little cooler (73 instead of 76) in their house. I did everything I could think of to keep him warm and not stressed out.
 

Lyn W

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Wonderful! Thank you so much for responding. Attached is pics of his enclosure but now I use a 8.5” dome instead of 5.5” and he’s been up on a table since last weekend. I haven’t read the care sheet yet but will tonight. I think the RI could be likely because unfortunately I had to travel by car for 10 hours for Thanksgiving and it was cold when traveling and a little cooler (73 instead of 76) in their house. I did everything I could think of to keep him warm and not stressed out.
The pics haven't posted yet, it's the bulbs you use inside the dome we need to see.
Do you use night heat?
 

Henry’s mom

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can you get some better pics of the skin on the legs and the neck i dont see anything in the ones you posted. if they have austwickia EVERY case so far has had specific symptoms. i have seen hundreds (sadly) first hand now with it and every single one had some type of physical symptom. sneezing could be their substrate is to dry and they breathed some in or a bunch of other reasons. his facial structure in the pics looks okay. they can vary some from one to another. is he eating? is he basking? are you soaking him? etc etc
Also he is eating and defecating normal. And still basking too. I was soaking him every other day until the last week and then doing it every day. twice a day the last 3 days.
 

Henry’s mom

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The pics haven't posted yet, it's the bulbs you use inside the dome we need to see.
Do you use night heat?
Oh sorry about that. I use a mercury vapor bulb at 100W
 

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mastershake

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i recc a temp gun for basking temps and for ambient you can use a regular gauge or the gun if you take multiple temps in various locations it will give you a good idea you want a basking spot around 95-100 deg. keep his temps up now and just monitor him. he prob will be fine. 10 hours is not really that long of a time. what concerns you about the daily urates. they should have daily urates at this age. you do need to make sure night time temps stay up around 80deg ambient in the enclosure. i really dont personally like the mercury bulbs. i much prefer to use a separate t5 tube style uvb bulb and a separate basking bulb for heat.
 

Henry’s mom

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The pics haven't posted yet, it's the bulbs you use inside the dome we need to see.
Do you use night heat?
Also no night heat other than if I accidentally fall asleep. ? They’re going on a timer. It’s usually on about noon-midnight or 1:00am. I keep the house temp 76-77F.
 

Lyn W

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Oh sorry about that. I use a mercury vapor bulb at 100W
The MVB bulbs aren't recommended anymore because they have been found to dry and damage tort shells.
Many of us use a T5 HO tube kit for UVB with a separate flood basking bulb and a ceramic heat emitter (CHE) for night and extra heat. The CHE just gives heat because torts need darkness to sleep and must be run through a thermostat to turn it on and off which keeps temps even and stops it getting too hot.
Check the caresheet for temps but I think your baby may need to be warmer at night.
 

mastershake

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we are near sarasota also. if you feel they need to see a vet we have a wonderful local one in sarasota which i know is about an hour but i would recc her without hesitation. if you change a few things with your setup at this time it sounds like that are doing fine though
 

Henry’s mom

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Hello and welcome.

We need more info:
What heating and lighting are you using?

What are your other three temps? Warm side, cooler side, we got the basking area (98-104), and overnight low?

What does the baby weigh?

Where did you get the baby, and how was he started?
The coolest area and night temp is usually about 76. Then the rest of the enclosure gets cooler as further away from the light (obviously) so most of it ranges 82-100. He has the hide side of the enclosure but you can see in the enclosure pic that I have it closed off since he’s so tiny and hardly ever uses his cave hide. I thought it might be like getting a bigger house as he got bigger. Is that wrong to do? I use a 100W mercury lamp with 8.5” dome. I don’t know what he weighs but just saw that’s important so I’ll get a food scale (I guess that’s the right kind?) I bought him from a local reptile pet store in the Tampa area in FL. I don’t know what you mean about how was he started?
 
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