Poorly Russian (again)

No1much

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This is a long one so tldr at the end 😬

My Russian cadwell won't get out of bed and his eyes seem a little puffy. He rubs them a little too.
If I get him up he will eat and go back to bed. He's walking fine (if a little slow). He's alert when he's up. No runny nose or apparent breathing issues. It seemed to start after a heat wave we had recently. He seems to get like this after every drastic weather/season change.
In the past I've panicked (I'm a worrier and over cautious) and taken him to the vet. My fav vet (she has torts herself) has closed while they build a brand new surgery so I take him to a different one (both exotic vets) This vet has ALWAYS prescribed antibiotics without fail. He's had at least 3 courses in the 3 years I've had him. The vet ALWAYS prescribes antibiotics to my other tort whenever he seems rough too. He's also had probably 2-3 courses.
Lately I've opted to just give extra care to them when they seem off. I've increased cadwells temps slightly, I'm giving him eye drops with vit A and plenty of hydration (longer, warmer baths every 2/3 days) and peace. I get him up once a day to make sure he eats and then let him go back to bed with little fuss.
My question is am I doing the right thing? As mentioned every time I take him to the vet they just give antibiotics. This is really stressful to him as he can smell them on food and won't eat it so it has to be injections. Surely this cycle can't be good for his organs? They always snap out of it eventually and I'm not sure if it's the antibiotics or the extra care. So I just nurse them back to health now and it usually works.
Both torts came from the same batch and both had health problems straight away. The trusted vet seemed to think they didn't have the right start at the breeders so I think they are just fragile.

TLDR: Russian gets "unwell" often. Everytime I take to vet gets prescribed antibiotic injections. Decided to stop and nurse him instead.
 

Maro2Bear

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Id suggest stop taking to the vet that automatically gives antibiotic injections. What are they treating.?

Now, what kind of lights are you using?

Something is wrong with your husbandry that is causing these bouts of sickness.

Try to upload a few pix of your enclosure. That might help us figure things out.
 

No1much

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Sep 24, 2019
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Cardiff
Id suggest stop taking to the vet that automatically gives antibiotic injections. What are they treating.?

Now, what kind of lights are you using?

Something is wrong with your husbandry that is causing these bouts of sickness.

Try to upload a few pix of your enclosure. That might help us figure things out.
It's a 44 inch (1.18m) by 25 inch (0.6m) table. Substrate is soil/sand mix I've experimented with others. This seems to be what he prefers and what my vet uses. 100w mercury vapor bulb (moved up so I could take a pic). T8 12% tube. Temps monitored by 3 different types of thermometer in different places to ensure temp ranges. As well as temp gun Access to clean water 24/7. Large range of foods as well as calcium. Nutribal/reptiboost occasionally. He has various enrichment "toys" (bridges, slates,logs etc) which are all out atm just so it's easier to move around. Glass panel above hide for heat mat (not in place cos its summer). Lights are on timers for 12 hours per day. Humidity at this minute is 51%. Both torts have identical setups but different toys and never have contact. If they even see each other at bath time they try to get to each other. He was tested for parasites 3 months ago. Negative.
Excuse his Christmas decorations. I still haven't taken them down.

I have friends who literally have theirs in vivariums on newspaper with a shoe box and eat iceberg and have never seen a vet in ten years and they have perfect health. I've toyed with the idea of getting an extra large Viv to just have more control over humidity, draughts and temps. Do you think that might be better?

Pic of shelves is an old one because the area is a mess right now 😂😂
 

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Ink

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Wait for an expert however your substrate is bad and needs to be changed now. Sand can cause an impaction. @Yvonne G @jsheffield or @Tom should help you soon. No sand
 

wellington

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Enclosures are way too small. Minimum of a 4x8 foot.
No sand as mentioned. Orchid bark or coconut coir.
What are the temps? I'm guessing too hot as the enclosure is too small to get a varied temp. Basking should be 95-100. All over 75-80 and down to room temp at night no lower then 60.
Do not give any medication unless the vet actually has found a reason to give it. Just giving it for no reason is a poor vet and should not be used.
Make needed changes asap.
 

No1much

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Enclosures are way too small. Minimum of a 4x8 foot.
No sand as mentioned. Orchid bark or coconut coir.
What are the temps? I'm guessing too hot as the enclosure is too small to get a varied temp. Basking should be 95-100. All over 75-80 and down to room temp at night no lower then 60.
Do not give any medication unless the vet actually has found a reason to give it. Just giving it for no reason is a poor vet and should not be used.
Make needed changes asap.
Actually the temps are always spot on. 100 under his bulb and down to 75 80 ish on the other side. It's actually relatively easy unless we're having an extreme weather event such as a heat wave, and in a previous post when I mentioned the heat wave I was laughed at and told "that's not heat" "they're just getting warmed up". As I said it's monitored with separate thermometers. I don't like orchid bark at all. It's not very sturdy footing for them. Cococoir gets dragged everywhere including all over their food and water dish. The soil sand mix is usually mostly organic top soil with a cup or two of sand in. Although I did a soil change last week and couldn't get organic topsoil I trusted so atm I'm using Mediterranean tortoise substrate as a stop gap. Tortoises don't walk on coconut fibre or orchid bark in the wild. When I got them I was meant to be moving into a house with a garden. That fell through so atm I'm in a flat. They do come out and get a change of scenery. Many people keep them in much smaller tables /Viv's without issue. It's not right, I know but I will get them bigger space when I can. I don't think any of what is going on is caused by impaction. He poops and urates fine. So does the other one. In fact. I stopped using orchid bark because I went to the vet for a check up and when they took a stool sample there was a small chunk of bark in the stool.

My setup was all recommended by an experienced reptile vet who keeps her russian the same way. I also consulted a local tortoise sanctuary and the exotic pet shop. I know substrate is a heated topic. It just feels like alot of times when people post in this forum they get ripped apart for "bad" setups. Would it be nice if I were a boomer with a huge garden ? Yes. Unfortunately my generation usually doesn't get that luxury. We do our best. I even monitor them on cameras when I'm in work in case they flip. They see a vet at least twice a year even if there's nothing wrong. I devote my life to these animals.

I came here to ask if I was doing the right thing by not taking them to the vet knowing they will just get antibiotics again and I just got talked down to and it's frustrating.
 

wellington

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No, you are not getting talked down too! We can't just answer a question without knowing all the info. What kind of forum would that be?
You don't even want to take any of the suggestions given
If your vet was so great they why would they give you medication for nothing they can find? Might want to really think on that one.
There is no tortoise education in vet school. The info from this forum is a mixture of years, years or experience, rescues, experiments and more.
You disregarded or had an excuse for just about everything asked or recommended.
What you described happening is not normal unless its changing of the seasons. Not just the temps/weather outside.
Don't take anyone's advice here and hopefully your tort will survive its expected life span.
If they are so important to you than open your mind and learn from years of experience and mistakes already made and corrected.
 

methos75

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Just going to throw it out there, but if the tortoise is constantly sick then your setup is obviously not fine, surely you understand that. It's seems that would be common sense. The people giving you advice here are much more experienced and knowledgeable than a vet or pet store employee, that I can guarantee. You can take the advice or leave it, but if you want him to survive I would take it.
 

HoosierTort

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Actually the temps are always spot on. 100 under his bulb and down to 75 80 ish on the other side. It's actually relatively easy unless we're having an extreme weather event such as a heat wave, and in a previous post when I mentioned the heat wave I was laughed at and told "that's not heat" "they're just getting warmed up". As I said it's monitored with separate thermometers. I don't like orchid bark at all. It's not very sturdy footing for them. Cococoir gets dragged everywhere including all over their food and water dish. The soil sand mix is usually mostly organic top soil with a cup or two of sand in. Although I did a soil change last week and couldn't get organic topsoil I trusted so atm I'm using Mediterranean tortoise substrate as a stop gap. Tortoises don't walk on coconut fibre or orchid bark in the wild. When I got them I was meant to be moving into a house with a garden. That fell through so atm I'm in a flat. They do come out and get a change of scenery. Many people keep them in much smaller tables /Viv's without issue. It's not right, I know but I will get them bigger space when I can. I don't think any of what is going on is caused by impaction. He poops and urates fine. So does the other one. In fact. I stopped using orchid bark because I went to the vet for a check up and when they took a stool sample there was a small chunk of bark in the stool.

My setup was all recommended by an experienced reptile vet who keeps her russian the same way. I also consulted a local tortoise sanctuary and the exotic pet shop. I know substrate is a heated topic. It just feels like alot of times when people post in this forum they get ripped apart for "bad" setups. Would it be nice if I were a boomer with a huge garden ? Yes. Unfortunately my generation usually doesn't get that luxury. We do our best. I even monitor them on cameras when I'm in work in case they flip. They see a vet at least twice a year even if there's nothing wrong. I devote my life to these animals.

I came here to ask if I was doing the right thing by not taking them to the vet knowing they will just get antibiotics again and I just got talked down to and it's frustrating.
I’m glad you came here for some help. Please don’t take offense to answers or questions anyone has said or asked. They’re just trying to get a full picture of what is going on.

As for the substrate, I don’t buy into the whole NO SAND thing. I use it in almost every enclosure I have any I’ve never once had a single impact ion. That said, I also don’t just use sand nor is it the majority of my mix.

As for your setup…. I know it was recommended by an exotic vet, but it’s junk. They don’t have enough space and make every issue you have with the tort compounded. I have seen people put two or three of these together for a larger footprint, but I would highly suggest something outside if possible.

With what you’re saying, I would expect a vitamin A deficiency to at least be playing part of the problem. How old are your lights?

Just a bit of info…. Most vets, even exotic vets, don’t know much of anything regarding the husbandry of turtles and tortoises. They also don’t understand that stress is the biggest killer of chelonians. Once their cortisol levels are elevated, everything else is screwed. I often feel people taking a tort to the vet is what pushes them over the top. I would consider that when deciding if you want to take one or not.
 

Cathie G

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It's a 44 inch (1.18m) by 25 inch (0.6m) table. Substrate is soil/sand mix I've experimented with others. This seems to be what he prefers and what my vet uses. 100w mercury vapor bulb (moved up so I could take a pic). T8 12% tube. Temps monitored by 3 different types of thermometer in different places to ensure temp ranges. As well as temp gun Access to clean water 24/7. Large range of foods as well as calcium. Nutribal/reptiboost occasionally. He has various enrichment "toys" (bridges, slates,logs etc) which are all out atm just so it's easier to move around. Glass panel above hide for heat mat (not in place cos its summer). Lights are on timers for 12 hours per day. Humidity at this minute is 51%. Both torts have identical setups but different toys and never have contact. If they even see each other at bath time they try to get to each other. He was tested for parasites 3 months ago. Negative.
Excuse his Christmas decorations. I still haven't taken them down.

I have friends who literally have theirs in vivariums on newspaper with a shoe box and eat iceberg and have never seen a vet in ten years and they have perfect health. I've toyed with the idea of getting an extra large Viv to just have more control over humidity, draughts and temps. Do you think that might be better?

Pic of shelves is an old one because the area is a mess right now 😂😂
You are correct in not taking your Tortoise to a vet that just prescribes antibiotics for anything and everything. Sounds like doctors I've been to for me. Antibiotics come with health problems caused by them and then there's the needle hole in Tortoise skin. Those take a long time to heal shut. If they ever do completely. In the meantime they have a hole in their skin.
 
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