Eve0810

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Please help - respiratory infection

We had bark as our hermann tortoises substrate which was suggested to us. We think he must have caught himself on it or some furniture and has had sepsis as a result. We took him to the vets for a course of antibiotics (10 injections). The sepsis has gone but he seems to have a respiratory infection now - the vet said to up the temperate to sort that, between 35 and 40 degrees. We use the infrared thermometer to check and it is 37 degrees directly under the heat lamp and around 35 degrees surrounding and 27 in the colder side. We have changed the substrate to soil but when he walks through his water he dampens the substrate extensively and the vet said this will not help his infection. The vet said to keep his enclosure dry and he will moisten it himself. But he is panting and he was whistling earlier so we are going to spray it with water again to keep the humidity up. He is still active but not as much. We are getting him a larger enclosure Wednesday.
 

wellington

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Vets are still stuck on old outdated info. Raise the temp to 85F in the whole enclosure so there is no cooler spots but still have a 95-100F basking area and keep humidity up to at least 50% and water available 24/7.
 

Eve0810

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Vets are still stuck on old outdated info. Raise the temp to 85F in the whole enclosure so there is no cooler spots but still have a 95-100F basking area and keep humidity up to at least 50% and water available 24/7.
Thank you, we did everything you suggested and have noticed an improvement already. He has not been squeaking/whistling since and has been more active.
 

wellington

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Thank you, we did everything you suggested and have noticed an improvement already. He has not been squeaking/whistling since and has been more active.
Keep those temps until he seems to be 100% recovered. Then for at least one more week longer.
If ever you see or hear any kind of wheezing, runny nose, etc, push those temps back up. A lot of times that's all that's needed.
 

Tom

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Please help - respiratory infection

We had bark as our hermann tortoises substrate which was suggested to us. We think he must have caught himself on it or some furniture and has had sepsis as a result. We took him to the vets for a course of antibiotics (10 injections). The sepsis has gone but he seems to have a respiratory infection now - the vet said to up the temperate to sort that, between 35 and 40 degrees. We use the infrared thermometer to check and it is 37 degrees directly under the heat lamp and around 35 degrees surrounding and 27 in the colder side. We have changed the substrate to soil but when he walks through his water he dampens the substrate extensively and the vet said this will not help his infection. The vet said to keep his enclosure dry and he will moisten it himself. But he is panting and he was whistling earlier so we are going to spray it with water again to keep the humidity up. He is still active but not as much. We are getting him a larger enclosure Wednesday.
Soil is not safe. It is made from composted yard waste and there is no way to know what is in it. Could be something toxic.

What kind of bark were you using? Bark doesn't cause sepsis or RI.
 

Eve0810

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We were using orchid bark and switched to Mediterranean soil from the pet shop as the vet told us to - it was also her that said he could have caught himself on the bark. But we aren’t happy with her advice so far and are switching back to fine orchid bark (which arrives tomorrow) as other pages in this forum have suggested.
 

Eve0810

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Soil is not safe. It is made from composted yard waste and there is no way to know what is in it. Could be something toxic.

What kind of bark were you using? Bark doesn't cause sepsis or RI.
we’ve been told to get fine grain orchid bark for our Herman tortoise however on the back of the packet it says not suitable for “Mediterranean tortoise” and not suit for “horsfield tortoise” it’s 100% natural is this still okay to use we’ve been getting told so many different things? Thank you
 

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Tom

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we’ve been told to get fine grain orchid bark for our Herman tortoise however on the back of the packet it says not suitable for “Mediterranean tortoise” and not suit for “horsfield tortoise” it’s 100% natural is this still okay to use we’ve been getting told so many different things? Thank you
Hmmm... Nobody told all the "Mediterranean" tortoises that have been in my care over the last several decades that their substrate wasn't suitable.

There is a lot of old incorrect tortoise info out in the world. Some of it even makes it onto packages in pet shops. This is like the bales of cedar shavings with the cute pictures of little furry animals on them. Cedar is literally toxic to small mammals. People would bring back a dead hamster and ask: "Well why is there pictures of hamsters and rabbits on the label?" I did not have a good answer for them.

If you are doing online "research" and talking to the people in the pet shops, you are about 95% certain to get wrong info, contradicting info, and experience a lot of frustration. I'm trying to fix this problem, as are many other here on our wonderful tortoise forum, but its truly an impossible task. Here is the good news: You have now found the one place on earth that I know of with loads of experienced tortoise keepers that actually give first hand, experienced based advice for tortoises that actually works. Welcome!

The same people telling you that orchid bark is not suitable will undoubtably tell you to use soil and sand, both of with can kill your tortoise and sometimes does.

FIne grade orchid bark is the best of all compromises for most indoor tortoise housing situations. I prefer a damp, thick, hand packed layer of coco coir for baby testudo or California desert tortoises, but I move both of them to fine grade orchid bark once they get to about 3-4 inches. All my other species are started as brand new hatchlings on fine grade orchid bark from day one in their first enclosure.

More here:

Questions are welcome. You don't have to just accept this info because I said so. Feel free to ask for more explanation.
 

Mrs.Jennifer

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I use 100% fine grade orchid bark (Reptibark brand) for my Russian tortoise. It is wonderful for keeping the humidity up. I even plant grass seed in it and it grows beautifully!
 

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Eve0810

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Hmmm... Nobody told all the "Mediterranean" tortoises that have been in my care over the last several decades that their substrate wasn't suitable.

There is a lot of old incorrect tortoise info out in the world. Some of it even makes it onto packages in pet shops. This is like the bales of cedar shavings with the cute pictures of little furry animals on them. Cedar is literally toxic to small mammals. People would bring back a dead hamster and ask: "Well why is there pictures of hamsters and rabbits on the label?" I did not have a good answer for them.

If you are doing online "research" and talking to the people in the pet shops, you are about 95% certain to get wrong info, contradicting info, and experience a lot of frustration. I'm trying to fix this problem, as are many other here on our wonderful tortoise forum, but its truly an impossible task. Here is the good news: You have now found the one place on earth that I know of with loads of experienced tortoise keepers that actually give first hand, experienced based advice for tortoises that actually works. Welcome!

The same people telling you that orchid bark is not suitable will undoubtably tell you to use soil and sand, both of with can kill your tortoise and sometimes does.

FIne grade orchid bark is the best of all compromises for most indoor tortoise housing situations. I prefer a damp, thick, hand packed layer of coco coir for baby testudo or California desert tortoises, but I move both of them to fine grade orchid bark once they get to about 3-4 inches. All my other species are started as brand new hatchlings on fine grade orchid bark from day one in their first enclosure.

More here:

Questions are welcome. You don't have to just accept this info because I said so. Feel free to ask for more explanation.
- this is in reply to the removal of the hay and lather enclosure comment you left on my other thread. Just thought this relates more to his health.

Thank you, we have removed the hay now. Unfortunately that is the biggest we can go right now (we recently upgraded to this one after the one sold to us from the pet shop was even smaller). But hopefully in around 8 months time we are hoping to move and will be able to get him a much larger space.

He is still active and eating, but is still breathing heavy or struggling to breathe. It seems his arms move with him as he breathes. We have took him to the vets (she stated this was a respiratory infection) and have a check up with her at the end of this month. I just would like further advice if possible as the vets was not good (hay/soil/keeping the viv dry etc). We have altered the temperatures and humidity levels to what was suggested on this thread, but just anything else would be of great help. Thank you.
 

Eve0810

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I use 100% fine grade orchid bark (Reptibark brand) for my Russian tortoise. It is wonderful for keeping the humidity up. I even plant grass seed in it and it grows beautifully!
That looks lovely! Thank you, this is a great idea and one we will definitely be trying
 

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