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Russian Tortoise Closed Eyes

Discussion in 'Tortoise Health' started by Heathcliff, May 22, 2019.

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  1. Heathcliff

    Heathcliff New Member

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    Location (City and/or State):
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    My wife recently brought home a Russian Tortoise. When he first arrive two days ago he was active and eating. A day later and his eyes had closed and now wont open. He's stopped eating and generally doesnt move around much during the day. We were using a sand substrate but we switched to Coco Coir with a thin layer of sand at the bottom and some alphalpha.

    He's in a large wooden turtle house enclosure with a grated open top.

    The temp was about 100 in his basking area and about 70/80 in the cooler spot. he has a 100 watt sunlamp The humidity stayed around 70 but not much higher.

    We're using a ReptiSun 10.0 UVB Mini Compact Fluorescent and a Repti Basking Spot Lamp Bulb that says it's 100 watts. Both lights are about 1-2 feet from the inclosure.

    We're bringing him to the vet today but Im obviously worried about his enclosure.

    Should I wet the substrate?

    Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the forum! There are a few things that could be the problem.

    -compact fluorescents are very inefficient at producing uvb, and are known for causing eye issues. Turn it off until you can get a tube fluorescent.

    -sand is an impaction risk, and a huge eye, skin, nose, and cloaca irritant. It could be leftover from that.

    -definitely wet the coconut coir. It can be dusty, which could also be irritating his eyes.

    Can we see pictures of the tortoise and enclosure?

    Please keep in mind that your tortoise requires a minimum enclosure size of 8x4 feet if it’s an adult, and give these a read-
    Russian Tortoise Care Sheet https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/Russian-Tortoise-Care-Sheet.80698/

    Beginner Mistakes https://tortoiseforum.org/index.php?threads/Beginner-Mistakes.45180/
    TammyJ, dmmj and Heathcliff like this.
  3. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin

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    More than likely it's the compact fluorescent bulb that's hurting his eyes. Scrap that bulb immediately. You can buy this product online:

    eye ointment b.jpg

    It would soothe those eyes. The bulb causes a slight burn similar to snow blindness. It will get better with time. Soak the tortoise daily, make sure the temperatures are according to our care sheet and give him lots of roaming space.
  4. Heathcliff

    Heathcliff New Member

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    Thanks for the help. Little guys at the vet now. Ill get a new UVB light, eye drops and try to dampen the substrate and let you know what the vet says.

    The house is 20.5''W x 20.5''D x 10.2''H; 10.8''W x 20.5''D x 10.2''H
    looks like this and we lined it with plastic
    [​IMG]

    substrate is about 2-3 inches deep

    One quick question is that the coco coir substrate can get a bit sticky when its damp and it gets all over him. should I try to compact it a bit?
    how damp should it be?
  5. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    I would definitely compact it, or use cypress mulch or fine grade orchid bark. It should be damp and as firm as you can get it, but not “mud” :)
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  6. dmmj

    dmmj The member formerly known as captain awesome Moderator

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    I agree with the great advice above, here's hoping it's just the bulb (most likely since it was just 1 day).
  7. Heathcliff

    Heathcliff New Member

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    The Vet said likely a Vit. A deficiency from the last owner - he's active and eating since seeing her.
    She said he's a bit weak and needs a warmer temp. We're going to do that as well as switch out the compact bulb and see how it progresses.

    thanks again everyone!
    ill post a picture of him at some point
  8. dmmj

    dmmj The member formerly known as captain awesome Moderator

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    No vitamin shots, doubtful it is vit A those are common in box turtles & other omnivorous turtles & tortoises, less common in Russians.
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  9. Cheryl Hills

    Cheryl Hills Well-Known Member

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    Is this a picture of your tort? Because that does not look like a russian. Please post a picture of the tort so we can see. And, that enclosure is way to small. They need a minimum of an 8 by 4 foot enclosure.
  10. dmmj

    dmmj The member formerly known as captain awesome Moderator

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    You're right it looks like a sulcata
  11. TechnoCheese

    TechnoCheese Well-Known Member

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    I thought so too, but I think it’s just someone else’s picture for reference :)

    +1 on the enclosure size.
  12. Heathcliff

    Heathcliff New Member

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    sorry no this is just a reference picture. im aware its a bit smaller than it should be but our entire apartment living room is only about 10' x 20' so we're doing what we can and he comes out of there. I set it up three days ago and I have plans to expand/modulate it.
    the vet we brought him too actually keeps russian tortoises herself and had two in the office. she said the problem was definitely poor health and possible vitamin deficiency from previous owners. he also had some burn marks from heat lamps too close also from previous keepers. so this has turned into a bit of a rescue. he did not get any vit A shots. she gave us a diet routine and to take him into the sun as much as possible and keep the housing a bit warmer then we would. also she gave us an ntibiotic hydrating gel for his eyes which do seem to help.
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  13. Donna Albu

    Donna Albu New Member 5 Year Member

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    Sorry to put it this way, I know you are trying your best, but...... Your enclosure is not a bit too small, it is WAY too small. The tort needs 8 feet by 4 feet, not a home that is measured in inches.
  14. Heathcliff

    Heathcliff New Member

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    it's about 3 ft by 2 ft. and i will expand it. the home he was is was much smaller. i appreciate the concern.
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