russian tortoise starving herself

tortoisemamaof3

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edmonton
I have a 2 year old russian tortoise i bought less than a month ago. We bought her from her previous owners, who didn't take care of her properly. The first night my husband brought her home, I noticed her back legs were dragging. She could move them if you picked her up, but if she was on the ground, she only got around by moving her two front arms, and dragging the back legs. We made an appointment with the vet and he confirmed that she had metabolic bone disease. The vet said her skin is very healthy and does not have any parasites, but her shell was a tiny bit soft underneath. This is due to her not having proper lighting, proper enclosure, proper diet, and proper vitamin absorption from her previous owners. When we first brought her home she was eating(not much but a little) also she wasn't very active, since we brought her to the vet, she completely stopped eating. We have been weighing her everyday, and she lost 30 Grams in like 2 days. The vet told us to force feed her with baby food and a syringe and we have been doing so the past 2 days. We gave her a chance to see if she would eat today, and she dropped another 15 Grams today. We ended up having to force feed her again because she hasn't moved at all today and just been staying in one spot. You can tell her energy levels are really low and she's completely not eating or drinking. We are gonna wait and see how she is tomorrow, after force feeding her tonight we put her warm water for a soak(i saw her take her first drink in a while) Any ideas of what else we could do to help her start eating again?
 

CarolM

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South Africa - Cape Town
I have a 2 year old russian tortoise i bought less than a month ago. We bought her from her previous owners, who didn't take care of her properly. The first night my husband brought her home, I noticed her back legs were dragging. She could move them if you picked her up, but if she was on the ground, she only got around by moving her two front arms, and dragging the back legs. We made an appointment with the vet and he confirmed that she had metabolic bone disease. The vet said her skin is very healthy and does not have any parasites, but her shell was a tiny bit soft underneath. This is due to her not having proper lighting, proper enclosure, proper diet, and proper vitamin absorption from her previous owners. When we first brought her home she was eating(not much but a little) also she wasn't very active, since we brought her to the vet, she completely stopped eating. We have been weighing her everyday, and she lost 30 Grams in like 2 days. The vet told us to force feed her with baby food and a syringe and we have been doing so the past 2 days. We gave her a chance to see if she would eat today, and she dropped another 15 Grams today. We ended up having to force feed her again because she hasn't moved at all today and just been staying in one spot. You can tell her energy levels are really low and she's completely not eating or drinking. We are gonna wait and see how she is tomorrow, after force feeding her tonight we put her warm water for a soak(i saw her take her first drink in a while) Any ideas of what else we could do to help her start eating again?
First let us establish some information.
1.) What are her enclosure temps i.e. the basking spot temp. Her cool side temp and her night time temp.
2.) What is her humidty
3.) How big is her enclosure
4.) Do you soak her for 30 min a day in warm water.
5.) Has she pooped at all.
I know it is alot of questions but they are all pertinent to us trying help your little one get healthy.
 

Bambam1989

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Have you seen your tort have a bowel movement yet? Leg dragging can be a sign of constipation. I would start giving her soaks in luke warm water for as long as you are able to, to try and stimulate pooping. Keep the water warm.
If you have not seen your tort poop, I would stop force feeding her. You may cause problems if it can't come out the other end.
How was her previous owners keeping her? What was her diet?
What is you setup now?
 

JoesMum

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Kent, South East England
First let us establish some information.
1.) What are her enclosure temps i.e. the basking spot temp. Her cool side temp and her night time temp.
2.) What is her humidty
3.) How big is her enclosure
4.) Do you soak her for 30 min a day in warm water.
5.) Has she pooped at all.
I know it is a lot of questions but they are all pertinent to us trying help your little one get healthy.

And please post photos of the enclosure and lighting as they will help us to help you.

Are you certain of the age of your tort? Most Russians bought your side of the Atlantic are, in fact, wild caught adults or sub adults... age impossible to determine, but likely 5 years or more. How big/long is your tort?

Some tortoises can be very slow to get used to a new home. Everything, including you, is new and scary right now.

I recommend establishing a routine so that a new tort can be given the time and space to learn to trust you and the surroundings.

1. Put the lights on a timer so they are on for 12 hours a day and come on and go off at the same time each day. This makes your life easier too.

2. First thing in the morning, before your tort has warmed up properly, soak your tort for at least 20 minutes in warm water. This is essential when your tort isn't eating properly, but is good practice with young torts in any case.

3. While your tort soaks, tidy the enclosure and place food.

4. Replace your tort and walk away. Leave it entirely alone to be brave and explore. Resist the temptation to stand and watch; you're big and scary right now but your tort will learn that you're the bringer of yummy food eventually. Some take longer than others unfortunately.

Your tort feels happiest, healthiest and safest with all 4 feet on the floor in its enclosure. Away from the enclosure it doesn't have the heat, light or humidity it needs to be healthy. Do not let your tort roam your home or spend lots of time handling it. They're not social creatures and don't "play".

I recommend that you read these TFO care guides that were written by species experts working hard to correct the outdated information widely available on the internet and from pet stores and sadly from some breeders and vets too.

Beginner Mistakes
Are you certain of the age of your tort? Most Russians bought your side of the Atlantic are, in fact, wild caught adults or sub adults... age impossible to determine, but likely 5 years or more. How big/long is your tort?

Russian Care
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/russian-tortoise-care-sheet.80698/
 

Lucky The Tortoise

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Nov 26, 2017
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Florida I guess
Lucky (I got him about 2 years ago for my birthday) didn't eat for about 2 days after I got him. Not only is your tortoise in poor condition, the adjustment in handling and baths may stress her into not eating. If she has softshell, or she is weak (like you said,) she NEEDS calcium. I give Lucky a calcium supplement, as calcium is one of the most important nutrients for russians. Since she was so malnourished, I would recommend putting calcium powder (my favorite is ReptiCalcuim) in her food. This hardens her shell, claws and bones. A tortoise with not enough calcium becomes weak and lethargic, and she might need more than a month's worth of calcium before she adjusts to her surroundings and can et back on her feet.
 

TammyJ

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Jun 21, 2016
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Location (City and/or State)
Jamaica
I sure hope that you will take all this good advice and that your tortoise will recover in time with proper care!
Good luck.
 

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