Russian with a bit of a soft shell!

Kaylo_

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Jul 6, 2019
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Hello everyone,

I'm new here and have come for a bit of advice regarding my Russian :):tort:

Shes about 2 years old and shes been to the vet recently for a few stones which the vet put down to the warmer weather and not being hydrated enough! She has daily baths now and shes doing better not quite 100% but getting there, but now something else has come up :(

I got back from being on holiday for a week about 3 days ago and she was kept with family who looked after her great. She's been pretty good but today I noticed she didn't really move and hadn't eaten. I was giving her a bath when I noticed the sides of her shell and under her belly are soft, not quite spongy but definitely soft. The top is fine and hard and I hadn't noticed this in her previous baths before today. She's been eating fine and moving around alot prior to today. I've put it down to the UVB strip going out a bit earlier before it's meant too as its coming close to a 6 month replacement. I'm going out first thing in the morning to buy her a new one but I was wondering is there anything else to help? And do you think the stones and this could be related? I won't be able to take her to the vet until at least friday so any advice is appreciated.

I'm trying to grow her own weeds at the moment so the best she gets is dandelions, she eats a variety of shop bought leafy greens and also watercress, wild rocket, cucumber and watermelon (suggested by vet for hydration but not given often) with calcium on. Any suggestions for food with more calcium would be great. I've tried to find some higher calcium stuff before such as turnip greens but have had no look. She also has cuttlebone but never seems to touch it. I know its good for them to have actual sunlight but I live in a flat with no garden so worried about taking her to a more public place as she is only small!

Thank you for any advice you can give, I'm pretty worried!:oops:
 

dmmj

The member formerly known as captain awesome
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If your tortoise is actually only 2 then a slightly soft shell is not unheard of. What you need to figure out is if it has always been soft and is slowly hardening (normal) or if it was hard and is now going soft (not normal). Either way calcium and some natural sunshine (if possible) is the best prescription.
 

Michael231

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I agree with @dmmj in the wild most desert species don’t get a hard shell until around the age of five. With that said, in captivity, the shell often hardens sooner. Anything affecting the kidneys wouldn’t be affecting the pliability of the shell so you are ok. Kidney issues are due to a hormonal/homeostatic imbalance or a malfunction in the glomerulus’ ability to filter out the proper metabolites. Kidney stones generally form when a tortoise or turtle get too much of a compound like potassium or calcium, or are deprived of water, which leads to buildup in the renal pelvis region or in the bladder. If anything, I’d assume the shell would be pretty hard if there was a link with a stone related to overfeeding a type of nutrient.
 

Higgy

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Jul 23, 2019
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I have the same thing happening in with my hermanns. He is only about 4 months old. I noticed his underside is slightly soft and the top too. Just ever so slight give to it. Still eating tons and somewhat active. He seems to hide a lot. Not sure if I should worry....
 

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