Shell rot?

Sommer

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May 20, 2017
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When taking our yorkies outside to do their business last weekend, one of our dogs grabbed something in the yard and started playing with it. We investigated and found a baby tortoise! After rescuing the little guy, we found 2 more fresh hatchlings in the yard. We placed them all in an incubator (we've raised hatchlings before), but the one the dog had has an unusual shell. The section above the torts neck is orangish in color and soft, like its breaking down. I googled shell rot, read postings on this forum, and decided to give iodine and chlorhexadine a try. After cleaning with Q-tips and water, 2 initial iodine washes and daily chlorhexadine washes, as well as slathering on clotramizole 1%, the orange has disappeared and there are faint black lines showing. Any other advice? I want to adopt the baby out to a good home but want to make sure the little guy is healthy first. Thanks for any assistance?

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Tom

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That is an injury. Most likely from the dog. If not the dog, then some other animal. Treatment with topical antibiotics should prevent infection and it will eventually heal.

Shell rot typically happens on the plastron due to overly wet or unsanitary conditions. DTs are not prone to shell rot.

Be sure to soak them every day and keep them on damp substrate with a humid hide. Dehydration is the number one killer of baby DTs. Dogs would be a close second.
 

Sommer

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So stop the clotrimazole and start bacitracin or neosporin? We've been soaking them daily and keeping them in the incubator 3/4 of the day, and they have shallow water dishes to drink or sit in at all times. Also, the incubator is quite humid. Thanks!
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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So stop the clotrimazole and start bacitracin or neosporin? We've been soaking them daily and keeping them in the incubator 3/4 of the day, and they have shallow water dishes to drink or sit in at all times. Also, the incubator is quite humid. Thanks!
I would do the antibacterial ointment for a day or two, and then let it dry out and scab over.

I'm thrilled to hear that you already know about hydration and humidity for babies.

One question: If they've already hatched and you found them above ground and ready to go, why are you keeping them in an incubator which simulates a warm nest chamber?
 

Sommer

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Good question, Tom. The two healthy torts have already been adopted out. I want to keep this little guy warm and hydrated while he's healing and I don't have anything else set up for a tort at the moment. We've been putting him in the sun, in a protected enclosure, part of the day but he's sleeping in the incubator. Hopefully, he'll be healed up quickly and can go to his new home. If not, I'll need to get everything set up again. Thanks!
 

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