SICK BABY SULLY! URGENT!

darlingtiffy

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My baby sulcata seems very sick. We're on day 3 of lethargy and barely eating. I tried a carrot baby food soak the day before yesterday. He hated it and it did nothing, so I started pedialyte (clear) soaks last night. He's had 2 so far. In his tote he barely moves. Where ever you put him is where he stays. Outside he'll perk up, walk around and eat, but his energy level still seems down. On top of all of that, he has something weird going on with the back of his shell. Its on the top shell right where it splits for his tail. The shell there is very...loose? Flexible? I can't describe it. It feels like you could snap it off like a too thin fingernail. The rest of his shell is fine. Bottom feels like a butter tub lid and the top is firmer. He is currently peeling around his head/face, neck, and legs too. I know that's supposed to be normal, but I'm listing everything just in case. I have not seen poop in a bit, but it's been hit or miss on finding it for quite a while. I'll see some every now and then and it looks fine. He stopped pooping in his soaks a long time ago.

We've been worried about him and hatchling failure sydrome since we got him. (See previous posts) It's been a roller coaster. He's barely grown and he's never been constantly stable. He'll do great for a while, which could be days or weeks, and then seem take a dive. We'll get him back to eating and good for a while and then he'll take another dive. It's never been this bad though. I'm honestly scared that he's dying. There are no exotic vets near us and I honestly don't have the money for a vet visit right now if there was.

He's in a 4.5ishx2.5ish tote filled with moist eco earth. The tote has a clip on CHE on a thermostat and a small led light bar. Hot side is around 88-91 and has a slate tile under the heat lamp. The cool side is 80-85. Humidity stays around 80-90. It will occasionally drop into the high 70's. He doesn't have a basking bulb because he goes out to eat twice a day in the yard for at least 30 mins each trip. (much longer on the weekends) Up until last night he had two hides and a plant he could go under, but I cleaned his substrate with boiling water yesterday and took out the big log. He has small terra cotta saucers for food and water, but we put food on the tile as well. We feed a mix of romaine, spring mix with no spinach, and his favorite grass and leaves in his tote. He has a Turtlebone, but won't touch it. I sprinkle repcal calcium without d3 on his food once or twice a week. He hates it though. (He's a big sniffer. Smells everything before he'll eat it. If it doesn't smell right he won't eat it.) He also gets soaked once a day. We've never seen him drink though. I feel like we're doing everything right(ish), but he's just not thriving and now we have this. What else can I do for him???




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wellington

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Raise the hotter/basking temp to 95-100. Basking is to digest the food properly. Going outside gives him uvb and you then don't need a uvb bulb, but you do need a basking spot. Make the over all enclosure day and night 85 and do not let it drop, specially not into the 70's, specially for one that may be sick. Be sure you are measuring temps at tortoise level and with a reliable source. Not those round puck style thermometer.
You said he acts okay outside and eats. He could possibly be very ticked off when he's inside. Babies do sleep a lot, however, he should move around a few times too eat.
The softer shell area I have no idea about.
Post pics of the enclosure and the shell area.
 

darlingtiffy

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Raise the hotter/basking temp to 95-100. Basking is to digest the food properly. Going outside gives him uvb and you then don't need a uvb bulb, but you do need a basking spot. Make the over all enclosure day and night 85 and do not let it drop, specially not into the 70's, specially for one that may be sick. Be sure you are measuring temps at tortoise level and with a reliable source. Not those round puck style thermometer.
You said he acts okay outside and eats. He could possibly be very ticked off when he's inside. Babies do sleep a lot, however, he should move around a few times too eat.
The softer shell area I have no idea about.
Post pics of the enclosure and the shell area.

Pics of enclosure, temp readings, and really depressed tort attached. He definitely does not act normal outside in the yard- lots of naps and not as much movement as usual. He's just a little perkier and will actually eat some out there. In his tote he basically does not move at all. Today he moved a few steps from out under the heat lamp and that was it. This is a tort who would come running to investigate and eat if he saw you messing with his tile. Who would wander between the two hides and would climb them. Now he just "melts" and is instantly asleep as soon as you put him down. He barely opens his eyes. He only opens them in his soaks or if he's outside for a while. He just seems really blah and really weak.

He's been soaked three times today. Once in carrots, and twice in pedialyte. He's also been outside 3 times as that's the only place he'll eat. His weird shell spot looks completely normal. It's just right over his tail where the sides meet, and it makes a little v, it'll wiggle and push in like a fingernail that's super thin. It feels like I could break it off. Does that make more sense?

I don't know what else to do for him...I seriously feel like the next time I look in his tote he'll be dead. :(

(Fyi- the whole romaine leaf is not normally in his tote. That was desperation in trying to get him to eat. Desperation is also why his water dish looks orange. It has carrots and water in it.)

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wellington

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The last picture of his head/neck does not look normal at all. It's a bit blurry but still looks way off. They don't normally peel that much and at that size that I have ever seen. I'm thinking you need to find a good reptile vet that has experience with tortoises. I think there is something going on inside, possibly a type of infection or fungus that has something to do with the peeling.
In the mean time keep him warm and hydrated and feed what you can get him too eat, romaine is fine for now and anything else you can get him too eat.
@Yvonne G @Tom
 

darlingtiffy

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The last picture of his head/neck does not look normal at all. It's a bit blurry but still looks way off. They don't normally peel that much and at that size that I have ever seen. I'm thinking you need to find a good reptile vet that has experience with tortoises. I think there is something going on inside, possibly a type of infection or fungus that has something to do with the peeling.
In the mean time keep him warm and hydrated and feed what you can get him too eat, romaine is fine for now and anything else you can get him too eat.
@Yvonne G @Tom

Some of the peeling has only happened as of today and is partially my fault. He's being soaked a lot so his skin is soft and then I'm petting/rubbing him to wake him up (and love on him) and it's sloughing off. He also has a habit of rubbing his eyes and face with his legs and he's pulling off patches.

We don't have any reptile vets around us. (I called every vet I could find) Honestly though, I can't afford specialty vet prices right now if there was one. :(

I literally left for the store right after I replied to your original post and I just got home. He's flat out in the same spot I left him in, and he's still alive. He just looks so sick. It's really hard to look at him.

I picked up more baby food carrots, dandelion greens, and a small pumpkin for him. I'm hoping those will seem more enticing and get him to eat in his tote.
 

darlingtiffy

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I am also wondering if there's a chance of this being a food issue...I've switched between a few different spring mixes over the last couple weeks trying to find one without so much spinach. I take the spinach out completely due to the calcium issues with it and then mix the rest with grass and leaves he likes from the yard. Most of the mixes have chard and frilly lettuces in it. He won't eat the red lettuces, but loves the chard and frilly green ones. He eats plenty in the yard when he goes out, but he was also eating a lot of the spring mix in his tote. (he would pick it out over the yard stuff) Could the chard and other lettuces have caused a calcium issue or another food related issue??? I read too much vitamin a can cause skin sloughing too, so I'm wondering if the spring mix could have given him too much.

If this could be the issue what can I do to help get him over it?
 

wellington

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I doubt the food is an issue. I have too feed a lot of spring mix and never an issue.
You aren't using a coil bulb right? The coil bulbs can cause eye problems and could be the cause for his eye rubbing.
I also don't think the soaking is causing any problem. I have accidentally left a baby in the soak water over night and no problems.
I would feed him more yard foods though as long as he likes and eats it. Mix more of the yard food in with the grocery greens. Other greens to buy is ridicchio, mustard greens, collard greens, endive.
Maybe try carefully rubbing gently some antifungus cream on his head and neck. Do not get it in his eyes or mouth. Put it on after the soak so it can absorb for the day and night before his next soak. Do one soak a day, and use the piedialyte every other day. Carrots soaks not really needed as long as he is eating. Carrot soaks are mainly for eye problems. However, I usually recommend them for a tort not eating to hopefully entice him too want too eat and so he is getting some vitamins and nutrients from the carrots.
 

darlingtiffy

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I doubt the food is an issue. I have too feed a lot of spring mix and never an issue.
You aren't using a coil bulb right? The coil bulbs can cause eye problems and could be the cause for his eye rubbing.
I also don't think the soaking is causing any problem. I have accidentally left a baby in the soak water over night and no problems.
I would feed him more yard foods though as long as he likes and eats it. Mix more of the yard food in with the grocery greens. Other greens to buy is ridicchio, mustard greens, collard greens, endive.
Maybe try carefully rubbing gently some antifungus cream on his head and neck. Do not get it in his eyes or mouth. Put it on after the soak so it can absorb for the day and night before his next soak. Do one soak a day, and use the piedialyte every other day. Carrots soaks not really needed as long as he is eating. Carrot soaks are mainly for eye problems. However, I usually recommend them for a tort not eating to hopefully entice him too want too eat and so he is getting some vitamins and nutrients from the carrots.

I don't have a coil bulb. We use a ceramic heat element in his tote. The eye/face rubbing has been a thing since we got him and he does it no matter where he is. In the yard or the tote, it doesn't matter. I always rinse his eyes in his soak to try and help in case it's irritation or something.

We have tried some other greens and discovered that he hates collards with a passion. Most of the darker roughage is out of the question for him. (We'll see how he feels about dandelion greens.) The spring mix is about the only thing he won't turn up his nose at. He used to love raddichio, but he won't eat it now. For whatever reason, whenever he really loves a food, he'll eat it like crazy and then without warning, he won't touch it again. That includes yard food too. He loved mexican clover, ate it like a starving man at a buffet, and then all of a sudden he wouldn't touch it. It's really weird.

The big issue is that he's not eating enough outside at all. It's probably a quarter or so of his normal intake. He won't move or eat in the tote so all he's getting is whatever he eats outside and whatever he gets from the carrot and pedialyte soaks. Hopefully he starts eating the pumpkin and dandelion greens tomorrow, if not we'll have to keep up the carrot soaks daily to try and get him some more nutrients and such.

I just thought since he was already peeling, the extra soaking was making everything softer and making it come off easier since he and I are rubbing on it. I have the cvs brand of lotrimen from when my youngest had ringworm. Is that the type of anti-fungal you're talking about? Is that really okay for him?
 

darlingtiffy

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I'm not sure about the lotrimen. Use an over the counter cream for athletes foot

That's what I meant. It's the CVS brand of athlete's foot cream. Have you used it on torts before? I'm just worried about making him worse.

He was still alive this morning when we got up. I decided last night that he is not allowed to die and I informed him of that fact as well. :)

He is spending majority of the time in his tote under the heat lamp on the slate tile. I surrounded him with pumpkin romaine and soaked mazuri. I filled his food bowl with romaine and soaked mazuri as well. I am really hoping that he starts eating in his tote today.

I have to be at work today and for the rest of the week so the husband is in charge of him since he work from home. I am not okay with not being with my baby till this evening. :(
 

wellington

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I have not had to use the antifungal cream but many on here has. Just a dab daily for about 3-4 days. If it seems to be improving continue the cream. If it doesn't seem to be helping stop using it and try an antibiotic cream. One or two days though is not enough to know if it will help or not.
I'm going to send @Yvonne G another alert and hopefully she has more ideas. Maybe an antibiotic you can give him.
Good luck and I hope he listened too you about not being able to die.
 

drew54

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Could he be shedding? The picture is hard to tell because it's so blurry. He looks really dirty more than anything I think in that picture, but again it's hard to tell. Could you post a better picture of his face? Hopefully, this little dude will perk up and get better.
 

darlingtiffy

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Could he be shedding? The picture is hard to tell because it's so blurry. He looks really dirty more than anything I think in that picture, but again it's hard to tell. Could you post a better picture of his face? Hopefully, this little dude will perk up and get better.

He is still alive and he is shedding EVERYWHERE! What started as little flaking around his arm creases and neck has turned into full on shedding. Legs, neck, tail, even his little pooper (sorry don't know the technical term. lol) I don't know if the carrot soaks and pedialyte helped loosen it up, or what, but he is definitely shedding.

He got a long carrot soak around mid-morning/lunch today then went and foraged a little in the yard. When I got home around 4:30 I took him out to forage again and he ate a little, but only if I moved him to the food. He really doesn't want to walk around and he seems to be more active in warmer times of the day and in direct sunlight. I thought he was wobbly when he walked, but I'm wondering if it's that it's uncomfortable in his skin? His tail was so hard and his skin was rough and dark (we thought it was staining from the eco earth) but under that is lovely, soft, yellow skin.

I bought bottled water and warmed some up this evening and gave him a bath. I used a plain white (new) washcloth and wiped him gently all over. It took off some skin, but also eco earth stuff, hidden carrots, and yuckies. I put a very little bit of athlete's foot cream on his neck, head, and leg creases and smoothed it in. He was a little wet so it wasn't like full on sticking (rubbed in light and easy) and it wasn't a lot.

Then I got pissed and stripped his tote down and made a small hospital tote for him. Pics of the hospital tote are attached. Humidity is in the 90's and temps are 88 on the hot side where he is, and 83 on the cooler side. I have the thermostat hooked up so I don't cook him. (and heavily aluminum foiled for fire safety) I had to use white towels for the flooring because I don't want to make (and use) more eco earth and also because it will allow me to see any bugs or discharges, as well as any poo. He's got his leaves and grasses, turnip greens, and hydroponically grown bibb lettuce close to him so hopefully he'll be encouraged to eat in there. He's definitely not eating enough outside. (he was not enticed by the pumpkin or dandelion greens)

@wellington @Yvonne G @Tom Any other ideas what this could be or what else I could do???

Sidenote: I freaking hate eco earth and I'm sure somehow it has something to do with this. :/

Additional sidenote: I cannot get better pics of him due to the suckiness of my phone camera. If I can find my old digital I'll try to snap some pics.
 

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wellington

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The cleaned out enclosure and towel bottom is probably best, good thinking.
I doubt the coir had anything to do with this, so many people use it with no problems. It is possibly though that you either got some bad stuff or your tort for some reason is allergic to it.
I think I would cut back on the soaks to just one a day and maybe only every other day use the piedialyte and carrot, with the sensitive skin exposed.
He's a fighter and your not giving up either. Hopefully something gets things turned around. Keep using just the towel bottom until he gets better. I don't know what else to do, other then a visit to the vet. Keep doing what your doing.
 

kazjimmy

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Your tortoise is less then month old. He do not need much food. The way you keep him on the wet towel is very good but make sure the towel is warm enough. Plz make sure the light are not turn off more then 4 hours a day. Give him a hiding place he need more rest and hopefully things will change.
 

darlingtiffy

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The cleaned out enclosure and towel bottom is probably best, good thinking.
I doubt the coir had anything to do with this, so many people use it with no problems. It is possibly though that you either got some bad stuff or your tort for some reason is allergic to it.
I think I would cut back on the soaks to just one a day and maybe only every other day use the piedialyte and carrot, with the sensitive skin exposed.
He's a fighter and your not giving up either. Hopefully something gets things turned around. Keep using just the towel bottom until he gets better. I don't know what else to do, other then a visit to the vet. Keep doing what your doing.

Thank you! I think I'm gonna keep doing the carrot soaks daily since he's not eating enough at all. He is eating a few bites while he's out, but it's nowhere near what he usually eats or should be eating. We did stop the pedialyte. Although I'm considering a splash in today's soak so it'll actually be every other day.

I didn't actually soak him last night, it was more of a sponge bath with warm bottled water. I'm thinking I'm going to do it again this evening before I apply the cream. It seems to help with application and I'm hoping it helps him feel better. This morning when I switched the towel he lays on for a dry one and added fresh food, he seemed a little stronger and laid down in a better, more normal position with his front legs up under him instead of splayed out to the side.

We are trying to find an exotic vet in a neighboring county that we can take him to. I'm hoping he'll be better before we find one though. I'll keep everyone updated on here. :)
 

darlingtiffy

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Your tortoise is less then month old. He do not need much food. The way you keep him on the wet towel is very good but make sure the towel is warm enough. Plz make sure the light are not turn off more then 4 hours a day. Give him a hiding place he need more rest and hopefully things will change.

We've had this baby since the end of September so he's definitely over a month old. He has had issues growing. The led light in his tote is turned off around when the sun sets, and the heat lamp, which is a ceramic heat bulb that emits no light, is on a thermostat set to 90 degrees. The probe is right next to him so he doesn't get too hot. Temps and humidity in his tote are ideal- between 88 and 90 where he is and 83 on the other side. Humidity is 85-90 percent.

I switch out the towel that is directly underneath him to keep it dry and warm, and the rest of the towels in the tote are damp with warm bottled water, I also have his terra cotta water dish under the heat lamp with him to help with the humidity as well.

if he was moving around at all, then I would put in a hide for him, but at this point he isn't moving in his tote so he wouldn't be able to get out of a hide if I put him in it.

Thank you for the suggestions, I'll keep everyone posted on his progress.
 

kazjimmy

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I hatch tortoise and raise them. I have to tell you the true. If they did not reach an idea weight 30g for new born and 15g up first three month. They will end up dead. I think you have try your best and all the set up you have were outstanding. Reality bites! Maybe you just picked up a unlucky one.
 

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I would put him in a 5 or 10 gallon tank/tote and make sure the overall temperature is 85F degrees, with a cover over the top. I would soak him daily for at least 15 minutes. I would also have orchid bark as substrate and lots of water so the bark is like a swamp. Whether he likes it or not (and if he's not moving I don't know how you know he hates it) I would soak him in carrot/water daily.
 

darlingtiffy

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I would put him in a 5 or 10 gallon tank/tote and make sure the overall temperature is 85F degrees, with a cover over the top. I would soak him daily for at least 15 minutes. I would also have orchid bark as substrate and lots of water so the bark is like a swamp. Whether he likes it or not (and if he's not moving I don't know how you know he hates it) I would soak him in carrot/water daily.
I would put him in a 5 or 10 gallon tank/tote and make sure the overall temperature is 85F degrees, with a cover over the top. I would soak him daily for at least 15 minutes. I would also have orchid bark as substrate and lots of water so the bark is like a swamp. Whether he likes it or not (and if he's not moving I don't know how you know he hates it) I would soak him in carrot/water daily.

Thank you for responding! There's a ton of replies on here, so it's hard to see, but if you look back at my reply to wellington last night, you'll see I moved him to a small covered hospital tote. (pics are in the reply) The temps in the tote are 88-90 over where he is at and 83 on the other side. (we have a che on a thermostat and the probe is right next to him so I don't cook him. lol) Humidity is between 85-90.

I have him on white towels right now, because I don't have bark to use and I want to see any discharge, bugs, or poo easily. He is being soaked daily, usually mid-morning/lunch time, for 30 mins+ in warm carrots and bottled water. He also goes outside 2-3 times a day for sunshine and foraging since outside is the only time he'll move and eat. (he is not eating enough at all though) In the evening he gets a warm bottled water sponge bath/wipe down and a very small application of athlete's foot cream on his neck, head, and legs. (first does was last night)

Have you seen anything like this before? The shedding all over, lethargy, and loss of appetite? It doesn't seem like HFS which is what we've been worried about since we got him. Should I be using athlete's foot cream or should I switch to an antibiotic cream? Is there anything else I should be doing for him?

Thanks again for the help!
 

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