Tortoise dragging back legs

Nelda Blodgett

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I Have a 2.5 yr old Eastern Hermanns tortoise. He came healthy, happy and adorable. At one year of age he had some trouble with his eyes (probably humidity related) and was treated for RI and released. Although his eyes remained dull and cloudy.

More recently he was treated for constipation and is now, after much soaking, and pumpkin has had three little poops in over a month of dragging his legs when he walks.
The vets have me doing daily therapy in order to get him used to using his legs again. The only substrate I can successfully get him to use his back legs on is warm concrete. I suspect he doesn’t like the feel of his shell dragging on the concrete. We do this for about 20-30 min. every evening when it’s cooler. I wonder if I am doing more harm than good.

The vets I have are wonderful and immediately noticed that his eyes weren’t right, and are prescribing vitamin A drops. He seems to have some vision loss.

He has had X-rays and blood tests that have ruled out, mbd, blockage, bladder stones, mycoplasma, and herpes. Also a fecal test ruled out parisites.

He has managed with limited vision but now the legs too.

I can not understand why he won’t use his legs. We moved around in his table some but mostly basks.

The vet thinks there was pressure when he was constipated which caused him to drag his legs and then got used to it.
 

wellington

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Post pics of the enclosure. A too small enclosure can cause these problems.
When you soak him put him in your tub, so he has lots of room to roam around.
Also instead of hard ruff cement that could just scratch and hurt him, do hydro therapy. Put deep water in a tub where he has too swim. If needed support is shell from the bottome with a couple fingers.
Post more info on enclosure, diet, lighting, heat, humidity will help us help you much better.
If you are using a Coil/cfl bulb for uvb stop using it. That would be the cause of the eye problem.
 

wellington

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Do hydrotherapy not therapy on cement. Put a deep amount of water in the tub and make him swim. Support him from his bottom shell with just a finger or two if needed.
Let us know everything about his care. Lighting, heating, humidity, diet, enclosure size etc.
If using a Coil/cfl bulb stop using it, it could be the cause of the eye problem. If not using it, how close to him is the uvb bulb your using?
 
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Nelda Blodgett

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I’ve always had the table but the he tank was recommended by the vet after the eye problem started. I did use coil bulbs for the first year but after researching I switched to the t5. I have enclosures outside and keep him out when the weather is nice.

He is given calcium and tnt 2x per week
Mazuri once a week.
Summer diet is plantain, dandelion, clover, chia sprouts, an occasional prickly pear pad.

Winters he gets baby greens, no spinach and other lettuces that are recommended on tortoise table.

He was getting 30 min soak every other day. Now we have added pumpkin and up to 2 hr soaks total.

The therapy recommended by my vet was leg stretches twice a day. The concrete was me because he would actually walk as opposed to dragging them in his substrate. Witch is by the way cocoa coir, topsoil, and peat moss.

His vet did mention hydrotherapy but I was scared to give him too much as he was just sitting in it.
 

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wellington

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I would not use the small aquarium. They need room to roam to keep things inside moving.
Rhe hydrotherapy works, I used it on a rescue that couldn't walk. He dragged himself. You do have to stay with them the whole time and keep them moving so it will work. If walking on the cement is not damaging him and he is up and walking and not dragging then that would be okay but I would add the hydro too. I did it twice a day until he seemed better then I went to once.
The rest of the care you listed seems good.
 

Nelda Blodgett

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I would not use the small aquarium. They need room to roam to keep things inside moving.
Rhe hydrotherapy works, I used it on a rescue that couldn't walk. He dragged himself. You do have to stay with them the whole time and keep them moving so it will work. If walking on the cement is not damaging him and he is up and walking and not dragging then that would be okay but I would add the hydro too. I did it twice a day until he seemed better then I went to once.
The rest of the care you listed seems good.
Thank you so much. I’ve been so worried about him. I’ll do whatever I can to get him better.
 

TammyJ

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He maybe eating the peat moss which may be causing impaction/constipation. It's not good.
The topsoil - where does it come from?
 

Nelda Blodgett

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Thank you so much. I’ve been so worried about him. I’ll do whatever I can to get him better.
First session I turned a little glass upside down and set him on it. Every time my MIL said something to him, he would wiggle his little legs. He also made a really big poop which I was thrilled about with his recent problems. I’m sure we have a ways to go but thank you again.
 

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wellington

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First session I turned a little glass upside down and set him on it. Every time my MIL said something to him, he would wiggle his little legs. He also made a really big poop which I was thrilled about with his recent problems. I’m sure we have a ways to go but thank you again.
Keep his legs moving. Do this for 30 minutes twice a day. As he improves you can cut down to once a day.
Glad he pooped. You may need to do longer regular soaks. Upto even an hour. Some tortoises take longer then just a 20 minute soak.
 

TaylorTortoise

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I would not use the small aquarium. They need room to roam to keep things inside moving.
Rhe hydrotherapy works, I used it on a rescue that couldn't walk. He dragged himself. You do have to stay with them the whole time and keep them moving so it will work. If walking on the cement is not damaging him and he is up and walking and not dragging then that would be okay but I would add the hydro too. I did it twice a day until he seemed better then I went to once.
The rest of the care you listed seems good.
What do you do for hydrotherapy? Is it the same as giving soaks?
 

wellington

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What do you do for hydrotherapy? Is it the same as giving soaks?
You make them swim. Deeper water then a soak and if they can swim great, if not you can support them with a couple fingers under their shell. Then history try to keep them swimming for about 30 minutes or so twice a day until improvements are seen then once a day until walking like they are suppose to.
 

MaNaAk

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Do hydrotherapy not therapy on cement. Put a deep amount of water in the tub and make him swim. Support him from his bottom shell with just a finger or two if needed.
Let us know everything about his care. Lighting, heating, humidity, diet, enclosure size etc.
If using a Coil/cfl bulb stop using it, it could be the cause of the eye problem. If not using it, how close to him is the uvb bulb your using?
Daisy has a similar problem so I'm following this with interest. I put more water in her tub today and she did very well.

She then started moving a lot more in her enclosure and she will thrive now that she has more space and can go outside.

MaNaAk
 

MaNaAk

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Daisy has a similar problem so I'm following this with interest. I put more water in her tub today and she did very well.

She then started moving a lot more in her enclosure and she will thrive now that she has more space and can go outside.

MaNaAk
I will still keep an eye on her as I feel that not being to hibernate due to an inflamed paw is part of the reason why she is heavier than Jacky and less energetic.

MaNaAk
 

Nelda Blodgett

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Maryville Tennessee
I would not use the small aquarium. They need room to roam to keep things inside moving.
Rhe hydrotherapy works, I used it on a rescue that couldn't walk. He dragged himself. You do have to stay with them the whole time and keep them moving so it will work. If walking on the cement is not damaging him and he is up and walking and not dragging then that would be okay but I would add the hydro too. I did it twice a day until he seemed better then I went to once.
The rest of the care you listed seems good.
How long before you saw improvement. It’s been several weeks. I’m just wondering if I At some do just accept that he won’t improve?
 
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