tortoise inactivity, shaky walking

sallymon_

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hello all.
i have a baby sulcata tortoise that's been unwell for a while now; it sleeps all day and only moves when i wake it up for a soak and put it in front of the food dish, and when it walks it's really shaky and wobbly, like its legs are too weak to support its body.
the biggest problem is that all this began ever since I started making improvements to my tortoise setup/routine. it used to live in a very dry 20% humidity place with no water dish, a spot light for basking and a coil uvb light, soaking routine was 3 minutes every other day and it's diet was only pellets (recommended by the person i bought it from); now the humidity stays between 85-95% (sometimes drop down to 70-something during the night), it has a water dish it can get in and out off easily, a regular round bulb for basking and a 10.0 t5 ho uvb tube mounted at around 30cm from the surface, i soak it 20-40 minutes every day, it's diet is wheat grass, soaked timothy hay, katuk, bok choy and pellets sprinkled with calcium and multivitamin powder twice a week (we just bought and are growing bermuda grass, zoysia grass, hibiscus and white clover), i also put a cuttlebone in there 24/7, and it even has an outdoor 200x100x50cm enclosure now (i brought it outside for the first time last week, though i'm hesitant to bring it out again as it's very unwell right now). although we still need to improve it's indoor enclosure (right now is a 90x40x40cm glass enclosure with a screen covered with tin foil to hold humidity, we are upgrading it to a 150x60x60cm closed chamber as soon as possible), i like to think that we've made some wonderful improvements in the past few weeks.
although, like i've said, our baby isn't looking better, rather it's getting worse ☹️. before it was already a little inactive, but it would still poke it's head out and walk around for a bit, now it sleeps ALL day. before when i wake it up and it wants to go back to sleep, it would walk back to the hide, but now it just sleeps where i put it. before it could still walk around with just a little difficulty, but now its legs are so weak that it cant even properly stand up. before it still eats regular, yesterday was the first time it skipped a meal!
to say i'm worried would be an understatement. i'm so confused and frustrated, everytime i change something i thought to myself "this is it, it will definitely get better", but in turn it's just getting worse and worse and i dont know what to do. please just anybody, just give me an idea of what could be the reason for why my baby is getting sicker and sicker despite all the improvements.

temp rn is 38,3°C basking spot, 33°C cold side, the hide is usually between 31-33°C, at night it can drop to around 29°C but it's been staying higher than 30°C due to the heat.
 

wellington

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Post pics of both enclosure and tort. Be sure temps never go lower than 80F day and night.
How old and big is he?
 

sallymon_

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Post pics of both enclosure and tort. Be sure temps never go lower than 80F day and night.
How old and big is he?
20230424_205223.jpg20230424_205324.jpg
no idea how old he is, but he's around 8cm. i got him more than 3 months ago and he's not grown since. his weight fluctuates between 110-119 grams or so; just weighed him, 118 grams
 

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hello all.
i have a baby sulcata tortoise that's been unwell for a while now; it sleeps all day and only moves when i wake it up for a soak and put it in front of the food dish, and when it walks it's really shaky and wobbly, like its legs are too weak to support its body.
the biggest problem is that all this began ever since I started making improvements to my tortoise setup/routine. it used to live in a very dry 20% humidity place with no water dish, a spot light for basking and a coil uvb light, soaking routine was 3 minutes every other day and it's diet was only pellets (recommended by the person i bought it from); now the humidity stays between 85-95% (sometimes drop down to 70-something during the night), it has a water dish it can get in and out off easily, a regular round bulb for basking and a 10.0 t5 ho uvb tube mounted at around 30cm from the surface, i soak it 20-40 minutes every day, it's diet is wheat grass, soaked timothy hay, katuk, bok choy and pellets sprinkled with calcium and multivitamin powder twice a week (we just bought and are growing bermuda grass, zoysia grass, hibiscus and white clover), i also put a cuttlebone in there 24/7, and it even has an outdoor 200x100x50cm enclosure now (i brought it outside for the first time last week, though i'm hesitant to bring it out again as it's very unwell right now). although we still need to improve it's indoor enclosure (right now is a 90x40x40cm glass enclosure with a screen covered with tin foil to hold humidity, we are upgrading it to a 150x60x60cm closed chamber as soon as possible), i like to think that we've made some wonderful improvements in the past few weeks.
although, like i've said, our baby isn't looking better, rather it's getting worse ☹️. before it was already a little inactive, but it would still poke it's head out and walk around for a bit, now it sleeps ALL day. before when i wake it up and it wants to go back to sleep, it would walk back to the hide, but now it just sleeps where i put it. before it could still walk around with just a little difficulty, but now its legs are so weak that it cant even properly stand up. before it still eats regular, yesterday was the first time it skipped a meal!
to say i'm worried would be an understatement. i'm so confused and frustrated, everytime i change something i thought to myself "this is it, it will definitely get better", but in turn it's just getting worse and worse and i dont know what to do. please just anybody, just give me an idea of what could be the reason for why my baby is getting sicker and sicker despite all the improvements.

temp rn is 38,3°C basking spot, 33°C cold side, the hide is usually between 31-33°C, at night it can drop to around 29°C but it's been staying higher than 30°C due to the heat.
How long have you had the baby? What did it weigh when you got it?

I would stop feeding it hay. That is for adults, not for babies.

What substrate was it on previously, before you got it?

If they make it over 50 grams and continue growing, they usually survive and do fine. Due to the size of yours, I suspect impaction. Does it poop regularly in the soak water?
 

sallymon_

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How long have you had the baby? What did it weigh when you got it?

I would stop feeding it hay. That is for adults, not for babies.

What substrate was it on previously, before you got it?

If they make it over 50 grams and continue growing, they usually survive and do fine. Due to the size of yours, I suspect impaction. Does it poop regularly in the soak water?
i've had it for a little more than 3 months. i've only started weighing him pretty recently as the person i got it from did not inform me about weight, so unfortunately i do not know what it weigh before.

the previous substrate was i think dry coco coir? not like the dark one you plant plants in but like the stringy light type, if that make any sense.
 

sallymon_

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How long have you had the baby? What did it weigh when you got it?

I would stop feeding it hay. That is for adults, not for babies.

What substrate was it on previously, before you got it?

If they make it over 50 grams and continue growing, they usually survive and do fine. Due to the size of yours, I suspect impaction. Does it poop regularly in the soak water?
and yes it does poop regularly
 

sallymon_

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How long have you had the baby? What did it weigh when you got it?

I would stop feeding it hay. That is for adults, not for babies.

What substrate was it on previously, before you got it?

If they make it over 50 grams and continue growing, they usually survive and do fine. Due to the size of yours, I suspect impaction. Does it poop regularly in the soak water?
just gave it a soak and put it in front of its food (today's wheat grass, hibiscus leaves (for the first time), bok choy and katuk; im going to stop giving it hay like you said). usually it'd go around climbing walls trying to get out of the soaking tub but today it just sat still for the most part; still pooped though (poop imagine below). it ate a little and then proceed to just lay there in the food dish.20230425_075541.jpg20230425_080457.jpg
 

sallymon_

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Has this tort been shaky since you got him/her?
no. in fact it was quite the opposite. when it first came home it was really active, walked around real fast. well at least for the first few days, after that it began walking less and less; we talked about it with the previous owners but they just said babies sleep a lot and that there's nothing to worry about. eventually it stopped walking on its own all together, i'd have to take it out of the hide for it to move (although when i first raised up the humidity it was active again for a bit, maybe for around 3-4 days, then right back to usual). but there still weren't signs of shaky legs up until recently.
 

ZEROPILOT

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no. in fact it was quite the opposite. when it first came home it was really active, walked around real fast. well at least for the first few days, after that it began walking less and less; we talked about it with the previous owners but they just said babies sleep a lot and that there's nothing to worry about. eventually it stopped walking on its own all together, i'd have to take it out of the hide for it to move (although when i first raised up the humidity it was active again for a bit, maybe for around 3-4 days, then right back to usual). but there still weren't signs of shaky legs up until recently.
It's very odd that the tortoise declined as your husbandry improved. It might just be timing.
Sleeping doesn't alarm me. But weak and wobbly legs do.
Do you have a tortoise vet that you trust?
 

sallymon_

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It's very odd that the tortoise declined as your husbandry improved. It might just be timing.
Sleeping doesn't alarm me. But weak and wobbly legs do.
Do you have a tortoise vet that you trust?
we just took the little guy to the vet today (just got home). this place was recommended by the same people we bought the tortoise from, i know it probably isn't smart to continue listening to them as they still raise their tortoises the "old fashion" way, but tortoises/reptiles in general aren't popular pets where we live so we have very limited options [if anyone who lives in Ha Noi, Vietnam knows a good vet place, please do tell me]. this place also isn't an exclusive tortoise vet, they just accept tortoises.

the vet took an x-ray and there seems to be a bladder stone about 1cm big (pic below); she also said that the tortoise's legs appear a little swollen maybe due to unbalanced nutrients and that that might be the reason for the shaky walking. maybe it's because of too much calcium? as before changing the calcium dose to 2 pinch per week, it was eating calcium everyday (i also forgot to mention that i'm using calcium + D3 powder. can it maybe have too much D3?). she injected it with medicine (didn't say what kind) to help with the nutrients/swolling and said we'll have to go back for more injections everyday for 2-3 days.

so i guess my questions now are 1/ how can i improve it's diet and 2/ what to do with the bladder stone? like i've said it's wheat grass, katuk, bok choy (2 times a week) and pellets (picture of brand below) sprinkled with calcium + D3 and multivitamin powder twice a week [edit: almost forgot, also spineless opuntia about twice a week], i've stopped giving it hay like Tom's advice; and we are growing bermuda grass, zoysia grass, hibiscus (yesterday it ate hibiscus leaves for the first time) and white clover.

pic of the x-ray and pellets brand (+ nutrition info)
IMG_20230426_135440.jpg
20230426_142144.jpg20230426_142203.jpg
 
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sallymon_

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It's very odd that the tortoise declined as your husbandry improved. It might just be timing.
Sleeping doesn't alarm me. But weak and wobbly legs do.
Do you have a tortoise vet that you trust?
here's also the calcium and multivitamin brand in case you need itIMG_UPLOAD_20230426_135124.jpgIMG_UPLOAD_20230426_135139.jpg
 

sallymon_

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just gave it a 30 mins or so soak, didn't poop (yesterday it ate quite little). today's food is wheat grass, katuk and opuntia (hasn't ate)
 
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Megatron's Mom

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I am no expert, far from it actually. But my little sulcata was started dry too. She/he had a huge very hard stone too. The size of a pencil eraser. With some help she got it out. I search the forums here and saw the advice to use mineral oil. Put it on the food and a tiny drop at a time in her mouth. That stuff coats everything and will allow things to just slide out. Hopefully then that stone can pass and make her/him feel better.

Another thing since your little one was always eating pellets and you have changed things up. He ma not want to try the new food. Since he did eat the hibiscus leaves make sure to offer it everyday with the other selection just to get him to eat.
 

Jan A

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just gave it a 30 mins or so soak, didn't poop (yesterday it ate quite little). today's food is wheat grass, katuk and opuntia (hasn't ate)
If you can. Find out what medicine the vet gave your little one. The meds could be responsible for a decline in appetite.
 

sallymon_

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If you can. Find out what medicine the vet gave your little one. The meds could be responsible for a decline in appetite.
we just asked them and they didnt say the name, just said it was a combination of vitamins and medicine to help with the swolling.
 

sallymon_

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a little update:
after some extra digging on the forum, it seems like our little guy is overdosing on calcium and vitamins. maybe that's why there's an imbalance in the nutrients. i give it pellets twice a week but like i've said i also give calcium + multivitamin powder, which i believe is too much supplements because the pellets is already a complete nutrition source. i also noticed today that the scales on it's legs are peeling off and according to the forum it is because of too much vitamin A.

we won't be bringing it back for more shots as the shots have even more vitamins. all i'm going to be doing is cutting off the supplements to see if it improves.
 

sallymon_

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thank you everyone for responding!

i will continue updating this post, and if anyone has anymore advice i'll greatly appreciate it!
 
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