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Tortoise Rehydration Concentrate

jsheffield

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I recently rescued a severely dehydrated tortoise.

In this case, it was a Hingeback who'd been kept in much drier conditions than they need, but tortoise keepers often face this issue with new tortoises, or tortoises that get sick for whatever reason.

I did some research into hydrating soaks, did some thinking about modifications to the basic formula that would make sense for me, my tortoise, the goals I have for the soaks, and the ways in which I soak my tortoises... I came up with this formula and method for soaking that seems to be working very well for my tortoise.

IMG_3700.jpg

I tried to think about what ingredients I would want to soak in myself, or soak my son in if he was sick. You could certainly find less expensive ingredients to substitute in for the ones I detail below, but if you think about how much one vet visit costs, you'll probably decide my ingredients list isn't that pricey after all.

I used sea salt because it's natural, is loaded with trace minerals, and doesn't have extra stuff added (like anti-caking agents)
ancient-ocean-himalayan-pink-salt-medium-bulk_BW.jpg

The brand we all have in our refrigerators is 100% pure sodium bicarbonate, so you don't need to get tricky.
GUEST_b7dd8c51-bb4c-4504-ba61-c88618d5d2a5.jpeg

I wanted to use a sugar that hadn't been bleached out and had all of the trace elements removed in the process... demerara sugar works equally well



GUEST_d9a26295-7b54-4fa3-bc6b-7e43fb0c46d0.jpeg
Honey has antimicrobial benefits, and raw/unfiltered honey has other health benefits as well... if we're adding sugars to the mix to rehydrate, adding sugars that benefit the one being soaked in other ways as well seems a good idea.
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Because my tortoise appeared to have some eye and mobility issues as well, I wanted to round out the soak with something that would help in this area as well... carrot baby food is often mentioned as a good soaking ingredient (because of the vitamin A, I assume). I think organic babyfood without a lot of ingredients is better than not, and banana brings potassium to the mix, while mango and sweet potato bring vitamin C and more A (and a host of other good stuff).

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The idea was to have all the ingredients and trace elements I wanted, with none of the extraneous ones you can get from using inferior brands.

By mixing the above ingredients in the proportions I mention above, you end up with a concentrated soaking mix for your tortoise that will be stable in your fridge (so you don't have to make a new batch every time you soak the tortoise).

Based on the size of the soaking container I have been using with Nelson, I get two days of twice-daily soakings out of one batch of this stuff (or four days of once-a-day soaks if that's all your tort needs)... 2 cups of concentrate (from the fridge) added to 6 cups of hot water, which yields a tubful of warm soak for the tort.

I made another batch this morning, and thought I would post this here... obviously, it's not the only (or even the best) way to soak your tortoise... it's a way that makes logical sense to me and seems to be working for me and for
Nelson, so I thought I'd share it.

Jamie
 

jsheffield

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I'm not a scientist, or a nutritionist, but I'm not a big fan of the salt, sugar and honey as something a tortoise is going to ingest. No reason or explanation, it just strikes me wrong.

@Kapidolo Farms ???
There's a lengthy history of this sort of treatment and research online (and here on TFO):

https://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/soaking-and-rehydration-benefit-and-a-recipe.33012/

https://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/nursing.html

https://sites.google.com/site/tortoiselibrary/health-and-medical/hydration

It's quite similar to the suggestions to soak them in carrot juice or babyfood, which also have sugar and salt in them.

Jamie
 

jsheffield

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Since he came home with me on Thursday afternoon, he's gone from 125g to 167g this morning... I think it's due in large part to the rehydration mix.

Keeping the concentrate on the fridge, then watering it down with hot water makes soaking the tortoise easier than mixing a batch up each time.

Jamie
 

jsheffield

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He's up to 175g this morning, and although it's a bit less than two ounces gained since Thursday, he definitely feels heavier in my hand, and I can't help thinking that he's got a better chance of making the transition to my house, and creep.

I loved watching him explore his enclosure this morning while I did some writing... his enclosure is on top of Aretha's, and watching him cruise over to the food bowl to nibble at the ridiculous breakfast I made for him (reptilinks, pumpkin, and mushroom, dandelion greens, mazuri, hibiscus/wakame powder) made my heart soar.

J
 

shellyshelly

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This is interesting - it it only beneficial if the tort is dehydrated? Or is there any benefit to an occasional re-hydration anyway?

We bath regularly (at least once a day) and keep an eye on humidity in the enclosure.
 

jsheffield

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This is interesting - it it only beneficial if the tort is dehydrated? Or is there any benefit to an occasional re-hydration anyway?

We bath regularly (at least once a day) and keep an eye on humidity in the enclosure.
I would think that unless your tortoise is dehydrated, using rehydration therapy is probably an unnecessary effort and expense... that being said, I cannot imagine that it would hurt.

Jamie
 

ascott

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I'm not a scientist, or a nutritionist, but I'm not a big fan of the salt, sugar and honey as something a tortoise is going to ingest. No reason or explanation, it just strikes me wrong.

@Kapidolo Farms ???
I agree....when I look at the sugar content for each of the ingredients in the amounts indicated--that is alot of sugar content and the added salt, well, that is also questionable....then on top of the sugar & honey add of the baby food with that sugar content....now, some of us use and or do things that we do because "it works" and for not very many other practical reason(s)....so while I believe this is high sugar and not needed salt---will it kill the animal under the practice of "once in a while" treatment---I don't think so...but will it be hard on the kidneys over years of use---I believe it will be not so good.

Also, this kinda reminds me of when a young person gets an acne specialty soap because they are dealing with pimples...right.? Before the kid gets the specialty soap they barely wash their face on a daily basis and then they get the specialty soap now they are washing their face 2 or 3 times a day and they say that the cure all was the new specialty soap....when in actuality if that same kid had been cleaning their face 2 to 3 times a day all along with regular ole soap--more times than not--they would never have had a pimple problem to begin with. Likely it was just the change of putting in the time to begin with to assure less of a chance of a problem....just sayin :)

Point being, if the tort subjected to the treatment was simply offered long warm water soaks on a daily basis I bet the tort would begin to hydrate and do so without the sugars and salt....but again, this is just my take. I know that sugar is super hard on the tort kidneys and there would be no reason that this artificially added sugar would be excluded from that...
 

jsheffield

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I appreciate that on TFO we can agree to disagree without anybody getting grouchy... luckily you can be sure that while I'll continue to treat any dehydrated tortoises living with me in this manner, I won't dose your.

Jamie
 
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