Turtle is streatching neck, gaping, and making the sound!

zovick

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This has been stated earlier in the thread, but I would like to reiterate that Baytril injections are very painful to tortoises. They also cause necrosis of the tissue at the injection site. Before this was widely known, back in the early 1990's a large number of Indian Stars (100+) were confiscated and sent to the Bronx Zoo. I was affiliated with the zoo back then and got to watch numerous Baytril injections given prophylactically to the Stars by the vets to be sure the tortoises didn't have any diseases. Without fail, after the injections, the tortoises would writhe in pain for several minutes and frequently would not use the leg into which the injection had been given for a couple of days. Therefore, if the oral Baytril is not effective on your tortoise, I strongly recommend insisting that your vet use Fortax (ceftazidime) should any future injections be necessary. The Fortaz is injected less frequently (every 3 days) and also works better most of the time.

So you may notice your tortoise not feeling great for a couple of days following that injection.
 

Sterant

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I can also tell you that many species have displayed similar problems following Baytril given both by injection and orally.
These include members of the Indotestudo group (I. elongata and I. travencorica), in Angulate tortoises, in Gapalagos tortoises as well as Indian Star tortoises as @zovick mentions above. The tortoise trust recommended that no tortoise be given Baytril as far back as 1996.
 

Meganolvt

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I'd like to throw out there that at my clinic we use Baytil in turtles and tortoises (injectable as well as oral), and have never had any of the above problems with our patients. At this point, it sounds like pneumonia, bronchitis, or something similar, and Baytril will hopefully do the trick. I wouldn't stop giving it unless under the direction of your vet he is switched to a different antibiotic.
 

Sterant

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Here is one example. I will try to find the text and include it here....


Casares, M. and F. Enders. 1996. Enrofloxacin side effects in a Galapagos tortoise (Geochelone elephantopus nigra). Proc. Am. Assoc. Zoo Vet 1996:446–448.
 

Sterant

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I'd like to throw out there that at my clinic we use Baytil in turtles and tortoises (injectable as well as oral), and have never had any of the above problems with our patients. At this point, it sounds like pneumonia, bronchitis, or something similar, and Baytril will hopefully do the trick. I wouldn't stop giving it unless under the direction of your vet he is switched to a different antibiotic.
I'm happy to hear that however it doesn't always go that way.
 

Yvonne G

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I'd like to throw out there that at my clinic we use Baytil in turtles and tortoises (injectable as well as oral), and have never had any of the above problems with our patients. At this point, it sounds like pneumonia, bronchitis, or something similar, and Baytril will hopefully do the trick. I wouldn't stop giving it unless under the direction of your vet he is switched to a different antibiotic.

It might just be that your clients neglected to inform you of the problem. also, they may not have realized that what they were seeing with the tortoise was caused by the Baytril.
 

Kasia

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It might just be that your clients neglected to inform you of the problem. also, they may not have realized that what they were seeing with the tortoise was caused by the Baytril.
I'm that type of client...went with it once, didn't know what to expect...did it help? Of course it works...but with current knowledge on how animal looks after different types of injections would never agree on it again.
My leo was so itchy afterwards that he scratched whole skin of his neck and back of his front legs. Literally. With those side effects it wouldn't pass any human trial. Not to mention being painful...
 
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omhoge

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Update on the Tortoise. Thank you all the Fortax vs. Baytril info. it is really great to hear, and good to have out here in the forum for other folks. (though a bit scary!)
Thanks to your first post I mentioned them and the Vet discussed it with me very openly. The plan is if the oral Baytril does not work, the injections will be Fortax every three days.

We are about halfway through the two week course of oral Baytril.
(I'll keep using it till we run out. If he starts showing signs you folks mention I'll go back to the vet.)

That first injection in the office was Baytril (also to teach me how). Fortunately his leg seemed ok.
The big change is a precipitous loss of appetite (which Kasia noted is a side effect of antibiotics).
I'd estimate he's eating 30-40% of what he was, he was eating heartily, so hopefully he started this phase of treatment better off.
Again his vitamin D was low and I'm continuing supplements and better UVB lighting.

I'd say I'm at a 60% success rate getting him to eat the medicated food. Roughly every other day he eats some.
Oranges are his favorite and I've had more success with them than watermelon.
Watermelon was easier, though, to inject the Baytril into after making a hole with a chopstick.

Two of the successful feedings were with "leftovers" where I kept and refrigerated the medicated food he ignored, hopefully without much medication loss.
I'm going to try preparing some orange tonight and let it sit, maybe that helps.
I'm also keeping the med., well shook up, refrigerated as well in case having it cool makes it more palatable

Once of habit I licked my fingers and I got a tiny taste of what he’s experiencing and though the medication smells slightly orange flavored, I can see why he’s avoiding it. It leaves a tangy chemical taste on the tongue When I used smaller orange chunks for easier eating I put the med. on top of them (as opposed to trying to putting it “in” chunks of food) and watched him try to eat it and be shocked and repelled at the taste. He ate those same chunks the next day, with a tiny bit of new orange pulp and tomato on top.

For the most part he seems about the same.
His primary symptom is labored breathing, the honking *may* be slightly less, though his soaks distress him and he honks then.
Sitting near him where he can see me while soaking seems to calm him down, but I never had to do that before.
There might be less tearing. No nasal discharge at all. Maybe less drooling, but also hard to tell. Extreme fatigue continues.
Mostly it's his breathing, and he's often trying to prop up his head and shell sitting at an angle with his head raised,
though just as often sprawled out, head out, kind of limp. Tending to hide in his little house, I angled the UVB light to shine on him a little bit when he's in there.

Your thoughts, prayers and crossed fingers are really appreciated.
 
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Kasia

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That's the thing with oral medication, not all you wish goes in :). I hope he gets well after this course of meds. I keep mine fingers crossed for him :)
 

omhoge

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Shortly after my last post our tortoise got much worse and stopped eating and became almost completely immobile,
he left eye seemed sunken and stuck shut, and his breathing was faint and extremely labored.

I went right away to the vet and got the Flotaz injections. (I didn't even complete the Baytril)
We are now through three of the seven injections, one every three days.

After the first shot he started eating and became more active, the marked improvement seemed to continue with the second.

But my concern was re-triggered yesterday,
after his third shot, he started mouth breathing, gasping, and honking a lot.

It seems he is getting worse again.
But he remains more active and is eating pretty well.
But honked almost continuously during his warm bath and was honking just now while walking around.

I know tortoises take a long time to heal,
but is this relapsing a "normal" part of this process?
 

Kasia

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Give meds time to work. Sometime it takes more then one course of antibiotics to see an improvement. So I would advise to be patient and hope for the best. Would it be possible for you to record and post a video of him while symptoms are showing? It would be educational for all forum members and maybe someone encountered similar case like yours and can trow couple more ideas on the table.
 

omhoge

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Thank you, Kasia, for the encouragement. Its hard watching someone you love be so sick. I've tried to capture the symptoms on video, I agree it's a good idea, but have not been able to yet.

The big thing I did not realize was when he first started slightly "pumping" his head and front legs was that it could be so a serious matter, posts in the forum here said that was normal, but is was not in our tortoise's case. When we first got him his pneumonia symptoms were only wheezing, we hadn't seen signs until now.

(In lieu of a video)
The basic progression I now know to look out for is:
* Pumping of the Head and Limbs when breathing, especially if a new behavior.
* Stretching out of the neck and head.
* Sudden unexpected and debilitating fatigue after formerly normal activity (like pushing against your foot or chasing you)
* Mouth ever so slightly open from time to time when breathing.
* Tearing mild to extreme (which can also apply to a lot of things)
* Yawn like gaping when trying to breathe
* Continuous Mouth Breathing
* Drooling
* Honking
* Complete Loss of Appetite (which can also apply to a lot of things)
* Change in sleeping position, head and feet hanging limp when resting
* Trying to prop up their head or front half of their body.
* Eye or Eyes appearing sunken or stuck closed
* Near to Complete Immobility and Unresponsiveness.
* Nasal Discharge or Bubbling (at this point it is a Critical condition, get to a vet, fortunately we didn't get to this point)

Find a Vet who really knows tortoises. I went through four to find our current doctor.

Don't be afraid of injections like we were, even if needles scare the poo out of you.
At least for our tortoise, after the first one, they are not as traumatic as expected. Have someone hold the animal for you if you're not used to it. Be prepared: though you don't have to put the needle in all the way, they will pull back hard when it goes in.

Prepping everything, assembling the syringe, little dish of alcohol and swab to wipe, tapping the syringe and pressing out the air, all before your helper grabs the tortoise makes getting it over with much faster and you may have a few squirm-free seconds to get it in. We put a towel over his head when we do it. Stay very focused, the needle is very sharp. The Nurse showed me to inject in the lower muscle of the front legs, alternating legs with each shot. All the videos on YouTube show targeting the more inward pectoral muscle, I'm doing it I was as shown, that method seems to take more skill, you risk only injecting under the skin, and you have to hold the leg much farther out which would be tougher in our case. It may be great for more experienced shooters.

I hope this regret-filled outline helps. I'll try and get a video.
We have three more shots to go in this series. So far, not a lot of improvement since my last post.

skol - omhoge
 
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omhoge

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We will be finishing off the course of Flotaz in a few days. Our tortoise is still having major trouble breathing.
The Vet is going to have us switch to another antibiotic named Amikacin next.

I don't know anything about it yet, but at least it is not Baytril.
 

omhoge

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So the desktop reference says
Amikacin (amiglyde sulfate) Highly nephrotoxic - give with SC/IC fluids.

Has anyone uses Amikacin, and did you also have to give your pet fluid injections or was the usual fresh drinking water and soaking enough?
I'm picking up the Amikacin Monday, it's pretty clear he's stopped responding to the Flotaz.
 

Kasia

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I read that description as well and I guess that additional soaking yes but maybe it needs more than that... sc fluids flush the system more effective probably so it will not cumulate. I never administered to my tortoise this drug so it's just a thought. Ask your Vet and tell him about your concerns so he will not get his kidneys fried during treatment.
 

omhoge

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Thank you Kasia!. Even with those risks, I honestly cannot wait for the Amikacin to come in so I can pick it up and switch to it. He's started making gurgling sounds, still eating and moderately active, and though the Flotaz may have slowed the progression it has not cured his illness and he's not getting better yet. But he's fighting it! thank you!
 

domalle

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Thank you Kasia!. Even with those risks, I honestly cannot wait for the Amikacin to come in so I can pick it up and switch to it. He's started making gurgling sounds, still eating and moderately active, and though the Flotaz may have slowed the progression it has not cured his illness and he's not getting better yet. But he's fighting it! thank you!

Tortoises are resilient creatures. Regrettably, the symptoms described indicate a severely compromised animal. While recovery from such a state
is hoped, the percentages are not great. Thirty or so years in captivity for any tortoise is an accomplishment and a testament to the special care
and love you provided. And hingebacks taken from the wild have always been a challenge.

When labored breathing, rasping sounds and open-mouth gaping are displayed, some form of pneumonia is strongly indicated. When a tortoise
props its head up against the walls of its enclosure, it is congested, obstructed and desperately trying to draw breath.

Zovick's reputation and expertise are widely recognized in the herpetological community. He is a pioneer in the care and culture of tortoises
in this country and is accorded the utmost respect. If he is willing to consult with you on this, I would take him up on it.

The love you have poured into this animal, especially now in its distress, is clear. And admirable.
Hoping for the best. Good luck.
 

omhoge

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The Amikacin order came in early and we were able to start him on it Sunday, it is a five injection course, his second shot it tonight.
He's still eating and relieving himself normally, so we're giving him extra wet foods like watermelon while on the Amikacin.
The breathing difficulties continue, he's subdued but still active.

Thank you domalle for you well wishes.
Zovick gave us great feed back on the Flotaz vs. Baytril.
I'm very open to further suggestions.

Zovick do you have anything else you can suggest?

thank you everyone!
 

Taco*mom

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So many valuable lesson to learn from this thread. Hopefully your tortoise will get better soon. Thank you for sharing. And thanks to our senior members as well.
 

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