!!Urgent!! Pebbles was stuck in water

Chromatic

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Hello everyone,

I want to start by saying I am SO disappointed in myself for letting this happen.
So I've been keeping Pebble's enclosure outside. Yesterday, it stormed, and when I got home from work (which was early, thank God), there was so much flooding in her enclosure it was covering the top of her shell. Thankfully, her head was stretched out over the water so she could breathe, if she would have drowned I would have never forgiven myself.
She seemed okay yesterday, she just didn't really want to eat. Which is kind of normal for her anyways. But today when I checked on her, she was stuck in between the wall and the top of her cave, and when I picked her up, she was wheezing/sounding and looking like she was gasping for air. I immediately called an animal hospital that sees tortoises, thankfully the nurse that answered has many many tortoises herself so she seemed to know her stuff.
Here's all of the things I noticed while on the phone:
-She was gasping, mouth breathing (holding her mouth open for periods of time)
-She kept flailing her limbs really fast, when I'd put her down she would practically run. To where, I don't know
-She'd paw at her mouth sometimes, not super often
-She didn't want to eat
-Her head would twitch slightly on occasion
-Sometimes it would sound as if she was sneezing?
-This one's a big one: once or twice a tiny bubble would come out of her nostril, this is why I'm very concerned she could have water in her lungs

I've been keeping her inside with me ever since, and she's been acting like her usual self- curled up in her shell sleeping. I haven't noticed any weird breathing since.
I have to add that her enclosure temp was over 100 (in the sunny parts), she's a redfoot. She was in the sun while she was stuck, which I don't know how long that was (I haven't bought a camera to monitor 24/7, since I work full-time, but I'm doing that this friday).

So I want to ask, could she have been overheating, and that's why she was acting funny? Or could it be water damage? The first thought that came to my mind was she had water in her lungs. But she seems to be okay now.
I also want to ask here, are there any major signs that can show she's in immediate danger? I asked the nurse the same question, she replied that it's pretty difficult to determine with reptiles as they don't show a lot of signs for anything. However, she did say that lethargy and refusing to eat are big ones.

I can drop her off at the vet's office tomorrow at 8AM when they open, and they will work her in at some point since they're booked up. If a lot of people here thinks she is fine, then I might not take her. But if this really is a medical emergency, I can certainly go, or try to find another hospital that could take her now.

Info for Pebbles:
She's a redfoot. She's very young, just a few years old. Her diet consists of different fruits and greens, with calcium powder about once a week, as well as dried mealworms and other bugs once a week as well. Since she's been outside she'd obvious had the sun for UVB, but I do have a UVB light for when she's ever inside.

Thank you so much for reading and for future replies.
 

Tom

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Your tortoise nearly overheated and died. I’m warm Summer weather a RF enclosure should be mostly shaded. Heavy shade.
 

Chromatic

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Your tortoise nearly overheated and died. I’m warm Summer weather a RF enclosure should be mostly shaded. Heavy shade.

Oh my God. So she will be okay?? Should I still take her to the vet in the AM?
 

wellington

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If she were mine, I would set her up in an indoor enclosure with proper temps and keep an eye on her. If she keeps acting fine I would not take her in. If she starts acting like something is wrong bring her in.
It could have been the water or the heat.
 

Chromatic

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If she were mine, I would set her up in an indoor enclosure with proper temps and keep an eye on her. If she keeps acting fine I would not take her in. If she starts acting like something is wrong bring her in.
It could have been the water or the heat.
She's always been kept inside until recently, I figured the natural environment (like the sun) would be better, but she's definitely staying inside now.
I did want to make her a very, very big space in my backyard- fence it in, cover it up so nothing can get to her, and then in the winter/cooler months bring her inside again. Should I not do this? Should she strictly be inside only (unless taken outside to roam with supervision)?
 

wellington

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How old is a few years and how big is she?
For now keep her inside and make improvements on the outdoor enclosure so it can't flood again.
I have leopards and mine didn't live outside until 3 1/2 - 4 years old, 7 to 10 inches long. Before that age/size I would put them outside for a few hours a day only when I was home so I could check on them.
They live outside now during summer months and have a shed to go into for shade and night time and I lock them in at night. They have lots of shade and tall weed/grass clumps they can hide under. I still check on them at least once during the day when I check their water, which they have inside and out.
 
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Chromatic

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I was told she was 3 or 4 years old, but she's about 4 inches long... was I told wrong?
It's only been two-ish weeks that's she's been outside, and of course I checked on her all the time. Before that she was always inside.

Her outside "garden" will definitely be mostly covered so rain can't easily get in. I want it to be really nice for her so she'll have a happy, healthy life. I'll post all of my plans for that in another post later on.
 

Yvonne G

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Your subject line says "stuck in the water," which led me to believe she got water in her lungs.

Supporting her head, with your arms outstretched, raise her above your head and swing her down forcefully and quickly to make gravity force the water from her lungs. Make sure to support her head. You can do this a couple times. Then if the tortoise will lay still, position him on a gentle slope, head downwards.
 

Chromatic

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Your subject line says "stuck in the water," which led me to believe she got water in her lungs.

Supporting her head, with your arms outstretched, raise her above your head and swing her down forcefully and quickly to make gravity force the water from her lungs. Make sure to support her head. You can do this a couple times. Then if the tortoise will lay still, position him on a gentle slope, head downwards.
I did think it was from the water, I included the overheating because I thought it should be noted in case it was that.
I will try to do this, my concern is that she'll get scared and she'll put her head in her shell. Is that going to be okay?
 

florida1

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I did think it was from the water, I included the overheating because I thought it should be noted in case it was that.
I will try to do this, my concern is that she'll get scared and she'll put her head in her shell. Is that going to be okay?
Swinging her like that doesn't sound like a good idea.
 

Kipley

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Your subject line says "stuck in the water," which led me to believe she got water in her lungs.

Supporting her head, with your arms outstretched, raise her above your head and swing her down forcefully and quickly to make gravity force the water from her lungs. Make sure to support her head. You can do this a couple times. Then if the tortoise will lay still, position him on a gentle slope, head downwards.
I believe you give that advice as an emergency measure, effective right after found? At this point doing that maneuver is of no benefit to the tortoise, and if the tort has developed aspiration pneumonia, that could actually damage the lung tissue, in my professional respiratory therapist's opinion.
But performing this "pulmonary hygiene" maneuver could certainly be beneficial when first finding the tortoise.
 

Yvonne G

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Swinging her like that doesn't sound like a good idea.

I believe you give that advice as an emergency measure, effective right after found? At this point doing that maneuver is of no benefit to the tortoise, and if the tort has developed aspiration pneumonia, that could actually damage the lung tissue, in my professional respiratory therapist's opinion.
But performing this "pulmonary hygiene" maneuver could certainly be beneficial when first finding the tortoise.
Thank you for that info.
 

Canadian Mojo

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There are reports of wild RF's being happy to hang out in a flooded burrow with only their heads above the water. Given they live in a rain forest, it's probably something they have evolved to handle. They also seem to like the rain and have no issues going into water. My little goof will stretch out his neck and stand on his tiptoes to cross the deep part of his watering hole.

The over heating is more dangerous. Their dark shells are not sun friendly at all and they know it. At 60F our RF will wander in the sun all day and his shell temperature will be 78-80. By the time the temp reaches 68F he finds the deepest, darkest, and moistest place in his outdoor enclosure and spends most of his time there, oly coming out for about five minutes before retreating to cool off. 75F and overcast and he is out and about like nobody's business.

A little guy like yours is even more vulnerable since it doesn't have a lot of mass to soak up the excess heat. He really needs his shade because he will overheat very quickly.
 

maggie3fan

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Swinging her like that doesn't sound like a good idea.
It's a very common practice among Veterinarians and rehab people. I have done it on many animals, a box turtle I thought was drowned, when I swung her down I supported her head with both of my hands and water just gushed out of her...she gasped and coughed and in a few minutes she was almost ok...she did get an URTI...
 

Chromatic

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Thank you everyone for all of the advice. Pebbles is doing great! I do think it was the heat that got to her. She's been doing fine ever since I brought her inside and she cooled off. I've been keeping a very close eye on her. If any other trouble seems to pop up I'll update everyone.
 
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