Weak front legs

annmarie9

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Arlington, TX
Hi all,

Hoping that someone might give me some help. My red footed tortoise is 20 years old and was very healthy until about 5 months ago when she started appearing lethargic. I took her to the vet and she had imaging and was given some vitamins. She continued with decreased activity so I took her back to the vet and she got anti parasitic and had the full treatment. Another two months and she developed weakness in her front legs. The vet gave her an injectable antibiotic treatment and she is now moving her front legs a little bit but still really weak (had about a month a half that she would just fall forward and had no strength in her two front legs). She has not fallen and uncertain what caused this--no change in diet or environment. Any one ever encounter something like this. It breaks my heart and I keep taking her to the vet but her strength in her front legs is not back. Thanks in advance!!
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
There are a few bothersome things in that post.
But does your tortoise have a UVB light?
Because my #1 guess would be MBD.
If the vitamins were in the form of an injection, and the animal was given an antibiotic for no good reason, you need another vet.
Please post photos of your animal, your lights. Heat sources and the enclosure.
We'll get it figured out.
 
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Jan A

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
Boulder, CO
Hi all,

Hoping that someone might give me some help. My red footed tortoise is 20 years old and was very healthy until about 5 months ago when she started appearing lethargic. I took her to the vet and she had imaging and was given some vitamins. She continued with decreased activity so I took her back to the vet and she got anti parasitic and had the full treatment. Another two months and she developed weakness in her front legs. The vet gave her an injectable antibiotic treatment and she is now moving her front legs a little bit but still really weak (had about a month a half that she would just fall forward and had no strength in her two front legs). She has not fallen and uncertain what caused this--no change in diet or environment. Any one ever encounter something like this. It breaks my heart and I keep taking her to the vet but her strength in her front legs is not back. Thanks in advance!!
Welcome to the forum. Sorry to hear your tort is having problems. There are a lot of people on board here with lots of experience. We care!!
 

annmarie9

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Arlington, TX
There are a few bothersome things in that post.
But does your tortoise have a UVB light?
Because my #1 guess would be MBD.
If the vitamins were in the form of an injection, and the animal was given an antibiotic for no good reason, you need another vet.
Please post photos of your animal, your lights. Heat sources and the enclosure.
We'll get it figured out.


Thank you so much for your reply. So she is currently living with my mother in Puerto Rico and lives outside as Puerto Rico has the perfect weather for her. However, when you mentioned the MBD I realized that I ask about her diet but had not asked my mom about calcium supplementation. She had been seen by a vet here in Texas when she was last here about 1.5 years ago and was totally fine. She has been in PR for about 1.5 years and I don't think my mother had been giving her calcium. I got her some repti calcium and bene-bag (probiotics) for birds/reptiles today. My mom should be picking it up tomorrow and will see if that helps. She tends to prefer fruits like mango and papaya. She also eats a variety of greens--kale, romaine, spring mixes. I was feeding her hibiscus as well. She is getting warm soaks about 2x a week. I agree, I have my reservations about her vet. I want to get her back here in Texas soon and get her checked out with my local vet. don't know if she can do the trip though until she is stronger. I am trying to attach a video but my Mac has the file extension .mov for it and can't get it to switch to mp4. I'll keep working on it. Thanks again!!
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
Thank you so much for your reply. So she is currently living with my mother in Puerto Rico and lives outside as Puerto Rico has the perfect weather for her. However, when you mentioned the MBD I realized that I ask about her diet but had not asked my mom about calcium supplementation. She had been seen by a vet here in Texas when she was last here about 1.5 years ago and was totally fine. She has been in PR for about 1.5 years and I don't think my mother had been giving her calcium. I got her some repti calcium and bene-bag (probiotics) for birds/reptiles today. My mom should be picking it up tomorrow and will see if that helps. She tends to prefer fruits like mango and papaya. She also eats a variety of greens--kale, romaine, spring mixes. I was feeding her hibiscus as well. She is getting warm soaks about 2x a week. I agree, I have my reservations about her vet. I want to get her back here in Texas soon and get her checked out with my local vet. don't know if she can do the trip though until she is stronger. I am trying to attach a video but my Mac has the file extension .mov for it and can't get it to switch to mp4. I'll keep working on it. Thanks again!!
If she's living outdoors in Puerto Rico and has a varied diet. The UV requirements are probably taken care of. So MBD becomes less likely.
It must be something else causing the weakness in the legs.
I've seen dragging the back legs before.
Weak front legs are most unusual.
This started BEFORE the vitamin injection?
Any chance she's been eating any chemically sprayed weeds?
Antibiotic shots also make tortoises temporarily weak. But I'm stumped.
Have you been able to fully inspect his legs and feet for injuries?
I've posted a few videos to YOUTUBE and then pasted them here.
 
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Maro2Bear

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Location (City and/or State)
Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
Thank you so much for your reply. So she is currently living with my mother in Puerto Rico and lives outside as Puerto Rico has the perfect weather for her. However, when you mentioned the MBD I realized that I ask about her diet but had not asked my mom about calcium supplementation. She had been seen by a vet here in Texas when she was last here about 1.5 years ago and was totally fine. She has been in PR for about 1.5 years and I don't think my mother had been giving her calcium. I got her some repti calcium and bene-bag (probiotics) for birds/reptiles today. My mom should be picking it up tomorrow and will see if that helps. She tends to prefer fruits like mango and papaya. She also eats a variety of greens--kale, romaine, spring mixes. I was feeding her hibiscus as well. She is getting warm soaks about 2x a week. I agree, I have my reservations about her vet. I want to get her back here in Texas soon and get her checked out with my local vet. don't know if she can do the trip though until she is stronger. I am trying to attach a video but my Mac has the file extension .mov for it and can't get it to switch to mp4. I'll keep working on it. Thanks again!!


Like ZP said a few posts up, upload your video first to YouTube and then post your video’s URL here in this thread. You can’t post a video file directly in here (unless a Super Platinum Donor). Good luck with your RF.
 

annmarie9

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Arlington, TX
If she's living outdoors in Puerto Rico and has a varied diet. The UV requirements are probably taken care of. So MBD becomes less likely.
It must be something else causing the weakness in the legs.
I've seen dragging the back legs before.
Weak front legs are most unusual.
This started BEFORE the vitamin injection?
Any chance she's been eating any chemically sprayed weeds?
Antibiotic shots also make tortoises temporarily weak. But I'm stumped.
Have you been able to fully inspect his legs and feet for injuries?
I've posted a few videos to YOUTUBE and then pasted them here.


This all started with lethargy and that's what got her the vitamin injections as no issues on imaging and labs done by the vet. I am uncertain why the antibiotic tx but perhaps a Hail Mary by the vet. I found another exotic vet in PR and asked my mother to take her there for a second opinion. My mother has looked at her legs up close and hasn't found any injuries. Thank you so much for the tip on posting videos. I'm going to try to attach it this evening after work. And thanks so very much for your help!!
 

ANGELA BRZECZKOWSKI

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
HARTLAND, WI
Thank you so much for your reply. So she is currently living with my mother in Puerto Rico and lives outside as Puerto Rico has the perfect weather for her. However, when you mentioned the MBD I realized that I ask about her diet but had not asked my mom about calcium supplementation. She had been seen by a vet here in Texas when she was last here about 1.5 years ago and was totally fine. She has been in PR for about 1.5 years and I don't think my mother had been giving her calcium. I got her some repti calcium and bene-bag (probiotics) for birds/reptiles today. My mom should be picking it up tomorrow and will see if that helps. She tends to prefer fruits like mango and papaya. She also eats a variety of greens--kale, romaine, spring mixes. I was feeding her hibiscus as well. She is getting warm soaks about 2x a week. I agree, I have my reservations about her vet. I want to get her back here in Texas soon and get her checked out with my local vet. don't know if she can do the trip though until she is stronger. I am trying to attach a video but my Mac has the file extension .mov for it and can't get it to switch to mp4. I'll keep working on it. Thanks again!!
What's MBD
 

annmarie9

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Arlington, TX
oops, no chemicals in the yard and the vet tried the antibiotic treatment as her lethargy progressed to front leg weakness despite vitamins a couple of months before. Of course, I don't know if she needed any of those treatments. I'd like to get her records. I have asked my mom to get a copy of the records too. Thanks again!!
 

annmarie9

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Arlington, TX
This all started with lethargy and that's what got her the vitamin injections as no issues on imaging and labs done by the vet. I am uncertain why the antibiotic tx but perhaps a Hail Mary by the vet. I found another exotic vet in PR and asked my mother to take her there for a second opinion. My mother has looked at her legs up close and hasn't found any injuries. Thank you so much for the tip on posting videos. I'm going to try to attach it this evening after work. And thanks so very much for your help!!


here is the video link:

Thanks so much for all your help!!
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
Its strange that he completely pulls in each leg. Causing him to tip over.
You can try hydrotherapy once you have him with you.
Just place him in a pool of water just deep enough so that he can float in it. It makes using weak legs easier. And can increase strength in them.
Hopefully he'll soon recover.
I also once had a RF that couldn't walk and even stopped eating for months. And she miraculously survived and is perfectly healthy today.
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
Metabolic bone disease
It can happen when any animal can't process vitamin D3 from calcium. Correct UVB exposure is needed.
Other reptiles like lizards can show the symptoms sooner. In tortoises the first signs might be already too late.
MBD is painful and avoidable. It makes the bones soft and prone to breakage.
It can not be reversed. But it can be stopped with correct diet and UVB exposure as well as Calcium supplementation.
 

Skip K

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
Virginia
What does your Redfoot graze on outside? I’ve heard of symptoms like this as a result of a tort grazing on a plant or fruit that is toxic or semi toxic to reptiles.
 
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annmarie9

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Arlington, TX
Its strange that he completely pulls in each leg. Causing him to tip over.
You can try hydrotherapy once you have him with you.
Just place him in a pool of water just deep enough so that he can float in it. It makes using weak legs easier. And can increase strength in them.
Hopefully he'll soon recover.
I also once had a RF that couldn't walk and even stopped eating for months. And she miraculously survived and is perfectly healthy today.


Thanks so much for the advice! I'll definitely do that for her. Thanks for the good wishes as well!!
 

annmarie9

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Arlington, TX
What does your Redfoot graze on outside? I’ve heard of symptoms like this as a result of a tort grazing on a plant or fruit that is toxic or semi toxic to reptiles.


That's a good question. I'm going to check with my mom but I don't think we have any poisonous plants where she is at. My mother has a bunch of orchids in her backyard and some herbs. Definitely something to look into.
 

Toddrickfl1

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Ga
Where were the vitamin injections given? Could it be possible the Vet caused injuries to the legs when the injection was given?
 
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