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Weird growth on beak

Discussion in 'Russian tortoises' started by Chloebark, Dec 26, 2018.

  1. Chloebark

    Chloebark Member

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    I discovered today a strange almost wart-like growth on my tortoise’s lower beak just underneath his mouth. I soaked him (Walter) in a warm bath for 25 minutes then tried to clean the area with a q-tip because I thought it might be dried food but it wouldn’t come off and I didn’t want to hurt him trying. I scheduled an appointment with the vet for this Saturday but I thought I’d ask here for opinions on the matter. Maybe I need to change some things in his habitat too.

    Here are some pics. His beak is overgrown and the vet won’t file it down unless he can’t eat but he seems to be ok with eating at this point.

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    His enclosure is a 3x5’ table. I use coco coir throughout. He has a mercury vapor bulb on one end that gets to 95 degrees and the cooler end is 70. He gets a terra cotta saucer with water and another for his food. There are two wooden hides and a rock as well. One day I hope to add plants for him to eat and hide under.

    I feed him daily usually a spring mix and I try to alternate different leafy foods such as collard greens, mustard greens, and whatever else is available with the spring mix. I’ve tried to give him mazuri and other tortoise pellet type foods but he doesn’t eat them. About once a week I sprinkle calcium powder on the food. I have given him cuttle bone in the past in hopes he’d eat it and it’d help with his beak but he’s never touched any.

    IMG_1545870829.715212.jpg
    IMG_1545870845.587026.jpg

    Please let me know if you need any other info.
  2. Cheryl Hills

    Cheryl Hills Well-Known Member

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    I would find another vet. His beak desperately needs to be trimmed. As for the growth, I don’t know. But that beak is probably already causing problems.
    tortgirl5 and Chloebark like this.
  3. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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    I'm with Cheryl. I'd find a new vet. That beak is grossly overgrown. At that time you can have the vet take a scraping of the growth to see what it is.
    tortgirl5 and Chloebark like this.
  4. Chloebark

    Chloebark Member

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    Thanks, I’ll bring that up to him on Saturday.
    Is there anything I can do or give him to help keep the beak trimmed?
  5. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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    Once it's trimmed, if you move him outside so he can forage and eat like they do in the wild, there won't be a need for further beak trimming. They keep it trimmed naturally by biting off hard bits of food and scraping the beak on the ground and rocks. It's feeding him soft foods like what I see in your pictures that is contributing to the long beak.
    Chloebark and Cheryl Hills like this.
  6. Chloebark

    Chloebark Member

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    He has an outdoor enclosure for the summer but it’s winter in northern Indiana so unfortunately he has to stay inside. Is there anything I could keep in his enclosure that could help? What hard bits of food can I feed him?
  7. Cheryl Hills

    Cheryl Hills Well-Known Member

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    Try a flat stone or slate to feed him on. It will help.
    Chloebark likes this.
  8. tortgirl5

    tortgirl5 New Member Today is my birthday!

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    I’m with the others, the beak needs trimming. And very well could have caused injury or etc, from attempting to eat off alignment. It could be a totally different issue, such as maybe an abscess. Either way, the beak needs trimming.
    Chloebark likes this.
  9. Chloebark

    Chloebark Member

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    Thanks everyone for your responses. I have taken Walter to the vet but am now switching vets so it’s taking a while to get this done for him. I have also switched out the terra cotta saucer dish for a slate of rock to put his food on. He seems to be fine, he is his usual self, I am just annoyed this is taking so long and I think he’ll be even happier when his beak is shortened. I was waiting to post pics of his aftercare, but he won’t see his new vet until Thursday.

    Thanks again.
    Cheryl Hills likes this.
  10. Chloebark

    Chloebark Member

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    I just wanted to update for anyone curious. I looked for a new vet and we had the appointment yesterday for Walter. It’s a farther drive for us but it was absolutely worth it. I was asked what felt like 100 questions about Walter, his habitat, his food, his personality. The vet was so attentive to Walter and looked over every inch of him. She believes the growth on his lower beak is an abscess from his beak being overgrown, and she can’t believe we didn’t have it filed down by the other vet over the summer. She wrote down what I should start doing now and plans to trim his beak over 2 appointments since there’s a lot and she doesn’t want him to go through a huge change and not be able to eat. I’m so happy I posted to this site and got the feedback I did and to look for a new vet. Thank you all!
    TriciaStringer likes this.
  11. Toddrickfl1

    Toddrickfl1 Well-Known Member TFO Supporter

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    That sounds like a good VET there.
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