Young India Star urates question

thompsono

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Hi everyone - my 5 month India star secretes a lot of urates, and several weeks ago passed a hard stone as well. I see urates in my other tortoise but much more from this little guy. The stone was a concern for sure.

Hydration: the habitat is closed and above 80% humidity - usually around 85. The tortoise always have water access, and are soaked nearly every day for 20-30 minutes.
Calcium and Suppliments: They get a little Mazuri 2 times a week, sometimes 3 times. I am not using any other calcium or other suppliments for some time. Diet is a very good mix of greens -much of which I grow. They have access to other good things, like opunita, but dont have interest now, I do keep a cuttlefish bone available but they dont use it.

My other torts dont have any issues with same care ... I would chalk this up to normal and wait it out except for one thing - when I weighed them today all show ok gain except for this poor little India star. Unless I made a bad measure 4 weeks ago, no weight gain, still 42 grams.

Is there something else I am missing in terms of urates and the stone this one passed? Any tips?

I am attaching a picutre of this secretion, seems similar to what people describe as "cottage cheese". Don't worry those stones are just stones ! I keep them in their soak bath so they have some traction - seems to make them happier than a bare plastic tub.
 

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wellington

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For being so young and passing a stone is very concerning.
I think you need to soak every day, not just nearly every day. Leave him in the soak for an hour each time.
The urates should be like a creamy tooth paste, not gritty or lumpy.
A cuttle bone is calcium.
 

Tom

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Hi everyone - my 5 month India star secretes a lot of urates, and several weeks ago passed a hard stone as well. I see urates in my other tortoise but much more from this little guy. The stone was a concern for sure.

Hydration: the habitat is closed and above 80% humidity - usually around 85. The tortoise always have water access, and are soaked nearly every day for 20-30 minutes.
Calcium and Suppliments: They get a little Mazuri 2 times a week, sometimes 3 times. I am not using any other calcium or other suppliments for some time. Diet is a very good mix of greens -much of which I grow. They have access to other good things, like opunita, but dont have interest now, I do keep a cuttlefish bone available but they dont use it.

My other torts dont have any issues with same care ... I would chalk this up to normal and wait it out except for one thing - when I weighed them today all show ok gain except for this poor little India star. Unless I made a bad measure 4 weeks ago, no weight gain, still 42 grams.

Is there something else I am missing in terms of urates and the stone this one passed? Any tips?

I am attaching a picutre of this secretion, seems similar to what people describe as "cottage cheese". Don't worry those stones are just stones ! I keep them in their soak bath so they have some traction - seems to make them happier than a bare plastic tub.
How long have you had them? Do you know how the breeder started them? Dry or wet routine? Indoors or outdoors? The urates could be left over from before you got them. It often takes several months for urates to clear out.

Urates are a by-product of protein digestion coupled with a lack of hydration. Urates have nothing to do with calcium intake.

It doesn't sound like you have a lack of hydration at 80% humidity and with daily soaks, but... Is this a closed chamber with heat and lights inside? What device are you measuring humidity with? Can we see the enclosure?

If its not the hydration level, then it has to be the protein intake. Mazuri 5M21 is a little on the high side, but twice a week shouldn't be any problem. Which greens are you feeding? Any legumes? Clover? Alfalfa? Plantain?

I agree that you should be soaking every day. I do 45-60 minutes every day until they pass 100 grams.

The lack of growth is concerning. Stars often grow slowly, but no weight gain in a month is not a good sign. Are you weighing at the same time of day following the same routine? For example, I always feed mine in the morning, soak in the afternoon, and weigh after they poop in the soak. If you weighed a month ago right after a big meal but before a poop in the soak, and then this time you weighed before a big meal but after pooping in the soak, it could account for the lack of gain.

We will help you figure it out.
 

thompsono

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How long have you had them? Do you know how the breeder started them? Dry or wet routine? Indoors or outdoors? The urates could be left over from before you got them. It often takes several months for urates to clear out.

Urates are a by-product of protein digestion coupled with a lack of hydration. Urates have nothing to do with calcium intake.

It doesn't sound like you have a lack of hydration at 80% humidity and with daily soaks, but... Is this a closed chamber with heat and lights inside? What device are you measuring humidity with? Can we see the enclosure?

If its not the hydration level, then it has to be the protein intake. Mazuri 5M21 is a little on the high side, but twice a week shouldn't be any problem. Which greens are you feeding? Any legumes? Clover? Alfalfa? Plantain?

I agree that you should be soaking every day. I do 45-60 minutes every day until they pass 100 grams.

The lack of growth is concerning. Stars often grow slowly, but no weight gain in a month is not a good sign. Are you weighing at the same time of day following the same routine? For example, I always feed mine in the morning, soak in the afternoon, and weigh after they poop in the soak. If you weighed a month ago right after a big meal but before a poop in the soak, and then this time you weighed before a big meal but after pooping in the soak, it could account for the lack of gain.

We will help you figure it out.
@wellington @Tom thank you for the guidance! I will start soaking for longer periods starting today.

I do soak daily on average 6 days per week. But this tortoise seems to want out after 15 minutes or so, and I haven’t had the heart to make them stay longer. I try various tweaks to keep them comfortable - but if soaking longer is needed I’ll do it.

@Tom thanks for clarification on urates. They are in a closed enclosure with lights inside- an incandescent, Che and ambient daylight led as well as a Desert 9.0 uvb that I positioned with solarmeter. I’ve read up
On all your suggestions! I do this little guy eat consistently on a mix of greens and lettuce types, and a bit of Mazuri 2x a week. I harvest from a “broadleaf tortoise seed mix” I bought online plus a clover mix.
 

Tom

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@wellington @Tom thank you for the guidance! I will start soaking for longer periods starting today.

I do soak daily on average 6 days per week. But this tortoise seems to want out after 15 minutes or so, and I haven’t had the heart to make them stay longer. I try various tweaks to keep them comfortable - but if soaking longer is needed I’ll do it.

@Tom thanks for clarification on urates. They are in a closed enclosure with lights inside- an incandescent, Che and ambient daylight led as well as a Desert 9.0 uvb that I positioned with solarmeter. I’ve read up
On all your suggestions! I do this little guy eat consistently on a mix of greens and lettuce types, and a bit of Mazuri 2x a week. I harvest from a “broadleaf tortoise seed mix” I bought online plus a clover mix.
All of this sounds pretty good.

Depending on how long you have had them, and how this one was started, the urates might be left over from its previous life before you got it.

About the soaking: I wouldn't about whether or not the tortoise "wants" to be soaked. When they start scrambling to get out, it is actually good for them. We call it the tortoise treadmill. Its good stimulating exercise, it helps keep the GI tract moving, and it can also help pass any stubborn urates that are hanging around in there, thus preventing a potentially fatal bladder stone. Tortoises rely on locomotion to keep the GI tract moving, much the same way horses do. This extra locomotion happening in the extended soaks may actually stimulate more appetite and give you the needed weight gain.

I sounds like your food selections are adequate, but I would try to improve the menu with more weeds, leaves, flowers, and even some freshly sprouted wheat grass occasionally. You could also add in some dried leaf options from Kapidolo Farms to increase the variety.
 

thompsono

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Thanks @Tom - great info. Its a good reminder not to try to project how a tortoise "feels" too much since thats hard to know, and ultimately my job is to keep them healthy ... I dont want to stress them generally, but good to frame this scrambling in a context that it does get them moving and that is good for GI - yes I will work to improve diet more as well...
 

TammyJ

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What are your other tortoises? Same species? How many? Are they all together in the same enclosure?
 

thompsono

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What are your other tortoises? Same species? How many? Are they all together in the same enclosure?
2 young star tortoise together, and 2 hermanns together. All the others do have occasional urates but seems like they are in a "normal" range and all have decent weight gain. All are young in 42-65 gram range.

I am going to be more consistent about how and when I weigh them. Another good tip I learned from these responses!
 

TammyJ

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We have learnt from years of experience that tortoises should not be kept in pairs. Usually the main reason for this is that they make each other uncomfortable and stressed, and one will end up being dominated, harassed and bullied by the other, who will hog the food and basking and sleeping area, and actually may cause the now smaller, weaker one to become ill, stop eating, lose weight, and eventually even die. Just wondering if this may be what is going on with your little one.
 

thompsono

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I'll search around for guicance on this... but here I am referring to babies under 50 grams.
Also the urates issue has cleared up nicely! During the whole thing I saw good eating habits etc. so ...
One thing I am definitely doing now is weighing them at the same time - I weighed them 2x daily just for a learning experience for a week, and wow, now I can see the the fluxuation is quite normal based on poop, soaking etc ... so this has been good learning experience
 

TammyJ

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I'll search around for guicance on this... but here I am referring to babies under 50 grams.
Also the urates issue has cleared up nicely! During the whole thing I saw good eating habits etc. so ...
One thing I am definitely doing now is weighing them at the same time - I weighed them 2x daily just for a learning experience for a week, and wow, now I can see the the fluxuation is quite normal based on poop, soaking etc ... so this has been good learning experience
It will have been a good learning experience if you have learnt not to keep them in pairs.
 

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