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Letharguc ill little tortoise :(
Posted: 01/07/2012 by jcs2012

Hello,

I'm wondering if anyone on here can give me some advice for my poor little tortoise who is not well at the moment. I have four tortoises and three are perfectly well and happy but the fourth one (who is about two years younger than the others and now two years old) has recently become very lethargic and I'm worried that her shell seems to be softening slightly :( I use a UVB reptiglo lamp and haven't yet taken her to a vet (I'm in rural Italy and it's difficult to find a specialist vet here). Could this be a calcium deficiency despite the lamp and a rich diet? I wondered if anyone could give me advice about what to do next, I'm busy searching for a vet but I'm worried that she is going downhill fast and I'm devestated. She doesn't seem hungry and the heat is not helping (40 degrees here at the moment). Any advice would be gratefully appreciated. Thank you.

Re: Letharguc ill little tortoise :(
Posted: 01/07/2012 by tortoise7

Hi
Keep her well hydrated, warm but also somewhere where she can cool down to 22c. She definately needs to see a specialist vet, do you have any rescue centres near you that could help you find one?
You said a rich diet, what does that consist of? as the soft shell does suggest she has not had the right vits, and if her diet consists of food high in oxulates, e.g cabbage, broccoli etc then this will inhibit the calcium intake, which she needs at this age. There could be a number of things that is wrong, that is why a blood test is needed to see the cause.  What species is she?
I hope you can get her seen to soon, please keep her posted, I am sorry I cannot offer any further advice, but can only emphasise to keep her well hydrated

Kind regards

Jane

Re: Letharguc ill little tortoise :(
Posted: 02/07/2012 by jcs2012

Hi Jane,

Thanks for your reply and kind advice. I'm trawling through the internet for vets and specialist places at the moment and going to check one out later today so fingers crossed they may be able to suggest something. She is a Hermann. When I said rich diet I meant varied more than anything - different varieties of lettuce, wild roughage, some fruit, alfalfa... being as she lives with three others though it's difficult to know who's eating what someimes, the other three get through a lot of food :) At the moment I've separated her but I can tell she's not eating but I totally agree that it sounds like a deficiency but I don't understand why and also being as the other three are so well. The cooling down to 22 is not so easy at the moment, it's bad enough for us humans in this heatwave as not below 29 in the house even through the night but she is in the coolest room.

Thanks again for your help and fingers crossed I can get some more advice this afternoon.

Kind regards

Jen

Re: Letharguc ill little tortoise :(
Posted: 02/07/2012 by wizzasmum

With temps of 40 degrees, it's likely that she is trying to aestivate as those temps are far too high. What are the temps in the shade outdoors? Are you keeping her in or outdoors? If indoors and her shell is softening, how long is it since you changed the lamps. Uvb is only stable for 6 months or so, so a tiny one would soon show signs of soft shell. Do you supplement with D3, as if the uvb is too low, supplementing with D3 is essential for normal growth and maintenance. Hope this helps, sorry for all the questions, but it helps to build a picture.

Re: Letharguc ill little tortoise :(
Posted: 02/07/2012 by jcs2012

Thanks for your reply. All of your help is much appreciated. We have been to a vet this evening who wasn't a specialist but said it's definitely dehydration, most probably due to the heat. He says he has seen so many animals with it during this heatwave. Unfortunately he says it doesn't look good :(( He gave her an injection and I've got a syringe of fluids to try and give her but she doesn't want to open her mouth although I have managed to get her to drink something tonight but can't get her to eat. I have to go back tomorrow and although the vet said not to get my hopes up we are going to try everything. My tortoises all live inside but are outside regularly but since I noticed that my smallest baby wasn't well I have kept her indoors all of the time. The UVB lamp is new, I changed it about a week ago and the previous one was about 8 months old. The temp today is slightly better, with fan and so on I've managed to get it down to 26 downstairs but the lamp is a problem as the vet said she needs the lamp of course but it adds to the heat and is a vicious circle. Her shell has softened so quickly that's what worried me - I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that she picks up a bit this evening since the injection and will see what they say tomorrow... :( :( thank you.

Re: Letharguc ill little tortoise :(
Posted: 02/07/2012 by tortoise7

Hi
I would not worry too much about the food at the moment, unless the weight is drastically low, but would concentrate on the fluids. Be very careful when giving fluids  by a syringe, make sure you do tiny drops at a time, or else you could put the fluid straight into the lungs which obviously would cause lots of problems. I would give 3 baths a day, and try pouring the water from above in your hand,  you will find that your tort will automatically raise his head in the air, the water will go through the nares, so this is another way of getting fluids inside him.
What was the injection that the vet gave him for?
The diet that you have him on is not really good, there are lots of weeds in Italy like your dandies, plantain for example which are all native plants to Italy, I observed this myself when I visited your lovely country, this dusted with nutrabol should start to get your tort on the right tracks. The problem with the lamp, If you are able to put him outside when the heat is not too hot, then a couple of natural hours UV is worth more that 7 hours under the lamp,  and then to help keep him cool, can you put a fan there to circulate the air, just until you can get him rehydrated again.
I have my fingers crossed for you both and hope you can find a specialist vet soon
Jane

Re: Letharguc ill little tortoise :(
Posted: 02/07/2012 by jcs2012

Hi Jane,
Thanks for your kind reply. I am concentrating on fluids yes and have tried with the baths. I have found that actually instead of putting his head above the water he puts it below it but seems to be drinking which I hope is a good sign... The vet said that the injection was to give him a 'boost' of energy...

I give the tortoises all a lot of the weeds we have here, they particularly like the dandies and the big ones go mad for them and so did my little baby until he fell ill :(

I will try putting him out for a couple of hours tomorrow and staying with him - apparently it could get slightly cooler so it may be my chance.

Whilst writing, I wondered if anyone knows the rules on bringing a pet tortoise back to the UK? I am going to be coming back to the UK for a few weeks over the summer and I normally leave the torties with family when I'm away but I am worried about leaving the little one for so long with him being ill and would rather bring him with me to family there.... I know it's a shot in the dark but I hate the thought of leaving him.

Thanks again for your help...fingers crossed!!

Kind regards

Jen

Re: Letharguc ill little tortoise :(
Posted: 03/07/2012 by tortoise7

Hi Jen
Must be wonderful for you to see him drinking, and yes head under means he is drinking, the best way. I would not suggest anymore injections unless a blood test has been done, tortoise biology is different to mammal, and it could do more harm than good. I am guessing that was a Vit. A or C? anyway I know it is very limited for you and the vet is probably trying his best under the circumstances, but just wanted to add awareness  for future consultations, until you can find a specialist vet. Have you looked to see if there are any worms when he goes to the toilet? if so then Pancur (Fenbendazole) is what should be used, dosage ajusted to weight of your tortoise, if no worms seen then don't worm.
Personally I would say if your family are willing to nurse your tort, then I would leave him at home, travelling is very stressful but more so if he is not well. 
Great that they are already on dandies etc, I would leave the rest alone, no benefits there at all.

Re: Letharguc ill little tortoise :(
Posted: 03/07/2012 by tortoise7

Hi Jen
Sorry forgot to sign off!!
Going back to soft shell, you need to get him out in that UV, it is still beneficial even if the sun is not shining, has it improved at all? also what is your indoor set-up like, substrate etc?
Jane

Re: Letharguc ill little tortoise :(
Posted: 04/07/2012 by jcs2012

Thank you for your kind replies and your continued advice, Jane, but unfortunately we've lost her :( :( It's so so sad and I can't believe she has gone.

I thought there had been a slight improvement yesterday and persisted with bathing, liquids and she had a couple of hours in the sun after the temperature dropped yesterday but overnight she rapidly deteriorated and this morning I could just tell she wasn't going to last the day. :( Had managed to get an appointment with a specialist coming up from Rome on Friday too, but too late :( Praying for her now to rest in peace. The other torties know that it has happened and all have said their goodbyes, it's going to be so hard to leave her now.

Thanks again for all of your help,

Kind regards

Jen and the other torties (Rafaella, Pietro and Stella)

Re: Letharguc ill little tortoise :(
Posted: 06/07/2012 by tortoise7

Hi   Jen
Sorry was away yesterday so I have just picked up your post. I am so sad for you, I had a feeling we were going to be posting in this way, but was hoping events might take a turn for the better.
Please still keep posting
Thinking of you

Kindest regards
Jane

 

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