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Sick Pancake baby
Posted: 24/07/2012 by belliana

I have 3 new pancake babies.One is not gaining weight. It is lethargic, closes eyes a lot.Eats tiny amounts but not enough.
So far I have been soaking in warm water, treated on Saturday by myself with Flagyl.
Force feeds every couple days.Soaked in smart water.
It has been outside a few hours a day to get UV.The other 2 are much more active, eating well, gaining weight and more alert.I have had them for 6 weeks.
The plastron is much softer and sometimes rippled, distorted on this one .The others are soft as pancakes are supposed to be but not like this.

Any suggestions appreciated.My local vet doesn't know what to do.
I can give enema is necessary.
Thanks so much

Re: Sick Pancake baby
Posted: 24/07/2012 by belliana

I should mention diet given too.
Aside from force feed of tortoise nutrition powder mixed with baby food carrot.
Weeds include plantain, dandelion, clover, portulaca, other foods given are turnip green, mustard green, lettuce, cacti pads shaved.carrot greens. They have MVB bulb in day or outside in Sun and no lights on overnight indoors. They have rock hides.

Re: Sick Pancake baby
Posted: 24/07/2012 by DavidWYork

Hi Helen, thanks for email, hope I can help.
Never kept this species ,but have over 40 yrs experience with Testudo ibera, Turkish spur-thighed. I have restored many sick animals to good health, over the years.
First, the questions:
Are they all 3 similar size and weights? You sure it is taking liquids and food? Does it have chance to keep dark and warm, plus dark and cooler? Any excreta passed...especially in water?
What do you use as substrate...soil, sand, gravel . Is it too moist? Is there a gradient from 18-28 degrees available? Is poorly one in isolation to prevent spread of disease/ pathogens? Is there a zoo or reptile park in Toronto to ring for advice? Could supplier offer assistance?
Now, my best considered suggestions Helen.

  1. Open mouth and keep open with a lolly stick or similar. whilst you try 2. below.
  2. Drip diluted black current or cranberry juici in whilst holding beastie upright.. Try to give 5-10% body weight daily. in small doses.
  3. Offer succulents (sedum species). Dandelions ( Taraxacum officinale ) especially flowers, and favourites the other two ear,
  4. Give 2 drops of codliver oil alternate days for 2 weeks. Do not overdo. This help restore vitamins A and D, plus allows metabolism of calcium and is good for bones and shell formation.
  5. Ensure nose is clear and not blocked or bubbling.
  6. Keep warm but not bright to tax the eyes or stress. Sick beasts hide away naturally...then often perish. That is where we intervene with restorative actions, if possible.

Keep in touch via site or personal mail. I hope others pick up and offer extra advice. ..Are you there Jane? What have I missed?

Regards from David nr York UK.

Re: Sick Pancake baby
Posted: 25/07/2012 by tortoise7

Hi Helen
Pancakes normally give birth to one egg at a time and roughly 4-6wks apart, what egg was this little one?
I am not sure what experience you have medically, but I would not advice giving antibiotics and enema's without the advice from a specialist vet, especially without knowing what the problem is. At a hazard guess I would say that the hatchling sounds like it was under nourished in the egg and needs specialist vet attention, can you not find a vet near  you?
David has given you some very good immediate advice until you can get to a vet.

Re: Sick Pancake baby
Posted: 27/07/2012 by belliana

Thank you for the email.
All 3 are similar size and weights, The lightest is 18g and the largest 28g.
The 2 larger ones are gaining weight whereas the sick one is not.It has gone up a gram and down a gram but overall no gain since I got these babies about 6-7 weeks ago.
They have access to water.They have a rocky hide and I did put some moist spaghnum moss in there.
They have a MVB bulb at the warm end too.
They get to go outside every day that the temps are nice which at the moment is most days.
For the sick tortoise I have been force feeding baby food carrots mixed with smart water and vitamin and mineral powder-(tortoise Nutrition Powder from Carolina pet supplies in the US)
I do get small amounts into the tortoise every other day but I may try every day.
Yesterday I added some acidophilis powder to the force feed too.
The tortoise was given a dose of flagyl last Saturday to rule out protozoa.
My local vet isn't experienced with reptiles at all. I would not go to a vet in Toronto as I am in Manitoba which is 28 hours away.
There are more specialist vets about 5 hours from me.
There is very little waste coming from the tortoise, I noticed a few fragments of something in the water yesterday but nothing much and nothing resembling normal poop. I did wonder if there was a blockage and have an IV tube I could do an enema with but I can't do it as the tortoise tucks its tail in so much I have no way of safely doing it. The vet showed me how to do this on slightly bigger Hermanns babies a while back but they were a lot easier being larger.
The foods offered include shaved opuntia cacti pads,dandelion, sow thistle, mustard leaf, clovers, portulaca, grass, rose petals, honeysuckle flowers.

One of the most worrying signs with this baby is the plastron.Obviously pancakes are soft shelled but this one is a lot softer than the other 2 and it looks distorted sometimes, like its been twisted and it doesn't regain its proper form easily.(sometimes sunken too)
I have been giving long soaks in warm water too. The tortoise will occasionally eat a clover leaf but just doesn't seem to have the energy to eat enough by itself.

I don't have cod liver oil but can get some. I do have some fish oil tablets here though that I can open up a capsule of and drip some in-perhaps its similar?
I think the carrot will be helping vit A and the sunshine vit D so perhaps I need some more of these nutrients?

I appreciate your help and Janes help too.
Please let me know if I can do anything else to help this baby.


Re: Sick Pancake baby
Posted: 28/07/2012 by belliana

Yesterday just after force feeding the pancake , it pooped in the soak water.This has been the first poop in over a week or so.
I assume this is a good sign and must mean that the digestion process is still functioning.
I will continue to force feed daily and hope he or she picks up.
The shell looked a little better and less sunken yesterday too.Perhaps it needed more food and water?


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