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Loss of Appetite
Posted: 19/08/2012 by Allison

I have an 80 year + Testudo Graeca female tortoise who is normally a good though picky eater.  I have owned her for approximately 30 years and have never had any health concerns about her at all but she seems to have gone off her food over the last few days all she really seems to be interested in is cucumber, I have offered her her usual favorites, rose petals, dandelions, strawberries and romaine lettuce but she just takes a bite or two and leaves the rest. She looks over the top of the fo od and sometimes bites the air above it  as if she cant see it.  She is a garden tortoise and whilst the temperatures are above 11 degrees at night she sleeps in her own tortoise house which is closed at nght and then opened again in the morning, she eventually trundles out about 10 - 1030 and wanders around as the mood takes her. Should I be concerned or is it down to the weather?



Re: Loss of Appetite
Posted: 19/08/2012 by DavidWYork

Hi Alison. How do her eyes look? Any signs of cloudiness or discharge?

If you face her away from the sun and pass your hand close to her eyes does she react at all? I am assuming that she hibernated well and temps never dropped too low causing lens damage. Is her weight up to optimum? It should be at this time of year. My torts are still feeding well (in their cloched area in less than perfect weather) even with all the cloud and rain. They put themselves in their boxes about 10 feet away most nights, but recently they are not rising until around 9.00 am.

If eyes are damaged, then you need a good reptile vet's advice. Do you give vitamin supplements and calcium to your torty?

If you reply to the questions here, it might make it easier for us to make a suggestion. What is your postcode please...someone may know of a good local vet for you to use.

Regards, David nr York.

Re: Loss of Appetite
Posted: 19/08/2012 by Allison

Thank you for yur prompt reply.  Yes I have looked at her eyes and they are quite clear without cloudiness or discharge. Yes she hibernated well and has been eating well until this last few days.  I have never given her any supplements though I have tried her with calcium on her food she would never eat it.  She has a good area of the garden to roam in but even on good days always puts herself to bed anytime after 1400.  When its sunny she parks herself next to the conservatory wall to sok up the sun until she feels warm enough then she generally seeks food. My postcode is SY4.


Re: Loss of Appetite
Posted: 20/08/2012 by DavidWYork

Hi again. If this is only for last few days, I wouldn't be too worried if she is eating a little. However to ensure she has all her requirements met in terms of vitamins and minerals may I suggest you try the following:

  • bring inside and put her under a 60 watt reflector bulb about 25 cm above shell dome.
  • bathe her daily for 5 minutes in luke warm rwater, then towel dry her.
  • buy some Nutrobal supplement (online or a good pet shop)
  • dice up tomatoes and cucumber (or other favourite food) to release lots of smell.
  • offer a small amount of food with a pinch of supplement well mixed in, and watch how she reacts. ensure she is warm before offering food

The water, bright light and warmth should perk her up, and get her feeding. If not post again. Try this daily for a wek, and do not give in. If not feeding after 5 mins, remove all food and try again later. You need to see her eat, and see if there are any mouth/tongue/swallowing issues. Try to see inside the mouth. Tongue and gums should be pink and not gunged up. Any sign o a cheesey layer and you must consult a vet poste haste. Good luck with her. Keep a close eye, warmth and persist with supplements...very lightly dusted, almost none to start with, then  post back. Any worsening situations also get in touch quickly.

Regards, David nr York.

Re: Loss of Appetite
Posted: 20/08/2012 by DavidWYork

Hi again, meant to vet details, I found on another forum for reptiles See below.

Hope they are still going. In any case I would ring them and "touch base" ready for emergencies. Incidentally, anyone with a tortoise should sorce a reliable, accessible vet while torty is in good health, not as things go wrong...sometimes a few hours can make all the difference! ( not lecturing, sorry, just considered advice from a long term torty keeper)

Regards again! David nr York...not the vet called David below.

David Thurston B.Vet.Med, M.R.C.V.S

Green Hollow Veterinary Surgery
School Road
Nr Shrewsbury
Tel: 01939 261216

Re: Loss of Appetite
Posted: 20/08/2012 by Allison

Many thanks for all your advice and I will certainly touch base with the vet.  I bought her in this morning and put her under her lamp, then I gave her a bath and put her out in the sunshine she then had a good tramp around the garden. After an hour or so later I bought her indoors and feed her 4 heaps of fresh dandelions which she demolished with great relish.  She is still turning her nose up at everything else but I feel she is beginning to recover.  I have only recently moved to this area and am very greatful for the vets name and address.  Many thanks.

Re: Loss of Appetite
Posted: 20/08/2012 by DavidWYork

Hi there...torts do take a while to get used to new surroundings! They get used to dierction on sunrise and sunset. This may have some bearing on behaviour and activity.

Good luck, and very best wishes from David nr York/

Re: Loss of Appetite
Posted: 23/08/2012 by wizzasmum

This is my vet and I can recommend him for his common sense approach. He won't bombard you with science or take the 'wood before the trees approach'. I'm not far from you if you fancy a visitor ;)


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