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horsefield brown patchy tongue HELP!
Posted: 15/04/2013 by loz1981

I recently rescued a 2 year old male Horsefield tortoise, called Vitali, who was fed purely on pellets until 2 weeks prior to me getting him, where they added iceburg lettuce to his diet.  No supplements were given and he lived in a viv with bark chippings.  He used to have his nails clipped and they also filed his beak down - IDIOTS!

Anyway, since getting him 8 weeks ago, he is now full time on fresh home grown weed diet (shelled warriors do good offers on weed seed).  I give Nutrobal every other day and calcium daily. He lives with my 18month old rescue tortoise Smirnoff.  (his brother Dimitri died of renal failure not long after we rescued them). 

I have noticed over the last 24 hours that Vitali has slightly thicker saliva than normal and he has brown patches on his tongue.  He does not have creamy matter in his mouth so I dont think its mouth rot, but I cannot identify the issue so far.  He eats, drinks lots and is active.  He poos twice per day and drinks quite a bit at least once per day.  Smirnoff does the same but as he is still anorexic (only 65g at almost 2 years) I cant see in his mouth quite as well as Vitali who is 119g.

I have a 160w Powersun lamp which is 12% UVA & B, self ballasted and is 25 degrees at cool end of the tort table and 34 degrees at hot end, with a slightly raised area directly under the lamp for a hot basking spot of 38degrees.  I have a very good vet locally who is a tort specialist.  He recently gave eye drops because Vitali had swolen inner lids and weepy eyes when we bought him.  This has helped drastically but not totally cured him.  It may be herpes im thinking.

Does anyone know whether Vitali is sick or is the brown spots a common thing?  I will not hesitate to take him to the vets if there is the slightest doubt, but I thought I would ask you very knowledgable tort owners before spending a fortune in case im over reacting!  I have tried to get pictures but it aint that easy on a small tort!  His mouth is a pale pink as normal, its just his tongue that has brown spots.  I did hand feed him last night and he drank and they seemed to all but disappear, but the saliva was a little thick.  This is clear though.

Any help would be greatly appreciated, even if its to tell me im being a mother hen!  Thank you all!  Loz

Re: horsefield brown patchy tongue HELP!
Posted: 15/04/2013 by Tom

Re: horsefield brown patchy tongue HELP!
Posted: 15/04/2013 by Tom

Hello Loz,
Firstly the vet should not charge "a fortune," just to take a look & prescribe eye drops. Don't be afraid to ask for a breakdown of costs. The brown spots may be stains - the result of chewing bits of bark. You say it's eating well & active. I'd tend to leave it a few days & monitor it. Don't over handle it. Ideally it should have been quarantined, but it's a bit late now. You've got the 'vet' option available. Let us know what happens please.
Regards
Tom.

Re: horsefield brown patchy tongue HELP!
Posted: 15/04/2013 by Tom

I forgot to add, you need to raise your uv lamp. Your temps are far too high. Try raising it by 4cms & let us know the temp at the same 3 places.
Tom

Re: horsefield brown patchy tongue HELP!
Posted: 16/04/2013 by loz1981

Hiya

Thanks for the response.  I will monitor him for a few days.  I did think the temps were too high but the vet said it should be 40degrees in the basking spot, 36degrees in the warm end and 28 degrees at the cool end!  He also said I needed a really humid area like wet moss under a cloche so the torts could go in there to keep hydrated.  I have not done this bit as I did not think he was correct at all on the point because Horsefields are not tropical tortoises, therefore the habitat is quite arid.  They bathe once a day in their pool which is in the run so I know they are well hydrated. 

I used to have temps of 28-30 degrees at hot end and 21 at cool end but he said I was making them cold and could make them ill.  They are kept indoors unless the weather is nice and warm.  I have had them out once this year.  I have a half glazed half mesh greenhouse for them which is well planted and plenty of things to climb and dig as well as a cold frame set up in the corner in case temps drop a little.  As they are still young I dont want to let them get too cold! 

FYI, the vet charges 21 for a consultation without any treatment.  Dimitri was only the size of a golf ball before he died and I was charged 37 initial consultation (night rate), then 33 per day critical care and then the price of the euthanasia because they said he was too far gone with renal failure & MBD.  It cost me 42 to have him look at Vitali and give me the eye drops, hence why I thought I would ask here before trooping down to the vets in case it was nothing to worry about!  I dont begrudge the money, and when it comes to all my animals there is no expense spared, but its nice to be able to save a few quid where I can.

Thanks again, will keep you posted. 

Re: horsefield brown patchy tongue HELP!
Posted: 16/04/2013 by loz1981

I have moved the lamp and am getting a cool end temperature of 21 degrees (as prior to changing to this lamp on vet advice) and have a hot end temp of 28 degrees, and directly under the basking lamp is 32 degrees.  The cool end humidity is at 40% and the hot end at 27% but this varies depending on if I water the substrate a little to stop it being quite so dusty for them and to allow them to dig into it.  It is generally very low humidity in the hot end as you would expect but never more than about 50% in the cool end.

An update on Vitali: He appears to have lost his spots!  I checked his mouth this morning and again just now and he is back to pink with no brown spots so it must have been something he ate I guess.  I will keep my eye on him just in case.  Thanks for your help!

Re: horsefield brown patchy tongue HELP!
Posted: 16/04/2013 by Tom

Glad to hear all seems well. 40 C at basking spot - so much for a "specialist" vet.!! I take it the heat/ light is turned off at night, 10 hrs a day is plenty. Good weather at last, so put them in their outside set-up for a few hours a day & steadily increase it.
Best wishes
Tom

 

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