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Tortoise Dragging it's back legs
Posted: 20/10/2014 by jared

Hi There,

Could anyone please help. My tortoise which is around 5 years old was recently picked up by my dog and since then has been dragging its back legs when it walks.

Before that it was perfectly fine. I have read about instances where this has happened and can take up to 2 months to come right. I have also read about occurrences like this related to poor calcium intake and UVB lighting.

My tortoise is relatively new to me, as I took it over from a friend about 3 months ago.

Please could someone help share some information regarding this issue. I live in South Africa and as such don't really have access to proficient wildlife vets.

Re: Tortoise Dragging it's back legs
Posted: 20/10/2014 by Tom

Hello Jared,

Was the 'shell' punctured when the dog picked it up ? If so & a vet is unavailable, see if a medical centre will give you a small amount of iodine/povidine solution, or similar. 
Use this daily on the area to prevent infection.

For calcium - scrape a bit of chalk onto it's food & make sure it's the correct food.
The best source of uvb is free, but take care it can retreat to shade, to thermoregulate.

Good luck,

Re: Tortoise Dragging it's back legs
Posted: 21/10/2014 by jared

Hi Tom,

Thank you for you advise. His shell did have a tiny puncture hole (about 1mm deep) which we are now treating with a weak iodine solution for infection.

He does get a lot of direct sun during the day (if he chooses to bask in it) and we do have a calcium supplement which we sprinkle on his food.

Is this a normal occurrence? And what is it related too?

It basically coincided immediately with the "attack".

Re: Tortoise Dragging it's back legs
Posted: 21/10/2014 by Tom

It's not normal Jared, it could be related to the wound, or to the way the previous owner kept it.

You are doing the right things, so let's hope he improves. 

Best wishes,


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