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Not eating
Posted: 14/08/2009 by milly

Hi everyone,

I had my tortoise for my 2nd birthday that was 41 years ago! obviously since then I've left home. My dad has looked after her since but last year he decided that he couldn't look after her aswell as he had, so she came south to live with me last July. She hibernated well which I was relieved about and ate very well up until middle of June and since then I've had problems. She does not seen interested in food at all, normally she eats dandelions, sedum, clover etc but all I can get into her now is the odd bite of apple. She seems intent on roaming around the garden looking for something, what I don't know. Could this be weather connected or we thought it might be mating season and she's looking for a mate and not food. I really don't know any help please. I've been bathing her every day for the last week as I was worried about dehydration. Her skin is flaky and dry on back legs and neck and shell not as shiny as usual. Thank you 

Re: Not eating
Posted: 14/08/2009 by tpgAli

Hi,


firstly, what species is your tortoise? I have a few of my horsfields that have stopped feeding and ready for "wind down" already. However, horsfields are known for slowing down earlier so it isnt always the case with other species. As you havent any males this wont be a case of her being gravid so you need to rule out other things by checking she is healthy. Are her eyes clear and bright, is her mouth nice and pink and not yellow, are her poo's solid, is her nose dry? Sorry for all the questions but its better to rule these out.


Ali

Re: Not eating
Posted: 15/08/2009 by milly

Hi Ali

Thanks for your reply, I was told a long time ago that she is a spur thigh tortoise. Her eyes are bright and clear and mouth and tongue are pink. I've not seen a poo for quite a few days, but if she's not eating would that tie in. Normally she starts wanting to start winding down for hibernation October time depending on weather. I'm concerned that after eating really well in spring and early summer that she is going to loose weight and not put enough back on, where she is not eating and not be ready for hibernation. Is it worth a visit to the vet for a check up? or is there anything else I could try.  Milly

Re: Not eating
Posted: 15/08/2009 by tpgAli

Hi Milly,

If you are worried about her then it might be worth a visit to the vets just to put your mind at ease. I always say if they are not fit and healthy in August then DONT hibernate but it sounds like she is just being stubburn, keep an eye on her weight and check she isnt losing lots, try feeding her favorite food and if this doesnt work then maybe the vets is the best bet just to rule any illness out.

Good luck and please keep us informed on how you get on.

Ali

Re: Not eating
Posted: 19/08/2009 by milly

Hi,

Thanks for reply Ali,

I took Tommie to vet yesterday. He said that at this time of year its normally 'lady' problems. He whisked her off for xray and ultrasound which showed that she has a number of large yolks inside which means there is not enough room for her to eat all a bit compacted inside. He is going to do an ultrasound next week to see if these yolks have grown or regressed. If regressed he will leave her alone, however if they have grown there were a number of options. This is where it got scary. He spoke about torts that don't put shell on eggs and try to lay causing infections, getting egg bound etc and he suggested an operation where they take it all away and very expensive 500 plus risks with anaesthetic. I've not slept worrying. I've got a couple of questions:  Should I leave her alone and hope the eggs/yolks shrink and re-absorb and could this have been happening every year, just never noticed before?

Should I encourage her to lay by putting out sand and making an area or could this make things worse.

Sorry I'm in real panic, love my tortoise, never been to vet with her in 40 years and now don't know what to do. Vet did say that otherwise she is fit and healthy. Looking forward to your replies. Thanks Milly

 

Re: Not eating
Posted: 19/08/2009 by VivTPG

Hi Milly, Ali or Arlene will be online later they have more experience than me regarding egg laying, I have flagged your question up to them. Could you tell me if your vet is a tort specialist is he on our list? If we cant answer you, we may put the question to Kevin the vet that helps us out.

Regards Vivienne 

Re: Not eating
Posted: 19/08/2009 by milly

Hi Vivienne,

Thanks for replying. Yes the vet I visited is on the list. He is a reptile specialist and deals with a lot of torts. He was saying that he has seen a lot of torts since June with the same problem, wanting to lay eggs. I've just been watching Tommie in the garden digging in some loose earth, she's stopped now. I'm not sure whether that is egg laying behaviour. Good news today is that she has eaten some dandelions and lettuce, so relieved at that.  Thanks again Milly

Re: Not eating
Posted: 19/08/2009 by VivTPG

Hi Milly, it does sound as though your vet is on the ball!  What area do you live in?  Arlene has emailed your query to Kevin so hopefully he can give some advice too.

You could make her an 'egg laying' area, dig an area of soil over and add plenty of play sand so that its nice and loose, make sure it is a sunny spot, add boiling water to warm the soil up, once its cooled (but still warm) let her explore the area and see if she seems interested in digging.

Vivienne

Re: Not eating
Posted: 19/08/2009 by milly

Thanks Vivienne,

We're in Hampshire. We've never given her calcium supplements, cuttlefish or eggshells which I've noticed other people do on the website, really concerned that if this is whats happening that she may have problems. I'm going to dig over the area in which I saw her digging earlier and mix in some of the kid's sand and see what happens tomorrow. Its getting so late in the year, is this the normal time for egg laying and why now after 40 odd years?  Thanks for all your help, it will be interesting to hear what Kevin has to say.  Milly

Re: Not eating
Posted: 19/08/2009 by tpgarlene

Hi Millie

We have heard back from Kevin and he says it sounds like a possible case of follicular stasis and the best thing to do is to follow your own vets advice, he is happy for your vet to contact him for input if they feel the need, but he is unable to comment in detail without their permission.  Your tortoise will need to be kept out of hibernation this winter if she has surgery, or if the vet has concerns over her health.

I have found a link here from the British Chelonia Group which gives some information and photos,

http://www.britishcheloniagroup.org.uk/vetscorner/stasis.htm

but basically this is a condition which seems to affect older, lone female tortoises.  I will apologise here if I dont explain this fully and accurately, but as I understand it, normally, follicles are produced on the ovaries, and are then released in batches, at which point the shells are added.  If conditions are right, the eggs will then be laid.  In follicular stasis, the ovaries seem to go into overdrive and produce lots of follicles, which dont get released, instead building up on the ovaries, and the eggs never get laid.  If there are no shelled eggs, providing an egg laying area wont help Im afraid - I know of another TPG member whose tortoise had the same condition and had to have a hysterectomy earlier this year, she has made a full recovery, and is a much happier tortoise.

I have PM'd you, I live in Hampshire too, and I wonder if we have the same vet - if so, you are in excellent hands,

all the best, and please keep us posted

Arlene TPG

Re: Not eating
Posted: 19/08/2009 by milly

Thank you to everyone,

Your help and advice has been very reassuring. I'll let you know how we get on over the next few days and I'll know more when Tommie has her unltrasound next week. I'll try not to get too worried till then. 

Milly

Re: Not eating
Posted: 25/08/2009 by milly

Hi everyone,

Just to give you an update on Tommie. We saw the vet today and the ultrasound has shown that the follicles have grown and she has produced more. He said there is no other option but to operate asap, so she is going in on thursday to have a hysterectomy. We're all worried sick because of all the risks with surgery and recovery afterwards but there is a chance she could die if we don't.  I'll let you all know how the op goes.

Milly

Re: Not eating
Posted: 25/08/2009 by tpgarlene

Hi Millie

Im so sorry that it wasnt better news following the ultrasound.  We are all keeping everything crossed for Tommie, and will be thinking about you all on Thurs,

all the best

Arlene

Re: Not eating
Posted: 16/09/2009 by VivTPG

Hi, I was wondering if there was any news on Tommie?

Regards VivienneClick and drag me down to the editor

 

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