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Not eating
Posted: 26/08/2009 by sian

Hi, our tortoise is about 40 yrs old and this season, after waking from hibernation has not been 100%.  He has only had a handful of days this Summer of his usual active behaviour in the garden ( he lives outside and has his own house). He is sunbathing daily and does move during the day but lacks energy.

He has also stopped eating and when he does he is very fussy! In the last 3 days he has eaten 2 dandilion flowers and 1/2 a small dandilion leaf. Anything else I offer he walks away from. we took him to the vet ( not on your list) yesterday and they gave him an anabolic steroid injection and told us to bring him back to another vet who specialises in exotic vets in a few days if he is still not eating.

Earlier on in the summer he had some days of eating lots of dandilion leaves, flowers, clover, rocket and occasional fruit & cucumber but in the last month I would estimate he has eaten very little 3 times a week, and the other days nothing.

He has put on weight from hibernation, he was 519g and is now 546g ( he is a minature tortoise, from the med but not sure the species name).

He is a much loved family pet and any advice to try and get him to eat or ideas of what could be wrong would be gratefully received!

Thanks

Sian

Re: Not eating
Posted: 26/08/2009 by TPGDarren

Hi Sian,

Have you tried bathing him in a bowl of warm water before offering food?

Dehydration can cause loss of apetite. Bathing in warm water will also raise his body temperature and make him mare actie and more likely to eat.

Has he access to a greenhouse or a heat lamp to enable him to raise his body temperature when the days aren't so warm at all?

Have you any photos you could share please?:-)

HTH
Darren

Re: Not eating
Posted: 26/08/2009 by sian

Hi Darren, thanks for replying so promptly. I did bathe him a few days ago but there was no change, will try and again and for longer, he was very eager to get out. He does have access to water by his house but has shown no interest in it.

No, we don't have a greenhouse or heatlamp for him, he has lived outdoors from hibernation ( after a few nights in when he first wakes) for as long as the family have had him ( 35 years). Yesterday was very warm here and his shell was nice and warm to touch but still no interest. When he has eaten recently the only thing I could get him to eat was a dandilion flower which is his favourtite, so I have been searching around for them to tempt him!

I will take a picture of him and upload it tomorrow

Thanks Sian

 

Re: Not eating
Posted: 26/08/2009 by sian

Found an old picture of Freddy. Not sure what species he is. He looks just the same now. He does not have a runny nose or any other visible symptoms, only lack of appetite and not as energetic as last Summer

Sian

Re: Not eating
Posted: 27/08/2009 by sian

Hi Again, I tried him with a bath today, outside it is lovely and hot today and he is quite active, walking around. Tried tempting him with a variety of foods, dandilion leaves, flowers, and some broccoli. He dived straight into the broccoli as if he was really hungry, but only ate one little piece and then ignored all the food. This has been the pattern I have noticed, could he have something blocking his thoat or a sore throat which is hurting when he eats so he gives up after one bite??

Sian

Re: Not eating
Posted: 31/08/2009 by TPGDarren

Hi Sian,

Sorry for the delay in replying.

It might be worth getting him checked at the vets (stool sample) - though it's difficult to judg this time of year as a tortoise's body-clock starts to kich in and they atart to become less active.

How's his weight?

D

Re: Not eating
Posted: 31/08/2009 by sian

Hi Darren, took him to the vet again Friday and she looked in his mouth and said he has an infection , and also slight discharge from the eye. Anyway she advised to keep him inside ( he is always outside apart from hibernation) and warm, bathe him twice a day ; he had one injection of antibiotics on Friday, together with painkiller. He is having a further shot on Tues and then Friday. He weighed 535g on Friday so a drop from the highest in early Aug of 545g.

He is going mad inside as so used to having full access to the garden .. I will let you know the outcome, hopefully he will start eating soon as his mouth is obviously sore and it is hurting him to eat.

She mentioned that if the antibiotics don't work she will have a test done for herpes, not sure where he would have caught this from though as he has been with the family for 35 years and not mixed with other tortoises.

She also mentioned that if he still is not eating she may have to insert a tube into the side of his thoat so we can feed him by syringe, this thought is really upsetting me so all fingers crossed that he starts eating and infection clears up.

Sian

Re: Not eating
Posted: 31/08/2009 by TPGDarren

Hi Sian,

Herpes can be carried by a tortoise for decades before a tortoise shows any symptoms - usually brought on if a tortoise is run-down or stress. I've seen quite a few cases recently where vetsaren't really sure and so have diagnosed a tortoise with having Herpes, so I wouldn't worry too much.
Did they take a stool sample to check for worms. A heavy infestation can knock an immune system and make an animal feel run-down - it's a simple test.
May I ask who your vet is please?

Regards
Darren

Re: Not eating
Posted: 01/09/2009 by sian

Hi Darren,

He has not been to the toilet other than a wee, probably because he has hardly eaten in the last week so have been unable to take in a sample. She did ask me to and also asked whether he had been wormed ( answer no).

About to take him for his second antibiotic injection, vet is Barbara at Park Vet Group practice in Cardiff. She seems to be very knowledgable, and feel confident with her.

Really hopes he recovers as we love him so much

Regards

Sian

 

Re: Not eating
Posted: 02/09/2009 by TPGDarren

Hi Sian,

Fingers crossed - please let us knopw how he gets on.

Fingers crossed
TC
Darren

Re: Not eating
Posted: 03/09/2009 by sian

Hi darren, he has not eaten at all since Monday, and has his final antobiotic injection tomorrow. The Vet also wants to insert a tube in the side of his throat tomorrow so we can feed him straight into his stomach. Is this normal practice, and does it generally work in bring up the weight and helping them regain their health?

 I hate the thought of him being in pain from this but the thought of him starving to death is too brutal to imagine.  The Vet said his mouth was no better on Tuesday and I have doubts it is any better tomorow when he goes, as he seems no different.

Sian

Re: Not eating
Posted: 05/09/2009 by TPGDarren

Hi Sian

Sorry I've not got back to you earlier, had a busy few days and have been at an RSPCA event today.

It is quite normal to tube-feed a tortoise if there is significant weight loss, though the cause of the weight loss would still need to be found and would be of concern.

Have they suggested blood tests at all?

D


Re: Not eating
Posted: 06/09/2009 by sian

Hi Darren, no problems at all

yes they are going to do a blood test during the op and also test for herpes. Feel that this should hopefully give us some answers or at least eliminate any issues, and the tube feeding should help him improve his health while we are trying to get things under control.

I will let you know how things go and if anything is found out.

Sian

Re: Not eating
Posted: 08/09/2009 by TPGDarren

Good Luck with him Sian:-)

Re: Not eating
Posted: 09/09/2009 by sian

Hi Darren, good news, he has started eating. He was looking for food on Monday and ate properly for the first time in a few weeks. Went to the Vet yesterday as planned and she agreed that no need to do the tube feeding as signs were good if he started to eat. I did ask for the blood and herpes test to be done just so we get a better idea of his health, hopefully they will not show anything sinister

Anyway, today is glorious here and he is outside, having a good sunbathe and marathon walk, and better news is that I have put food for him 3 times today and he has eaten it all.. bless him he must be so hungry

Thanks for your support, hopefully it will all be upwards from here. Still plan on not hibernating him and keeping him inside for the first time ever over winter. Any tips on what food to give him over winter? I have ordered some seeds from shelled warriors to hopefully grow inside for him.

Sian

Re: Not eating
Posted: 15/09/2009 by VivTPG

Hi Sian, how is Freddy now, is he still eating?  I think you have made the right decision not to hibernate this winter.

Its still possible to get weeds such as plantain and dandies.  You could supplement this with romaine lettuce if you cant get enough weeds, but mix this with weeds as it has no nutritional value on its own.

As you mention have a go at growing some weeds indoors too!

Regards Vivienne

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

Hi Vivienne,

He is doing really well, eating a few times a day and putting him outside in the day as it has been lovely and sunny. He loves being outdoors so the recent good weather has come at the right time. Will be getting the blood test and herpes test results next week so fingers crossed all will come back clear. I have weighed him and he has put on weight so really happy after weeks of worrying!

Thanks

Sian

Re: Not eating
Posted: 17/09/2009 by TPGDarren

That's really good news Sian and I agree if he's not up to scratch you shouldn't hibernate.
Please keep us informed - sorry for getting back to you so late

TC
Darren

 

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