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Horsfield has stopped eating
Posted: 27/07/2011 by jond123

My 3 1/2 yr old Horsfield has stopped eating. I've had her for 18 months and have had no serious worries with her. She's stopped eating befor but this has been cured by warm baths, when she then passes a "bit of a build up". I keep her in a tortoise tabel with heat lamp and uv during the winter, and just a heat lamp during spring/summer as she goes out in a run during warm dry weather, and has access to clover dandelions and other vegetation(not buttercups). Her eyes were initially puffy which made me think of vita deficiency and so I took her to a vet who thought the same may be true. I'm not convinced that this is the case, as her eyes are bright and clear when she has them open. She's never eaten carrots through choice, and when she's inside she eats cabbage,little gem,pak choi,watercress,chard and dandelions(especially the flowers) as well as having pellets as a supplement, and cuttlefish n the run. I know pellets aren't recommended, but she only has them there as  a "sideorder" and shows no preference for them. I've tried everything to stimulate her to eat but nothing seems to interest her apart from her bedding(aspen) which I removed to try to get her to eat what's in front of her. She's still rehyrating through several warm baths a day and is active, for brief periods, but if anyones got any ideas as to how to stimulate her appetite, I'd be grateful.

Many thanks



Re: Horsfield has stopped eating
Posted: 28/07/2011 by tortoise7

Hi Jon and Click and drag me down to the editor

Is your vet a tortoise specialist? I think to diagnosis Vit A deficency a blood test would need to be done. It is quite dangerous to give Vit A injections if they are not needed, so I would not go down that road if it is offered until it is confirmed. Vionate provides a safe level of Vit A, you just dust it on the food like you do nutrabol. Is there anything in the pen that cause irration to the eyes, check the lighting.
Regarding the eating, what are your temps like and is it very warm where you are, I I ask because Horsfields aestivate (A state of dormancy) in the summer, is she burrowing down?
In the summer months when the weeds are in abundance I would feed her lots of weeds, and keep the shop brought ones until I had to bulk out in winter months. Does she like cucumber? if she does then you could wipe her food with it to get her tempted, have you tried hand feeding? I know you have to be careful they don't start to get dependant on being hand fed but it could just get her kick started. I think if you have tried all of this and she looses weight, then you need to get her checked out, see a list of torty vets on the left

Re: Horsfield has stopped eating
Posted: 28/07/2011 by jond123

Many thanks for the information and advice. The vet wasn't a herp specialist but was aware of the risks of injecting, I wouldnt of let her do it even if she advised it, as I'd read about the associated problems. I wasn't aware until today, that her behaviour is quite normal for a horsfield so am quite relieved about that, and I've removed the aspen and turned off the heatlamp and am using a non lighting bulb(usually used for young chicks) to provide warmth. Her eyes seem much better and she did eat some veg this morning. She's still passing faeces and responds well to 2  or 3 warm baths a day,becoming quite active. I think that she's much better and may well have just been acting normally for a Horsfield as she has been trying to burrow,but I'm definitely going to take the advice recieved and start dusting her food with Vionate,just to be sure. She ignores cucumber and isn't keen on carrots but other than that she's not too fussy. I'll continue to feed weeds while they're available and use other feed during winter.

Many thanks for the advice, you've been a big help.


Re: Horsfield has stopped eating
Posted: 29/07/2011 by tortoise7

Hi Jon

Really pleased she is Ok, always worrying when they act differently because we don't know what is going on under that shell. Anyway glad I was helpful and things look better


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