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flaky, shedding skin...help

Discussion in 'General Tortoise Discussion' started by hetivernon, Mar 17, 2008.

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  1. hetivernon

    hetivernon New Member

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    Hi.
    Me and my boyfriend have two baby spur thighed torts and one of them has recently started to lose small particles of his soft skin (mainly around the face and neck). the skin is flaking off as a sunburnt piece of skin would, with seemingly healthy skin underneath. we wondered if anyone else has had a similar issue with their torts, and if so whether this is nothing to worry about, or if we need to look into this further and contact our vet.
    if this is nothing to worry about, and this is a normal circumstance, how did you deal with this? baths, different foods etc?
    many thanks, any replies will be welcome :)
    Heather and John
  2. Crazy1

    Crazy1 New Member

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    My Greeks and My Sulcatas do this I think all Torts do. It is a natural part of the growth process just like most reptiles shed skin. I do nothing. Keep them on a healthy diet in good lighting with good temps, keep them hydrated and they should be fine.
    DO NOT use lotions or oils on them. My personal Thoughts on this issue. I am sure others will answer.
    Oh, and Welcome to the Forum Heather and John
  3. jenrell23

    jenrell23 New Member

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    Ditto to what Robyn said, Do you soak them? If not you should soak them a couple times a week in warm water. And welcome to TFO!!
  4. cvalda

    cvalda New Member

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    Yep this just happens! Some of my bigger Russian girls shed more skin than the others, and a lot of it comes off in their weekly soak. If it's hanging down or whatnot, don't pull it off, just leave it and nature will do as it needs!
  5. susan

    susan New Member

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    Yea when my Dt's were little they shed alot! They looked really silly sometimes:) Their necks were where it looked most obvious to me. And the bath thing is definately important along with always having water available in their enclosure. Ditto to the do not pull at the skin thing, and the don't use any oils or lotions etc. Enjoy your babies!!!! Oh yea and welcome!! I am new to this site too;) Not to tortoises though:)
  6. hetivernon

    hetivernon New Member

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    thanks very much! your replies have put our minds at rest somewhat! we did ring the vet this morning though and they said that it was a vitamin A deficiency and so we should feed them butternut squash along with red peppers and red chillies every day....hmmm
    yeah we bath them at least twice a week but now they are shedding we have started to bathe them every day.
    thanks again, its nice to have a place to ask things that we arent sure about.
    Heather and John
    xxxx
  7. bdoyle

    bdoyle New Member

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    In my experience Vitamin A issues with reptiles in general result in watery eyes and / or yellowing of sensitive skin areas..

    my experience lies with mostly snakes and chameleons though.. so take my opinion with a grain of salt on this.

    Adding those foods to your tortoises diet wont do it any harm, as long as those foods dont become the only thing in the tortoises diet alone. Variety and balance seems to be key with any herbivorous reptile/amphibian
  8. bdoyle

    bdoyle New Member

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    A link from the tortoise trust website lead me to a Provet site in the UK, here is a quick excerpt from their vitamin sheet regarding Vitamin A deficiencies
    -------------------------------------
    Vitamin A deficiency (called Hypovitaminosis A) is extremely common in young aquatic and semi-aquatic turtles and it is usually recognised by opacity of the corneal surface of the eye due to poor epithelial development. The eyelids become inflamed and swollen and the animal may have difficulty breathing with wheezing. Other signs of vitamin A deficiency include :

    *

    Abnormal development with distortion and overgrowth of the horny parts of the mouth
    *

    Thickening of the horny layers of the skin
    *

    Impaired immune function leading to increased susceptibility to infections
    *

    Swelling of the limbs due to fluid accumulation (oedema) because of liver failure

    Correction of diet is important to rectify vitamin A deficiency, dietary supplements can be given and in severe cases vitamin A can be given by injection. However, excessive supplementation can lead to toxicity (called Hypervitaminosis A) which causes a dry skin that sloughs off leaving red raw patches, abnormal bone development and liver enlargement.

    -------------------

    The way you describe your issue, it seems more likely its a natural disposal of old/dead skin, not so much of a health problem related to vitamin deficiencies..

    the last comment about over supplementation , ( Hypervitaminosis A ) .. would lead me to ask.. when this skin is flaking off, is it leaving red sorelooking patches behind? or just newer looking skin?


    Id not be too concerned given the responses given from the very knowledgable people on this board.
  9. Itort

    Itort Active Member

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    Melons are also good source of A. Particully musk and honeydew.
  10. susan

    susan New Member

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    You know Collard greens are full of vitamin A and calcium etc. Look up content online. Also Turnip greens are right up there with collards. My babies grew up on those and still shed and according to Dr. Jenkins there was no vitamin deficiency. But again I am not seeing the "peeling" that your tortoise is doing. San Diego Turtle and Tortoise society have some really great care sheets too:) Good luck:)
  11. hetivernon

    hetivernon New Member

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    hi! thank you so much for all taking the time to reply! we have only started this vitamin A thing today as for the last few days when the skin has been flaking we have assumed as you have told us, that this is just a normal replacement of old skin cells. the skin underneath is perfectly healthy looking, so this would make sense. the only thing im concerned about is a reptile vet being concerned about it...surely he should have recognised that this was a regular condition?
    Heather and John
  12. stells

    stells Guest

    Tortoises are reptiles and they do shed there skin like any other reptiles, it comes away in bits and is perfectly normal. If its not enough vit A then all mine have the same problem. As long as the skin underneath is fresh and healthy looking there is no need for concern its perfectly natural. i'm sorry to say but by overdoing the vit A you could actually do more harm than good, Here is a link showing what could happen if overdosed on Vit A you will have to read down abit but i think it could be worth the read. :)
    http://forums.shelledwarriors.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=3856&highlight=
  13. hetivernon

    hetivernon New Member

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    thank you so much....i will hold off feeding the vit a foods every day then....sounds like you are all right, that this is just a regular shedding issue. i just wonder why the vet told me that though..he has tortoises of his own...surely he should know this?! making me wonder about changing vets!
    x
  14. hetivernon

    hetivernon New Member

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    hi...one more quick question if that is ok....
    for people whose torties shed...how long does it last for before the skin is back to normal and how quickly does it return? eg does it happen the same time every year, or intermittently...?
    any replied would be most appreciated...many thanks
    xxxxx
  15. Crazy1

    Crazy1 New Member

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    Mine shed intermitenly. From the adults to the hatchlings. One note of caution, soaking everyday, as they tend to poo and urinate in the soaks, could cause them to go more often, thus causing them to lose intake without gaining all the nutrients from it. I would increase the time of their soak by like 10 minutes or so rather than the number of days you soak them. IMHO
  16. Crazy1

    Crazy1 New Member

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    stells, I read the link you showed and must say it was a great learning experience. Thanks for that. the pic didn't come threw on this slow computer I will look at pics when I get home. Just wanted to say thanks for the great link and info.
  17. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer Staff Member

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    You would probably notice peeling and flaking skin on your tortoise all throughout its life. But more so when they are babies. This is perfectly normal. The only time you have to worry about it is if the skin under the flake is red and inflamed or raw.

    Yvonne
  18. bdoyle

    bdoyle New Member

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    Yup Agree with the rest here,
    my tortoise has some flaking of skin.

    He was pretty dry looking when i first got him, but now w/ soaking for 10 - 15 min every other day he doesnt look so dry and the shedding skin is gone, and new areas have started to shed a little.. definately no redness.. just looks like fresher skin then the stuff that flakes off.

    I'm still taking my guy into the vet for a stool sample and a general overlook, but thats due to his very low activity levels.

    his appetite is very high. ;)
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