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Giving tortoise medication

Discussion in 'General Tortoise Discussion' started by ashleighnicol, Jun 29, 2010.

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  1. ashleighnicol

    ashleighnicol New Member

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    Does anybody know how to get a very tiny tortoise (about 3.25" long) to eat his coccidia (Albon) and flagellates (flagyl) medication? He is very shy and can pull his head completely into his shell and then cover it with his front legs so it seems impossible to make him do something that he does not want to do. I've tried thinly spreading it on all his favorite foods but he detects it right away and stops eating. Unfortunately, because I live in manhattan, vet prices are absolutely outrageous and I simply cannot afford to take him in to be 'gavaged' everyday.
    I was also wondering if anybody knows the normal amount of activity I should expect in a baby leopard tort? I just got this little guy(or gal) last week and while he seems healthy and has a good appetite, I'm wondering how active these young ones typically are. He is only active for 2-3 hours a day and then spends a good chunk of time time sitting in one spot sleeping (sometimes in the same spot for almost 12 hours and not always his basking spot). Because I am new to tortoise parenting I don't know if this is normal.
  2. George

    George New Member

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    Hello ashleighnicol - when I had give liquid meds to mine, I had a small syringe and had to get one or two drops into their mouth - so I would hold them upwards, which they didn't like and they would stretch and open their mouths to try and pull away from my grip you had to be quick and very careful, it's a two person job really one to hold and one to drop the medicine in their mouth.
    Be careful if doing it by yourself as they move their heads quickly and the meds can get in their eyes. This happened once to me, frankie's eye swelled and went red, alright once rinsed but boy did I cry! anyone would have thought someone died! Think the tortoise was pertified of this wailing women who was holding it and humbling apologetic words lol - good luck!!
  3. ashleighnicol

    ashleighnicol New Member

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    Thanks for the advice! It sounds like you had to deal with the same hassle. How old was frankie at the time?
    I tried once to 'grab' his head before he retracted it because he's so small I'm afraid of breaking his neck. I have also heard that you have to get the syringe pretty far down their throat if you want them to keep it down. If he wasn't so tiny I'd probably try being more aggressive. Do you know if there is a proper way to keep their head from retracting and open their mouth without doing any real harm??
  4. Seiryu

    Seiryu New Member

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    How long have you had him? If just recently (within 2 weeks or so) you can expect lower activity levels because the tortoise is still getting used to you and the enclosure.

    You say he's 3.25" , is it a Pardalis, Pardalis and Babcocki? If Babcocki that puts him over a year old. I'd say least 15 months old, probably more.

    Mine for the first 6-8 months of his life would sleep a lot. But as he got closer to the one year mark he became more active. He's 15 months old now, and only naps a few times a day, otherwise he's out and about. I've never seen him for 12 hours in one spot, not even sleeping at night. Definitely never more than an hour or two during the day.

    Good luck with the medications!
  5. George

    George New Member

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    I don't know of any 'proper' way the way, someone may answer that, I just did what I thought was the best for tort -and me! lol
    I didn't stick any part of the syringe in their mouth, I just dropped a drop and it went down their throat. I tried to get two drops in them so that I knew they had some.
    George hated it, he would charge round his enclosure, checked with vet who said it was the taste and he just doesn't like it!
  6. Laura

    Laura Active Member

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    Does he like bananas? inject the meds Into it and see if that works?
  7. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer Staff Member

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    Hi Ashleigh:

    Welcome to the forum!!

    Take a leaf of romaine lettuce, and cut just a small section of it. Drop the medication on the edge of the leaf, then roll it up tightly into a cylinder. Try to hand feed this to your baby. Hopefully he won't recognize the flavor of the meds. And taking a page from Laura's book, scoop out a bit from the interior of a strawberry (I use a sipping straw for this) then put the meds into the center of the strawberry.

    Getting meds into a very small tortoise is a pretty hard job, but if your vet thinks your tortoise has parasites, its pretty important for you to persevere.
  8. ashleighnicol

    ashleighnicol New Member

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    How long have you had him? If just recently (within 2 weeks or so) you can expect lower activity levels because the tortoise is still getting used to you and the enclosure.

    You say he's 3.25" , is it a Pardalis, Pardalis and Babcocki? If Babcocki that puts him over a year old. I'd say least 15 months old, probably more.

    Mine for the first 6-8 months of his life would sleep a lot. But as he got closer to the one year mark he became more active. He's 15 months old now, and only naps a few times a day, otherwise he's out and about. I've never seen him for 12 hours in one spot, not even sleeping at night. Definitely never more than an hour or two during the day.

    Good luck with the medications!

    I've him for two weeks as of wednesday. He is definitely still adapting; he still gets scared of me easily (and the whole trying to medicate him thing hasn't helped the bonding process).
    Unfortunately the dealer that I got him from is not sure if he/she is a pardalis pardalist or pardalis babcoki. He has a couple vertebral scutes with two dots on them (which is supposedly a sign of being a pardalis pardalis) but not all. There is a good chance that he/she is a mix.As it is he has a very unusual shell pattern with a lot of white. The vet I took him to thought that he was only a few months old; but then again I don't think she specialized in tortoises because she was telling me to put his medication on fruit everyday which is actually bad for leopards (I've consistently read that they should only have fruit once or twice a month so everyday for a week seems like a huge 'no-no').
    He's still not super active. He will intermittently 'run' around his enclosure during the middle of the day and will walk around when I take him outside but still burrows under his hay in one spot for hours and hours at a time. Sometimes I wonder how long he would 'sleep-in' if I didn't wake up him with food and soaking each morning.


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  9. ElfDa

    ElfDa New Member

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    i'm having similar trouble with my little leopard.
    she weighs just 30 grams, and has a runny nose (vet also wants me to worm her, since she was hatched in '09 and is still small).

    she has no idea what to do with banana, aside from run away.

    The vet made the antibiotic slightly fruit flavored, but said that it's still "really bitter!". The fact that Penelope (my tort) loves old dandelion greens makes me think that bitterness really isn't an issue.

    I do know that she haaaaates how cold it is.
    There's no way to force her to open her mouth, BUT, she loves being hand fed. so I just use the old bait-n-switch.
    Offer something nummy and green, let them get a bite, and when they go for the second bite-- squirt! right down the pipe.
    She blinked, looked a little offended, and then continued to nom her greens.

    She's a very friendly tort, though.

    oh! if you don't want to use a rage method-- make sure your hands are nice and warm when you hold your little guy. :)

    Penelope likes to nap in your hands.
    When we got back from the vet, she wouldn't stop pacing until i picked her up, and then kept thrashing, until i cradled her next to my chest, at which point she zonked right out. [​IMG]
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