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Sick Hatchling Please Help

Discussion in 'Tortoise Health' started by turtlepiano, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. turtlepiano

    turtlepiano New Member

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    Hi there. It's been a while since I've posted on here. I have had a happy and healthy adult sulcata for 5 years now. I bought my wife a Hatchling for Christmas. I will attach a picture of his enclosure. His sunspot is a consistent 95 degrees and we spray the coconut with water for moisture once a day.

    He's been diagnosed with a respiratory infection and eye infection. Our vet gave us antibiotic injections and antibiotic eye drops. At first we credited his lack of action and mobility to the shots wearing him out but now I'm worried the antibiotics are slowly killing him. The injections are every other day and the day of his injections he seems better until he gets the injection. Also, his eyes have only opened when we soak him and put in his drops but stay shut otherwise. He has three injections left but is getting consistently worse. Today during his soak he pushed out like he wanted to poop but what came out looked like green mucous. I want to stop the shots and see if he gets better on his own but the vet wants us to finish the cycle and make an appointment after it is completed.

    I want to say that we love our vet and she has helped us tremendously nurse our adult sulcata back to health after we adopted him. Any advise would be much appreciated. See enclosure photo below as I know these illnesses crop up from poor environment. ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1484069299.765655.jpg
  2. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

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    Hi Trent, and welcome back!!

    I must say your habitat looks rather bare. I would push the hiding place back into a corner, replace the food dish with a piece of broken cement or tile, replace the waterer with a clay plant saucer, add a few plants either real or fake and cover the whole thing to keep in the warm, moist air and keep out the cooler house air.

    When we have a bug, our bodies shoot our temperature up to kill the bug. When a tortoise has a bug, we have to increase the temperature in his habitat to help him fight off the bug. So covering the tank and raising the overall temperature in the tank to 85F degrees will help him immensely. You may need to add a 100 watt Ceramic Heat Emitter (CHE) over the dark end and keep it on 24/7.

    I'm of two schools about the drugs. On the one hand, I'd like to tell you to stop administering the antibiotic, but on the other hand, it's always good to finish the whole regimen. If it were my tortoise, I would stop the drug, but I've had a lot more experience with sick tortoises than you have. Did the vet take a smear and look at it under the 'scope to know for sure that the tortoise has a R.I.?
  3. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

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    Oh, and, I forgot to say - you need to soak this baby in warm water daily for at least 30 minutes to help flush out his system and to help get his eyes open. I use a small bowl that will fit back into the tank and that he can't climb out of, to keep it warm.
  4. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    The enclosure needs to be closed. With the basking temp 95-100 and the rest of the enclosure 80 with humidity of 80% which you can not get with spraying only once a day. Also the enclosure can't be alwarm enough with only one heat source so high up. Put a top on the enclosure add a ceramic heat emitter for added heat and to also hold in humidity. I have never had a sick tort so I can't help you on whether to stop the injections or not. Get the enclosure correct before you do anything and while he is sick make the over all temp 85
    What is the injection? @Yvonne G may know more about the injection. I do know that a lot of vets do more harm then good with sick torts.
  5. turtlepiano

    turtlepiano New Member

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    Thank you both. And I very much appreciate your contributions to the forum. I will get on the improvements to the habitat. The eye drops are ciprofloxacin and the injections are enrofloxacin. I read you both advising in another thread to do soaks with 50% water to 50% gerber carrot baby food. His eyes are not staying open and he has not been eating. He tries but missed the food. Would you advise the gerber soak? Also, I was wondering what symptoms to look for when the tortoise is too far gone or if you usually have success bringing them back to health. It's been 8 days now with a consistent downward trend. He still walks around a bit and like I said tries to eat. He's active still during his soaks. Now that I have a new strategy I am excited but trying to temper my optimism. Thank you again.
  6. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

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    I would stop the eye drops, and the other is Baytril. It's a pretty harsh antibiotic and it stings like crazy. I would ask your vet if you can change it from injections to oral. Baytril can be given orally. Also, it might work better if you dilute it 9 parts sterile saline to 1 part Baytril (enrofloxacin) and squirt it firmly into his nostrils. Squirt like you;re trying to push something through the nostril, not feebly like you're trying to put it in the nose. Personally, I would not give a baby tortoise Baytril. It's very strong and harsh.

    You can use the baby food soaks instead of the eye drops, and you should see improvement (eyes staying open) in 3 days.

    When a tortoise is pretty far gone, he is very immobile and stays hiding all the time.
  7. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    Sorry to hear the bad news. In looking at your enclosure, I only see one bulb. What type is it? What is the basking temperature under it? What are you doing for night heat?

    Here is the care info for suclatas:
    http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-sulcata-or-leopard-version-2-0.79895/
    http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/beginner-mistakes.45180/
    http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/for-those-who-have-a-young-sulcata.76744/

    Perhaps after reading about all the heating and lighting in those threads, you'll see what is different in your enclosure and needs to be changed.

    RI's are usually caused by low temperatures. Most people don't keep this species warm enough and its especially critical with babies. Treating the symptoms of a RI, without discovering and correcting the cause of the problem, is usually futile and unsuccessful.

    Another possible factor is that the majority of breeders start this species all wrong after hatching. It sets the new owner up for failure weeks or months down the road. Check this out and see if any of it rings a bell: http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/hatchling-failure-syndrome.23493/

    I hope we can help.
  8. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

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    And taking another look at your picture, that light is pretty high. I doubt it's doing much good down at baby tortoise level.
  9. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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    Watching and waiting and hoping he will recover! Thank you for your good efforts!
  10. mark1

    mark1 Well-Known Member

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    my thought would be is the dose correct , and I wasn't overdosing him ? there are some vets here could correct me if i'm wrong , while I don't know how big your hatchling is , but a dose for a 40 gram turtle I believe would be less than a drop , I think like 1/3rd of a drop , would almost looks like an empty 1ml syringe , you couldn't be sure you even injected anything ..... and I agree with Yvonne , baytril is a harsh antibiotic , it's also been used a lot and for a long time , I would think there has to be a number of resistant bacteria in reptiles by now ..... I've seen good results with fortaz , it appears less painful , and the dose is about double the baytril dose
    Yvonne G likes this.
  11. turtlepiano

    turtlepiano New Member

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    Hi everyone. Thank you for your help and concerns. Things have been trending up a tiny bit. His eyes are slightly opening and blinking. He is more alert. When he rests his head is resting like a normal tortoise when before it was laying on the ground. I've made improvements to the enclosure. I will attach a photo. I will also attach a photo of the antibiotic injection. It is .05 ml every other day. We have 2 injections left. I added the ceramic heat bulb to keep on 24/7 to maintain internal heat. The uvb bulb is 150 watt and keeps the basking temp at 105 degrees during the day. I also added a couple plants and a stone to sun on along with a stone for his food. I'm soaking the log daily to add moisture and watering the two live plants along with spraying the bedding. I am keeping the screen on to cover the enclosure but I'm wondering if I should put a towel on top away from the ceramic bulb? Thank you all again and I'm hoping squints can pull through.
    Kenno, TammyJ and Kasia like this.
  12. turtlepiano

    turtlepiano New Member

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    Oh and the uvb bulb I bought when our adult tortoise was recovering from a scorpion sting. I do. It remember the brand but it came highly recommended by our vet and the reptile store. I only used it for a couple weeks. It is keeping the basking temperature at the high level we are looking for while he is sick.
  13. turtlepiano

    turtlepiano New Member

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  14. turtlepiano

    turtlepiano New Member

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  15. turtlepiano

    turtlepiano New Member

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    Plants are aloe and Christmas cactus.
  16. mark1

    mark1 Well-Known Member

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    it very well may be correct , depends on the size of your tortoise ...... i just mentioned it so you'd be aware how small of a dose it is , i've known folks to give .5 ml for .05 ml ......... when I think hatchling to me it's 20-30 grams , you have a sulcata i'm sure they are much bigger hatchlings than anything I've had , and hatchling is a subjective term no matter what species your talking about ........... for one of my hatchlings .05ml would be a pretty substantial overdose , that looks like a dose for at least 4-5 ounce turtle ........ glad to hear your tortoise is acting better ....
  17. turtlepiano

    turtlepiano New Member

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    My hatchling is 24 grams
  18. mark1

    mark1 Well-Known Member

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    maybe the vet diluted it with saline .... as far as 2.27% , i'm pretty sure that's a hefty dose for a 24gram turtle ........... i think baytril is like 10mg/kg ...... could be why he looks better before the shot , and then seems to recover from the shot ..........not questioning your vet , but it's different than my experience , i've treated 25-30 gram hatchlings with fortaz , which i believe is double the dose of baytril , and the dose is literally a drop ......
  19. turtlepiano

    turtlepiano New Member

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    Do you think I should stop giving him the shots? Or maybe push out say, 80-90% of the antibiotic before injecting him? I have 2 shots left.
  20. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

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    Only YOU can make the decision to stop following your vet's advice. Mark has made a very good point.
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