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Small and sick :(

Discussion in 'Tortoise Health' started by Mooshcat, Jan 8, 2017.

  1. Mooshcat

    Mooshcat New Member

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    My Duma is an 8 year old sulcata. He is VERY small for his age at 1 lb 10 ounces and 8.5 inches. He's on a diet of grass (grazing in the yard when it's not too cold) bok choy, weeds, romaine, and he has had pumpkin puree (a few teaspoons) about 5 times throughout his life. He gets his Herptivite/repti-cal once weekly. His house is kept at 90-95 in his basking spot, and about 70 degrees on the opposing side of the habitat. He has a UVA/UVB light that's on for about 13 hours daily. He will drink from a water dish, and I refill and clean it every other day. He gets soaked once a month, and hates every minute of it.

    We have been trying to fight off a RI for the last three months and, due to my recent move away from the highly-accessible Southern California, I have no good Herp vets around me. I was so desperate I walked into a dog and cat clinic to get his medical records sent up from his old doctor, and his old vet could tell the dog and cat clinic what to give me for him. The dog and cat clinic sent me home with a course of antibiotics which we finished about a month ago, but Duma is getting worse.

    This is his third RI, and he is so small that I becoming increasingly concerned about his overall health. What could be causing this? Am I to blame? I would just like him to live a long, happy, and healthy life.

    20170108_000214.jpg 20170108_000302.jpg
  2. Linhdan Nguyen

    Linhdan Nguyen Well-Known Member

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    Hell
    o!
    So sorry to hear about Duma. Could you take pictures or let us know how you are housing him? does he get soaked? temps in his enclosure? humidity?
  3. Maro2Bear

    Maro2Bear Well-Known Member

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    Greetings and welcome to the Forum.

    Agree with LN, upload a few pix of the enclosure. From a quick look, his substrate looks way too dry and you need to soak him a lot more often.

    @Tom has some very good Sulcata care sheets pinned to the sully tab on this forum. Lighting, heat, humidity and food all need to be taken care of for good health and growth of your Sully. 70 sounds way to cold.

    The fact that you have experienced multiple RI issues tells me your conditions are not right.

    Upload some pix and you will get more input to help!

    Good luck.
    cmac3 likes this.
  4. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    Most of the care info for this species is based on incorrect assumptions about their lives in the wild, and its wrong. This is a tropical species that lives primarily underground in a very hot climate. They thrive in the hot, wet humid, monsoon season over there. Most people do not keep them warm and humid enough, and that appears to be the case with yours.

    Antibiotics and other drugs are meant to deal with the symptoms that you are seeing, but you have not corrected the cause of the symptoms, so the symptoms keep coming back. RI's are usually caused by temps that are too cool. More on that in a minute...

    I also see something odd going on with the mouth. That can be an indicator of metabolic bone disease. If you show us some close up pics of the mouth, we might have some suggestions for that.

    Your tortoise needs to be soaked much more frequently. Every day for babies, and at least two or three times a week for a bigger one like yours. Use a tall sided opaque tub and make the water warm and about 1/3 to 1/2 way up the shell. About 20-30 minutes is enough. 45 minutes won't hurt anything. Keep the water warm for the entire soak. Don't worry about whether or not he "likes" it or "hates" it. Its good for him and he'll live.

    Next, and most important, is your temperatures. They are much too cool. The basking area should be a large area under a flood bulb and it should be around 95-100. The rest of the enclosure should never drop below 80 day or night, and ambient should warm up into the high 80's or low 90's during the day. This is very difficult to do in an open topped enclosure. A large closed chamber is needed, and this will also help keep the humidity up where it needs to be.

    All of this and more is explained here in more detail. Please give these a read and then come back with all your questions.
    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/
  5. Blake m

    Blake m Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    By worse, what is he doing? Much more sluggish, not eating at all, not mirving? As for the medication, please don't allow them to give your tortoise a vitamin shot of any kind, they tend to do worse. Tell us what medicine your tortoise is on please. Glad you found the forum and good luck!
  6. Mooshcat

    Mooshcat New Member

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    He is acting normal. Very energetic, eating a lot (as per usual :D). He was put on Ceftazidime injections, one every three days in his front leg (7 inj. Over 21 days)
  7. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

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    Hi, and welcome to the Forum!

    That's an awfully pretty tortoise. I just love the color of his shell.

    In my opinion, when a tortoise shows symptoms of a respiratory infection, he needs to be set up in a smaller, hospital tank, and the overall temperature in the tank increased to about 85F degrees over the whole tank, and even at night. The only way for him to get rid of the germs making him sick is a higher temperature along with the medication.
  8. Mooshcat

    Mooshcat New Member

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    I have recently moved from Huntington Beach, CA and lived a few blocks from the ocean. Humidity was never a problem and was consistently over 80%, both summer and winter months, the whole city stays pretty balmy. I now live 700 miles away in Northern CA where the summer months bring humidity down to the low 20%s. I see you're right and have decided to try to close on his enclosure, I have him in a large bookcase-turned-"tortoise-table." I got the blueprint off this forum many years ago, but considering the change it has to be outdated. How did you build such a thing? And how would I (with no special saws or power tools) go about making one?

    I'm upset at being in Northern CA. I was hoping to move him outdoors. The summer months (as long as May-Sep) in my new town get up to 115 degrees, 20% humidity and the winter (Oct-Feb) are around 30 degrees, very rainy, and yesterday it even snowed.

    I have read things about their jaws doing strange things with MBD, and he had an underbite when I first got him. His old vet Dr. Greek trimmed it down at his first physical. Does it mean his supplements are wrong, considering its still growing funny, many years later?

    I will soak him every other day or so. I was going by his age, and I did soak him a lot more as a baby. He is 8 now and I have read that you don't have to do it as often when they're older, but I see now that it is a size thing to go by, not a number of years.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2017
  9. Mooshcat

    Mooshcat New Member

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    Worse=sneezing more and for longer periods of time, sorry, forgot to put that first. He has no actual nasal discharge but when I look into his nostrips I can see a bubble bulge forward, it never actually leaves his nose though.
  10. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 5 Year Member Platinum Supporter

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    Since your tortoise had that problem when he was very small, it's a congenital jaw problem, and not related to MBD. He will always have to have it filed. . . probably a couple times a year. Too bad you've moved away from Dr. Greek. I hear he's one of the very best.
  11. Mooshcat

    Mooshcat New Member

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    He was absolutely amazing, and knowledgeable. I tell my fiance he should have gotten a great job back home so we didn't have to move away from him. I call Dr.Greek about twice a year to make sure my vet up here in northern CA is giving me the correct meds and dosages. I'm alays worried about my tort :( Greek had mentioned it was a congenital thing when he first filed it down at 2 years of age but me, being paranoid, read later that it might be MBD and worried. Can I file it myself? I don't know if any vets in the area have done this or have the correct tools.
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