Antibiotics if they might not be sick?

FarrellFam6

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Langley
Yesterday my Sulcata was wheezy and has a little clear snot, so today I took him to a mammal vet who’s never treated a reptile... even though his symptoms seemed to be all gone, I was super worried.
However, the vet really didn’t seem confident and kept leaving the room (I swear to google or something 🤦🏼‍♀️) and in the end he gave our guy an injection into his hind leg of the abx enrofloxacin...
In a FB group someone said that wasn’t the best medical advice...
Now I’m worried about continuing the treatment if all his symptoms are already gone, I don’t want to risk damage...
Advice? I’m calling around to reptile vets in the morning... we live rural and have none nearby
 

Tom

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That is bad news and that vet had no business treating your animal. Hopefully the damage is minimal. Because of the renal portal system, you never inject tortoises in the rear leg. Also, the vet apparently did nothing to address the CAUSE of the symptoms.

RIs are usually caused by low temps, and mostly overnight low temps. The cause is cold. The cure is heat. How are you housing this tortoise. What size and age? How long have you had it?

If you give us more info and pics of the tortoise and enclosure, we might be able to help.
 

JoesMum

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Firstly, antibiotics should never be used “just in case“. Their overuse is causing antibiotic resistance and that is making it harder for people and animals that do need them to recover.

If your tortoise has a suspected respiratory infection, the first thing to do.. as @Tom says... is to check out how you are raising it.

Usually the problem starts with a tortoise getting too cold. In the first instance, keep it warm. Now lower than 85F/30C day or night.

Please post the following so we can help you...

- Photos of your enclosure and lighting. A picture saves a thousand words and we can quickly identify issues.

- The 4 important temperature: Directly under the basking lamp, warm end ambient, cool end ambient and overnight minimum.

- The species, weight and age of your tortoise and how long you have had it.

- Diet information... what are you feeding and how often?

- Do you soak your tortoise? Does it have free access to water?
 

FarrellFam6

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Location (City and/or State)
Langley
Firstly, antibiotics should never be used “just in case“. Their overuse is causing antibiotic resistance and that is making it harder for people and animals that do need them to recover.

If your tortoise has a suspected respiratory infection, the first thing to do.. as @Tom says... is to check out how you are raising it.

Usually the problem starts with a tortoise getting too cold. In the first instance, keep it warm. Now lower than 85F/30C day or night.

Please post the following so we can help you...

- Photos of your enclosure and lighting. A picture saves a thousand words and we can quickly identify issues.

- The 4 important temperature: Directly under the basking lamp, warm end ambient, cool end ambient and overnight minimum.

- The species, weight and age of your tortoise and how long you have had it.

- Diet information... what are you feeding and how often?

- Do you soak your tortoise? Does it have free access to water?
[/QUOTE
thank you both for your helpful posts
Info:

we were given Sam (a Sulcata) 3 years ago, he is now 7yo and 10lbs.

he is still living in the box the previous owners built him as a baby... we realize he’s getting too big and have plans... (we had been building our own house and were living in temporary housing until just recently, we’ve been waiting to upgrade him until we moved to our new property)

he gets out for exercise indoors, but lately we’ve had good hot summer weather (for Washington state... 70-85 degrees, so he’s been going outside with us a lot... he loves it outside, races around the property and feasts on grass and clover...

(I’m suspecting that this outdoors time may be what triggered the URI, because it is Washington, the temps can dip quickly)

we soak him a couple times a week, he has fresh water daily in his box. He also has constant access to Timothy Hay in his box. (Right now he’s not interested in eating it tho, maybe because he’s hoping for some fresh grass?)

(Side note: when his snot bubbles and wheezing happened, my kids told me they’d seen these symptoms in him before a few times over the last three years...)

We’ve kept him inside under his lights since this happened and he is not wheezy, and no moisture at all from his nose... but he’s also not interested in food or water since the vet visit, and is also not moving around in his box

unfortunately his temperature reader broke a few months ago and we’ve neglected to replace it, I currently have one on order from amazon, but their shipping is so slow..
 

mark1

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i'm actually a just in case antibiotic user , but i'm a pretty good guesser as to when they're actually sick ...... i bring a turtle in , my vet knows there is something wrong with it ..... when all these turtles and tortoises were wild caught imports , it was standard procedure to run them through a course of antibiotics and treat them for parasites .....

tortoises and turtles can be subclinically ill for long periods of time , stress causes them to become clinically ill .... the difference of opinion would probably be whether or not you should treat a suspected ill animal that's asymptomatic ? or should you wait until obvious symptoms ? i'd say that's where experience with the animals or an experienced vet comes in ...... these guys can be asymptomatic until they're at deaths door , especially to inexperienced people......

baytril , from my experience is as safe as any antibiotic .... certainly it's been tested on reptiles more than any other antibiotic ...... it does kill a wide spectrum of bacteria that commonly infect reptiles , which is why it's so popular .... been shown safe at dosages hundreds of times that of the effective dosage required ... i personally have to think to the extent it's been used , there has to be a pretty good amount of resistant bacteria around by now , it's been misused in reptiles for decades ...... i think much worse than overuse , is misuse , giving an animal one shot of baytril is a bit alarming , being done by someone who really should know better whether they ever seen a tortoise or not ....... a person doctor , a horse doctor , a dog doctor , any doctor should know you need to treat the animal long enough to kill the bacteria your treating the animal for ...... there are some long acting antibiotics , baytril i don't believe to be one of them .......

while giving a shot in the rear has been shown not to affect efficacy , i don't see a reason to do it ..... i believe it is still not recommended for nephrotoxic drugs ? enrofloxacin has been shown to not be toxic to the kidneys at some really high dosages ........
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
50,441
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
thank you both for your helpful posts
Info:

we were given Sam (a Sulcata) 3 years ago, he is now 7yo and 10lbs.

he is still living in the box the previous owners built him as a baby... we realize he’s getting too big and have plans... (we had been building our own house and were living in temporary housing until just recently, we’ve been waiting to upgrade him until we moved to our new property)

he gets out for exercise indoors, but lately we’ve had good hot summer weather (for Washington state... 70-85 degrees, so he’s been going outside with us a lot... he loves it outside, races around the property and feasts on grass and clover...

(I’m suspecting that this outdoors time may be what triggered the URI, because it is Washington, the temps can dip quickly)

we soak him a couple times a week, he has fresh water daily in his box. He also has constant access to Timothy Hay in his box. (Right now he’s not interested in eating it tho, maybe because he’s hoping for some fresh grass?)

(Side note: when his snot bubbles and wheezing happened, my kids told me they’d seen these symptoms in him before a few times over the last three years...)

We’ve kept him inside under his lights since this happened and he is not wheezy, and no moisture at all from his nose... but he’s also not interested in food or water since the vet visit, and is also not moving around in his box

unfortunately his temperature reader broke a few months ago and we’ve neglected to replace it, I currently have one on order from amazon, but their shipping is so slow..
You got quite a few issues to sort out there:
  • This tortoise is too big for heat lamps now. You'll burn the top of the carapace. Happens all the time.
  • That box is way too small.
  • Loose outside or loose inside is not good for any tortoise, but its especially bad for a tortoise that needs lots of heat in a cold climate. Its dangerous on the floor for many reasons and it cannot be made safe. The cold temperatures down there frequently cause... wait for it... respiratory infections. If you are going to keep this tortoise, you need much larger housing of a more permanent nature, and this tortoise needs to be kept warm 24/7. Because it has a history of fighting illness, it needs to be kept even warmer than most. I don't know how to accomplish that practically in a cold climate with frozen winters, but you will have to figure something out and fast.
  • That water bowl is unsuitable for tortoises. Sides are too tall and too steep.
  • The enclosure is too open and dry. You need a large closed chamber and for a tortoise this size, that would be a whole room. Soon it will need a space bigger than a whole room.
  • You can't have hay mixed in with substrate. The substrate needs to be dampened, but this will make the hay mold. If he does eat the hay, he'll be ingesting too much substrate with it.
  • Timothy hay is not the best choice. Too stemmy. Its the worse choice for trying to introduce a younger smaller sulcata to hay because of this. Older large ones can eat it, but orchard grass hay or Bermuda is better. But you can't feed them hay on substrate.
  • He's not interested in eating because of what the vet did. Look this up. Renal-portal system in tortoises, and why they should never receive injections in the rear legs. Maybe share what you find with the vet so they don't make this mistake again.
 
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