Baby tortoise rescued. It's in bad shape.

Mamaj323

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Apr 25, 2019
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Murphys CA
Hi everyone!
We lost our 80+ year old desert tortoise this winter and had decided we would welcome a new tortoise eventually when the time was right.
Well, my husband came across one on a local FB group. The second he showed me the picture I knew we had to try and help.
Things I know:
They had it for 2 years. And they dont think it's over 3.
They fed it only fruit.
They kept it in a cage with a bearded dragon that bit off all claws/toes on front legs. It bit off its tail. And it looks like a chunk of leg was taken at some point.
It's missing most of the scales on back legs. And there's chunks of scales missing on one front leg.
Its eyelids are pale and super puffy.
It's never had UVB/UVA light. No monitoring of temp or humidity. Though they did have a heat lamp.
It's shell feels thin and it has very little muscle tone

We've put it in a shallow warm soak to start and my husband is setting up a hospital tub with some substrate from it's future outdoor enclosure and keeping the pasture grass still rooted in it.



Any suggestions on how we can get this baby on the right track?

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wellington

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Poor thing. Will never understand humans and the neglect and stupidity with animals.
Thank you for caring and trying to give this little one a better life
The best you can do is give the proper diet, uvb, temps, humidity and hydration. I would soak daily. I cant get the pics to enlarge. Am I right in thinking it's a desert tortoise? If so I would not brumate/hibernate it this first year in your care. I would try too get it outside on warm days for good uv from the sun. I would also give calcium and vitamins twice a week, just a small pinch until you see improvements.
Good luck.
 

Mamaj323

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Murphys CA
This are great suggestions and right along the lines of what we were thinking. For the calcium should we crumble up some cuttle bone? What should we give for vitamins?
And we will not hibernate this year. He will need at least a year to recover I'd think?
 

Sleppo

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Sorry for the loss of your tort and thank you for taking this guy in. Makes you want to smack the previous owner how could they see this and think it was ok.
 

CarolM

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Oh poor thing. I would not be able to add anything more to what has already said. Other than to say keep on with the TLC ( tender loving care) and hopefully this little one will be strong enough to overcome the damage already done. Best of luck and good healing vibes. So sorry about your loss as well. It is not an easy loss.
 

Yvonne G

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Geez! This makes me cringe thinking how many uneducated people there must be out there and how many tortoises are having to pay thr price.

See if your vet will give you a prescription for Terramycin water soluble antibiotic powder, then go online and buy some. If you can't find that brand, the name of the antibiotic is tetracycline hydrochloride powder. The vet may be willing to sell you some.

The baby needs to receive some antibiotics until his wounds are all healed up and the powder allows you to soak him instead of injecting him. I use it all the time for whatever ails a tortoise that required an antibiotic. It only takes a quarter teaspoon per quart of warm water and soak him for about a half hour daily. After a half hour the antibiotic is no longer viable, it dissipates.

He also needs the correct food, but I really doubt he's going to want to eat on his own. If he doesn't eat he will have to be tube fed. You may be in for a long and costly rehab.

Please keep us in the loop.
 

squirrelkitty

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I wonder whether it would be possible to make him prosthetic claws by making him gloves... Like get some rubber thimbles, stuff some sterilised bandages inside, and stick something pointy but not too sharp on the outside for claws ... Maybe finger nail clippings? Gross, I know, but maybe wire would be too sharp if he scratches his face. Then pop the contraptions on his stumps so he could tear up his food, dig etc. Is there any vet in here who could give advice?
 

Lyn W

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Hi and welcome,
So sorry about the loss of your older tort, but thank you for rescuing this poor little one.
He is in good hands now and will get the medical attention he desperately needs.
When you know what sort of tort he is there are caresheets in the species section which will tell you all about diet temps, humidty and substrate etc.

You could scrape some cuttlefish bone on his food, some members do that instead of calcium powder.
If he has only been on fruit he may not adjust to a better leafy diet at first.
Hopefully he will but if all else fails try squeezing a few drops of juice from fruit onto his food he may be tricked by the smell, then ease off it.
 

TammyJ

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With all your kind treatment and the good advice here, I believe he has a good chance! All the best.
 

squirrelkitty

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You might be able to find a university that could make him gloves with claws for free, if you explain how he was mistreated. Sometimes they make wheels for pets without hindlegs etc. Try a Veterinary Science or Materials Science department.
 

HollyLovesBob

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Poor little thing! He must be resilient to have survived all that! Hope he bounces back, he’s lucky you found him. Best of luck with him.

His previous owners shouldn’t be allowed to keep pets. Bet they have others being improperly cared for.
 

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