Clear bubbles coming out of nostrils

feefofum

New Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2020
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
Boston, MA
Hi everyone!

I just got a 2-month old marginated tortoise last Wednesday and named him (going with him right now but who knows haha) Houdini. This is my first time raising a tortoise so I did all the research I can beforehand. Also read Chris' care sheet on marginated tortoises and that's really helpful!

I've been noticing some small clear bubbles (under 5) coming out of Houdini's nostrils whenever I wake him up from his sleep. I'm a bit concerned about whether or not he has RI. He's been pretty active for the last few days climbing up his humid hide and is eating well (fed daily and gave him bok choy, Brussel sprouts, Zucchini, and sunflower greens microgreens for this past week). Poops daily and look normal. Eyes are clear and nostrils are clean and clear except when the clear bubbles are coming out. I soak him every morning for at least 20 mins at 35-36 degrees Celcius, but he barely drinks from his water dish (maybe he does when I'm not looking idk). His current weight is 23g and SCL is 5cm.

Here are the temps of the enclosure measured with an IR temp gun:
Basking: 38 degrees Celcius
Warm side: Ranging from 26.3 to 29.4 degrees Celcius
Humid hide (under the half log): 23.5 to 25 degrees Celcius
Cool side (covered side): 24.5 degrees Celcius
Night: 24 degrees Celcius
Humidity: 50-70% depending on what time of the day, but I mist when needed to keep it between the range

He's now in a ZooMed tortoise house with Cypress Mulch as the substrate (housed indoors). For these past two days, he's been falling asleep under the basking lamp. Should I be worried about the bubbles? Or is it just signs of stress because I woke him up from his sleep?

Also, what can I do better? I've ordered some broadleaf weed online from Kapidolo farms in hopes of switching his diet from depending solely on grocery greens. Thinking of purchasing a CHE for night time to boost the temp a bit, but from the care sheet I read it said that marginated tortoises can endure the lower 70s degrees Fahrenheit at night so I'm not sure what to do.

I'm extremely sorry for the long post but I just want to provide the best to my little tort! I'm so glad that I found a community that is so loving and caring for tortoises :)
Pics: (Enclosure, Eating, Climbing, Basking)
 

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zovick

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2013
Messages
1,871
Hi everyone!

I just got a 2-month old marginated tortoise last Wednesday and named him (going with him right now but who knows haha) Houdini. This is my first time raising a tortoise so I did all the research I can beforehand. Also read Chris' care sheet on marginated tortoises and that's really helpful!

I've been noticing some small clear bubbles (under 5) coming out of Houdini's nostrils whenever I wake him up from his sleep. I'm a bit concerned about whether or not he has RI. He's been pretty active for the last few days climbing up his humid hide and is eating well (fed daily and gave him bok choy, Brussel sprouts, Zucchini, and sunflower greens microgreens for this past week). Poops daily and look normal. Eyes are clear and nostrils are clean and clear except when the clear bubbles are coming out. I soak him every morning for at least 20 mins at 35-36 degrees Celcius, but he barely drinks from his water dish (maybe he does when I'm not looking idk). His current weight is 23g and SCL is 5cm.

Here are the temps of the enclosure measured with an IR temp gun:
Basking: 38 degrees Celcius
Warm side: Ranging from 26.3 to 29.4 degrees Celcius
Humid hide (under the half log): 23.5 to 25 degrees Celcius
Cool side (covered side): 24.5 degrees Celcius
Night: 24 degrees Celcius
Humidity: 50-70% depending on what time of the day, but I mist when needed to keep it between the range

He's now in a ZooMed tortoise house with Cypress Mulch as the substrate (housed indoors). For these past two days, he's been falling asleep under the basking lamp. Should I be worried about the bubbles? Or is it just signs of stress because I woke him up from his sleep?

Also, what can I do better? I've ordered some broadleaf weed online from Kapidolo farms in hopes of switching his diet from depending solely on grocery greens. Thinking of purchasing a CHE for night time to boost the temp a bit, but from the care sheet I read it said that marginated tortoises can endure the lower 70s degrees Fahrenheit at night so I'm not sure what to do.

I'm extremely sorry for the long post but I just want to provide the best to my little tort! I'm so glad that I found a community that is so loving and caring for tortoises :)
Pics: (Enclosure, Eating, Climbing, Basking)
Bubbles from the nose ARE a sign of a respiratory problem. Your tortoise looks pretty good in the photos, though, so it may be mild enough that he may be able to get over it on his own if kept warm enough. I would keep the daytime temps around 90-95 and at night 75 to 80 or so to see how things transpire. If you are able to obtain some ophthalmic drops from your vet without taking the tortoise to an appointment, then put a drop in each nostril and each eye morning and night for about 7-10 days. The drops I mentioned are made up of three ingredients: Neomycin, Dexamethasone, and Polymyxin B. They are frequently used by vets to treat eye infections and eye irritations in other animals, but they work well on tortoises also. I have used them many times on tortoises with mild to severe respiratory ailments. In the severe cases, I also recommend injections of Fortaz (ceftazidime). Note that it doe NOT appear that your tortoise needs any injectable medication as of now from what I am able to observe in the photos. I would stay away from any Baytril injections. That is an old treatment and is known to cause lots of pain plus tissue necrosis at the injection sites.
 

feefofum

New Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2020
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
Boston, MA
Bubbles from the nose ARE a sign of a respiratory problem. Your tortoise looks pretty good in the photos, though, so it may be mild enough that he may be able to get over it on his own if kept warm enough. I would keep the daytime temps around 90-95 and at night 75 to 80 or so to see how things transpire. If you are able to obtain some ophthalmic drops from your vet without taking the tortoise to an appointment, then put a drop in each nostril and each eye morning and night for about 7-10 days. The drops I mentioned are made up of three ingredients: Neomycin, Dexamethasone, and Polymyxin B. They are frequently used by vets to treat eye infections and eye irritations in other animals, but they work well on tortoises also. I have used them many times on tortoises with mild to severe respiratory ailments. In the severe cases, I also recommend injections of Fortaz (ceftazidime). Note that it doe NOT appear that your tortoise needs any injectable medication as of now from what I am able to observe in the photos. I would stay away from any Baytril injections. That is an old treatment and is known to cause lots of pain plus tissue necrosis at the injection sites.
I see. Thank you for your input! I'm all new to this, so I don't have a vet to go directly and obtain the drops. Any recommendations around the Massachusetts area? Apart from increasing temps of the enclosure, would extra warm soaks help alleviate the symptoms before I can get him to a vet?
 

zovick

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2013
Messages
1,871
I see. Thank you for your input! I'm all new to this, so I don't have a vet to go directly and obtain the drops. Any recommendations around the Massachusetts area? Apart from increasing temps of the enclosure, would extra warm soaks help alleviate the symptoms before I can get him to a vet?
You should be aware that tortoises are best treated by vets who are experienced in exotics. Also in case you haven't owned animals that needed veterinary care previously, be aware that vet visits in general are somewhat costly. Just don't want you to get "sticker shock". The vet appointment could cost you more than the tortoise cost. It is sad, but true.

I used to live in MA and CT and always traveled to Framingham and Grafton, MA to VCA Animal Hospital to see Dr. Charles Innis, who is very good with tortoises and turtles. Unfortunately, he left there and is now the head vet at the Boston Aquarium. I will ask him if he recommends anyone and post it back here once I hear from him. Where in MA are you located?

When you say "extra warm soaks", it kind of scares me. I would not put the tortoise in water any warmer than 90-95 degrees. Also make sure the tortoise can keep his head out of the water without too much effort. A good rule of thumb is to make the water no deeper than the level of the point where the bottom shell protrudes out under the neck of the tortoise. You don't want water getting into its nostrils and possibly being inhaled into the lungs to make things worse.
 

feefofum

New Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2020
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
Boston, MA
You should be aware that tortoises are best treated by vets who are experienced in exotics. Also in case you haven't owned animals that needed veterinary care previously, be aware that vet visits in general are somewhat costly. Just don't want you to get "sticker shock". The vet appointment could cost you more than the tortoise cost. It is sad, but true.

I used to live in MA and CT and always traveled to Framingham and Grafton, MA to VCA Animal Hospital to see Dr. Charles Innis, who is very good with tortoises and turtles. Unfortunately, he left there and is now the head vet at the Boston Aquarium. I will ask him if he recommends anyone and post it back here once I hear from him. Where in MA are you located?

When you say "extra warm soaks", it kind of scares me. I would not put the tortoise in water any warmer than 90-95 degrees. Also make sure the tortoise can keep his head out of the water without too much effort. A good rule of thumb is to make the water no deeper than the level of the point where the bottom shell protrudes out under the neck of the tortoise. You don't want water getting into its nostrils and possibly being inhaled into the lungs to make things worse.
I'm located in Boston. Will check in with Dr. Charles Innis and see if he recommends anyone in my area. But thanks for the heads up with vet appointment costs. It's sad and it makes my wallet weep, but nothing is more important than getting Houdini back to normal.

Sorry if I made a confusion when I said "extra warm soaks"! I didn't mean to put the tortoise in hot water; instead, I meant by extending the length of his soaks or increasing the number of soaks he's getting daily. I've been closely monitoring the water temp when he soaks, changing the water when it drops below 90 degrees, and making sure it is not too deep for him.
 

zovick

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2013
Messages
1,871
I see. Thank you for your input! I'm all new to this, so I don't have a vet to go directly and obtain the drops. Any recommendations around the Massachusetts area? Apart from increasing temps of the enclosure, would extra warm soaks help alleviate the symptoms before I can get him to a vet?
Dr. Innis will be away until August 10th. Therefore I did a search for reptile vets on the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Vets (ARAV) web site and got this list of vets with 50 miles of Boston: https://arav.site-ym.com/search/newsearch.asp

Some of these are "academic" vets (IE, teachers or working for institutions) rather than ones in private practice, but if you make a few phone calls, you should be able to find a vet who is in private practice from this list of 11 possibilities. If not, widen the search radius, etc.
 

zovick

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2013
Messages
1,871
I'm located in Boston. Will check in with Dr. Charles Innis and see if he recommends anyone in my area. But thanks for the heads up with vet appointment costs. It's sad and it makes my wallet weep, but nothing is more important than getting Houdini back to normal.

Sorry if I made a confusion when I said "extra warm soaks"! I didn't mean to put the tortoise in hot water; instead, I meant by extending the length of his soaks or increasing the number of soaks he's getting daily. I've been closely monitoring the water temp when he soaks, changing the water when it drops below 90 degrees, and making sure it is not too deep for him.
I see. If you had said "additional" warm soaks rather than "extra" warm soaks, it would not have scared me. Isn't semantics wonderful?

Anyway, I do not see any benefit to the additional soaks, Once a day is enough.
 

feefofum

New Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2020
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
Boston, MA
Dr. Innis will be away until August 10th. Therefore I did a search for reptile vets on the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Vets (ARAV) web site and got this list of vets with 50 miles of Boston: https://arav.site-ym.com/search/newsearch.asp

Some of these are "academic" vets (IE, teachers or working for institutions) rather than ones in private practice, but if you make a few phone calls, you should be able to find a vet who is in private practice from this list of 11 possibilities. If not, widen the search radius, etc.
Thank you very much!
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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RIs are usually caused by low night temps. Everything you are doing is "right" but sometimes the stress of transport and a new home can hamper the immune system temporarily. I've had good success as restoring full health by simply warming things up 5-10 degrees all around, but especially at night. The CHE you mentioned, along with a thermostat to control it should be just the ticket. Continue the daily warm soaks with the added heat, and make sure the soaking water stays warm for the entire duration of the soak.

Given what you've said, I would expect this one to cure itself with the warmer temps. I like to keep the higher temps going for at least two weeks after all symptoms disappear, and then gradually back down to "normal" temps while watching for any sign of reoccurance.
 

feefofum

New Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2020
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
Boston, MA
RIs are usually caused by low night temps. Everything you are doing is "right" but sometimes the stress of transport and a new home can hamper the immune system temporarily. I've had good success as restoring full health by simply warming things up 5-10 degrees all around, but especially at night. The CHE you mentioned, along with a thermostat to control it should be just the ticket. Continue the daily warm soaks with the added heat, and make sure the soaking water stays warm for the entire duration of the soak.

Given what you've said, I would expect this one to cure itself with the warmer temps. I like to keep the higher temps going for at least two weeks after all symptoms disappear, and then gradually back down to "normal" temps while watching for any sign of reoccurance.
Noted. Thanks Tom! The CHE and the thermostat should arrive tomorrow in the mail. Crossing fingers for the tort :)
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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Noted. Thanks Tom! The CHE and the thermostat should arrive tomorrow in the mail. Crossing fingers for the tort :)
Sounds good. I want to note that @zovick has far far more tortoise experience than me, and I don't have all that much experience dealing with sick tortoises. He was treating sick tortoises back in the days when few people knew what the correct husbandry was, and almost everything was a wild caught import. Before I was born. I see no reason to not also follow his recommendation for the eye drops as well as raising temps. The man knows what he's talking about from decades of first hand experience and pioneering all sorts of tortoise concepts. We are lucky to have him here, and even luckier to receive advice and insight from him.
 

feefofum

New Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2020
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
Boston, MA
Thank you everyone who has helped out! Truly appreciate your inputs and they are exceptionally useful to a tortoise newbie like me. Still got a lot to learn ;)
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2019
Messages
35
Location (City and/or State)
London, Ontario
RIs are usually caused by low night temps. Everything you are doing is "right" but sometimes the stress of transport and a new home can hamper the immune system temporarily. I've had good success as restoring full health by simply warming things up 5-10 degrees all around, but especially at night. The CHE you mentioned, along with a thermostat to control it should be just the ticket. Continue the daily warm soaks with the added heat, and make sure the soaking water stays warm for the entire duration of the soak.

Given what you've said, I would expect this one to cure itself with the warmer temps. I like to keep the higher temps going for at least two weeks after all symptoms disappear, and then gradually back down to "normal" temps while watching for any sign of reoccurance.
Just my personal experience, but a few weeks back I had the same problem with my baby leopard not long after I got him and I did just what Tom said...raised the heat...and it worked itself out out very quickly. No more bubbles and my little tort is doing very well.
 
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