Constipation/Impaction???

Bevluvsrats

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
London, UK
Hi all. First of all I need to say that I'm in the UK, so I might not be able to acquire certain medications or foods. I've got two 18 year old Leopard torts named Pie (male) and Pastie (female). We noticed that she (Pastie) hadn't been moving around her cage at all, and her appetite was a bit bad, so about a week ago I jumped on it, did some research via the internet, and it sounds like she's got an impaction or constipation. Pie has slowed down over the last couple of days, but is still eating and is still pretty strong in his legs and is moving around. I've been soaking them for half an hour to an hour every other day, Pie moves around in the bath but Pastie just stays where I put her. I've got Oxbow critical care herbovire, and she's had two 60ml syringes over the last couple of days. Their normal diet consists of curly kale or spring greens with a mixture of red, yellow or green peppers, carrot, cucumber, courgette, occasional cauliflower or broccoli, either baby corn or corn on the cob, and they've also got timothy hay as a constant. The substrate they're on is Megazorb, which is normally used in stables, it's a recycled paper/wood pulp kind of thing. We had been feeding them in an area away from the megazorb because I'm aware of the possibility of them eating it and maybe getting clogged up, but since Pastie stopped moving, I've had to move the food to her. We feed from a dish so hopefully she hasn't eaten any Megazorb. Earlier in the month it was particularly cold here, and part of their cage heating relies on our central heating in the home (although they do have their UVB light and basking lamp), and I had wondred if the lower temperature could have caused a long term problem, but their cage is now between a low of 80 degrees and a high of around 95 to 100 degrees. Could I give her natural laxative like syrup of figs? Senna? Lactulose is not available in the UK without prescription, I believe. Cod liver oil? I would attempt an enema if it would be beneficial. I'm seeing a lot about 'mineral oil', but I don't understand what that actually is. I'm seeing it online as either something to rub into wooden chopping boards, or something that's used with cars and bikes, neither of which seem edible. I'm doing everything I can, and the problem at the moment in the UK is that we're on lockdown and aren't allowed to travel, local vets here aren't experienced with reptiles to my knowledge, and the vets that are being recommended to me are too far away. My usual vet is 36 miles away, and were it not for Covid, we would have taken them straight there. Many thanks for anything you guys can suggest, I'm getting quite worried about her now.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hi all. First of all I need to say that I'm in the UK, so I might not be able to acquire certain medications or foods. I've got two 18 year old Leopard torts named Pie (male) and Pastie (female). We noticed that she (Pastie) hadn't been moving around her cage at all, and her appetite was a bit bad, so about a week ago I jumped on it, did some research via the internet, and it sounds like she's got an impaction or constipation. Pie has slowed down over the last couple of days, but is still eating and is still pretty strong in his legs and is moving around. I've been soaking them for half an hour to an hour every other day, Pie moves around in the bath but Pastie just stays where I put her. I've got Oxbow critical care herbovire, and she's had two 60ml syringes over the last couple of days. Their normal diet consists of curly kale or spring greens with a mixture of red, yellow or green peppers, carrot, cucumber, courgette, occasional cauliflower or broccoli, either baby corn or corn on the cob, and they've also got timothy hay as a constant. The substrate they're on is Megazorb, which is normally used in stables, it's a recycled paper/wood pulp kind of thing. We had been feeding them in an area away from the megazorb because I'm aware of the possibility of them eating it and maybe getting clogged up, but since Pastie stopped moving, I've had to move the food to her. We feed from a dish so hopefully she hasn't eaten any Megazorb. Earlier in the month it was particularly cold here, and part of their cage heating relies on our central heating in the home (although they do have their UVB light and basking lamp), and I had wondred if the lower temperature could have caused a long term problem, but their cage is now between a low of 80 degrees and a high of around 95 to 100 degrees. Could I give her natural laxative like syrup of figs? Senna? Lactulose is not available in the UK without prescription, I believe. Cod liver oil? I would attempt an enema if it would be beneficial. I'm seeing a lot about 'mineral oil', but I don't understand what that actually is. I'm seeing it online as either something to rub into wooden chopping boards, or something that's used with cars and bikes, neither of which seem edible. I'm doing everything I can, and the problem at the moment in the UK is that we're on lockdown and aren't allowed to travel, local vets here aren't experienced with reptiles to my knowledge, and the vets that are being recommended to me are too far away. My usual vet is 36 miles away, and were it not for Covid, we would have taken them straight there. Many thanks for anything you guys can suggest, I'm getting quite worried about her now.
Your first problem is keeping them as a pair. The long term chronic stress of this might be a contributing factor here.

Second problem is the diet is not so good. Should be more weeds, leaves, flowers and succulents. Less grocery store food. If you must use grocery store foods, they need to be amended to add fiber, calcium, and variety. Most of what you have been feeding shouldn't be fed to tortoises. Long term, this might be your problem. Regular leopards don't usually consume dry hay. Do yours eat it?

Cold can certainly do it too. How cold did they get and for how long? Cold mixed with the stress of being in a pair and a poor diet all could contribute here.

What size enclosure are they in? They need room to roam in order to digest their food.

Next problem is that substrate. Tortoises are always going to incidentally ingest some of their substrate as they eat. Its unavoidable. This being the case, they should never be housed on things that can block them up like sand for example. Formed Aspen pulp and zeolite is not a suitable substrate for a tortoise.

Most of this info also applies to older tortoises. You need to make some changes and this will explain what to do: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/t...leopard-or-star-tortoise.181497/#post-1814413

Long warm daily soaks are the way to go, but without knowing which of these problems, or combination of problems, is causing the issue, its hard to say how to fix it. I wish you had found us sooner.
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
I definitely would not try any kind of human laxative. If she is obstructed in her bowel, her intestine could rupture, which would kill her.

The only exception would be a bit of mineral oil. I don't know exactly what it's made from, but in the US we would find it in the pharmacy items, probably in with laxative and hemorrhoid products. It comes in a bottle.

If you get some, she has to be eating to safely administer it. Don't just put some in her mouth...she may not feel it and could choke. You need to smear a bit onto a leafy green, roll it up like a burrito, and feed it to her.

You can also use it on her cloaca to lubricate. We have a member whose sulcata had this problem. I'll tag her and she can tell you what she to treat it. Took a while, but eventual success!

@maggie3fan
 

Bevluvsrats

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
London, UK
Oooh wow, I didnt expect to be doing so much wrong??? All I've read online previously and in books has directed us to how to keep and feed them, I was just expecting there to be a problem with the substrate!

As I said, they're at least 18 years old, we've had them for at least 10 years and this is the first health issue we've encountered, would they really go this long on a bad diet before experiencing problems? They were together when they were given to us, and we know the previous owners had them together from the start.

Neither of them have ever eaten from our hand, they're a little shy at times, always have been, especially Pastie. They don't fight or his at each other, and the only evidence weve ever seen of any problems is that Pastie will roll Pie over, but this happens very rarely.

We've been enlarging their enclosure as they've grown, they have a basking area big enough to move around in, an eating area and another area away from the direct heat of the light, it's a square area, maybe a metre and a half on each side. I'm no good with estimating, so it may be much bigger. Weve recently been designing a way of increasing the height as Pastie is getting quite tall.
 

Bevluvsrats

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
London, UK
I've just found out that mineral oil in the uk is basically baby oil, and not to feed it to anything as its perfumed. Must be different in the US. Are there any UK members here who may know of an equivalent?
 

maggie3fan

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
Crazy Train
I definitely would not try any kind of human laxative. If she is obstructed in her bowel, her intestine could rupture, which would kill her.

The only exception would be a bit of mineral oil. I don't know exactly what it's made from, but in the US we would find it in the pharmacy items, probably in with laxative and hemorrhoid products. It comes in a bottle.

If you get some, she has to be eating to safely administer it. Don't just put some in her mouth...she may not feel it and could choke. You need to smear a bit onto a leafy green, roll it up like a burrito, and feed it to her.

You can also use it on her cloaca to lubricate. We have a member whose sulcata had this problem. I'll tag her and she can tell you what she to treat it. Took a while, but eventual success!

@maggie3fan
Thanks Karen...
My Vet prescribed Linzess, a human laxative, I used the dosage prescribed by her. Also I took a syringe without the needle, and injected Mineral Oil into his cloaca, just to lube the area. I don't remember the Linzess dosage, but I do remember that 1 dosage of Linzess did the trick. But because it is a human laxative my suggestion would be to follow a Veterinarians advice on the dosage for your particular tortoise
 

Chefdenoel10

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
What substance is it that Yvonne rolls up into a leafy green to give? The one she says they can choke on? I thought it was mineral oil...if it is not, my sincere apologies to the OP.

no you are correct...
Yvonne says to put some in a lettuce leaf and roll it into a cigar and then feed it..
Ive had to do it
Soooo..... this is why I quote her .
But the way mine rolled it could have looked like a burrito....
In any case this person needs to put some “mineral oil” rubbed on a lettuce leaf and roll it any way she wants in order to get her tort to eat it and get better right?
 

maggie3fan

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
Crazy Train
I've just found out that mineral oil in the uk is basically baby oil, and not to feed it to anything as its perfumed. Must be different in the US. Are there any UK members here who may know of an equivalent?
The mineral oil I use is not perfumed. It's active ingredient is "mineral oil". It reads, odorless, colorless flavorless.
You would inject some up the cloaca simply as lubrication. ABSOLUTELY NEVER try to give any animal mineral oil orally. The possibility of aspiration into the lungs is great. Possibly fatal, just inject using a syringe without the needle up the cloaca, my way...
or don't forget Y and her lettuce burrito, I think using that method by a newbie they wouldn't know how much mineral oil to smear. Maybe. For a newbie, I'd put it up the butt
 
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Chefdenoel10

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
The mineral oil I use is not perfumed. It's active ingredient is "mineral oil". It reads, odorless, colorless flavorless.
You would inject some up the cloaca simply as lubrication. ABSOLUTELY NEVER try to give any animal mineral oil orally. The possibility of aspiration into the lungs is great. Possibly fatal, just inject using a syringe without the needle up the cloaca, my way...
or don't forget Y and her lettuce burrito, I think using that method by a newbie they wouldn't know how much mineral oil to smear. Maybe. For a newbie, I'd put it up the butt

Hey ... @Yvonne G
Question.....
Did you say “ burrito”?
Or did you say “cigar”? 🤣
I could swear you said cigar.... and I laughed out loud...so that’s why I always
tell people you said cigar....
But Maggie is your sister...
And I think SHE would know for sure what you said.... 😞
Ok back to helping this girl....
Yes I agree with Maggie putting it up in the cloaca... it would be easier for a newbie.
Maybe if you could put the tort on a stool
So they were in a position to be...”out”
Would help her get the oil up there???
 

Bevluvsrats

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
London, UK
Update: I popped them in the bath for a warm soak today, and she laid an egg in my hand! Normal size, lots of mucus, but rock solid. Normally they're still pliable when she first lays them, so I'm thinking this may at the very least be part of her problem. I've spoken to a vet who has suggested baths with Reptiboost, so I've got some of that on it's way to me and we're starting both of the torts on Baytril (Enrofloxacin) from Monday in case of bacterial infection in the intestine. Pie is stomping around now, more like his normal self, so even the vet thought he could just be sympathising with Pastie and worrying us because he's worried about her. We'll see. Either way I'm taking it as a positive thing that the egg was laid today, I had to help her get it out a little, but once it was, you could see the relief on her face.
 

Chefdenoel10

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
Update: I popped them in the bath for a warm soak today, and she laid an egg in my hand! Normal size, lots of mucus, but rock solid. Normally they're still pliable when she first lays them, so I'm thinking this may at the very least be part of her problem. I've spoken to a vet who has suggested baths with Reptiboost, so I've got some of that on it's way to me and we're starting both of the torts on Baytril (Enrofloxacin) from Monday in case of bacterial infection in the intestine. Pie is stomping around now, more like his normal self, so even the vet thought he could just be sympathising with Pastie and worrying us because he's worried about her. We'll see. Either way I'm taking it as a positive thing that the egg was laid today, I had to help her get it out a little, but once it was, you could see the relief on her face.

mare you sure it wasn’t a “bladder stone”
Like you said it was “Rock Solid” instead of “pliable” like a torts normal egg.
You didn’t take any pictures of it??
We like pictures.
It is so much easier to help you out.
Anyway, it’s out ... Thank God!!!
Poor little thing.... I hope everything gets better from now on. 🤞🍀❤️🙏
 

maggie3fan

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
Crazy Train
Baytril is a very harsh drug, and both tortoise have a chance of stopping eating and all that entails. You don't know for sure there is an infection. Personally I would not use Baytril. She laid the egg, so it's done now. Right?
And you do not bathe tortoises, you soak them. Bathe means to wash, and mostly you soak them for hydration, not bathe them cuz they are dirty
and I agree with Yvonne, do you know positively it was an egg, and not a stone?
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
I've just found out that mineral oil in the uk is basically baby oil, and not to feed it to anything as its perfumed. Must be different in the US. Are there any UK members here who may know of an equivalent?
I think it's called parafin or paraffinum perliquidum in the UK, and you just spread a bit on a leaf of lettuce then roll the leaf up into a tube and let him eat it that way. Mineral oil is non-absorptive, so it just coats whatever's inside the digestive tract, helping it to slide on out.

You never put mineral oil into a tortoise's mouth by itself. Because they can't feel it they don't know it's in the mouth and they could aspirate it into their lungs.
 

Chefdenoel10

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
I think it's called parafin or paraffinum perliquidum in the UK, and you just spread a bit on a leaf of lettuce then roll the leaf up into a tube and let him eat it that way. Mineral oil is non-absorptive, so it just coats whatever's inside the digestive tract, helping it to slide on out.

You never put mineral oil into a tortoise's mouth by itself. Because they can't feel it they don't know it's in the mouth and they could aspirate it into their lungs.

ahaha 🤣 now it rolled into a “tube” .
Good for you Yvonne! 😂❤️
 
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