Could I be putting medication into the lungs by accident?

NeekoBe

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Belgium
Hello everyone,

Recently one of my young tortoises has fallen ill, sticking its neck out and opening its mouth (I assume to breathe).

As a responsible pet owner I obviously went to a (specialised) vet, and he prescribed some antibiotics to combat the pneumonia.

Since opening its mouth its not easy (read: impossibe) I figured : I'll just wait untill she sticks out her neck & opens mouth, insert the syringe, then insert medication.

Works perfectly fine if it wasn't for the fact that it seems to be coming out her nose and/or gets coughed up into a bubbly mess. So i'm thinking i'm actually inserting the medication into her lungs instead of her stomach :/ and this seems, to me, a big no-no.
Any tips on how to fix this? I don't think she ever breathes through her nose anymore really and she never eats/drinks anymore either (so putting it on that isn't an option).

thanks!
 

zovick

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hello everyone,

Recently one of my young tortoises has fallen ill, sticking its neck out and opening its mouth (I assume to breathe).

As a responsible pet owner I obviously went to a (specialised) vet, and he prescribed some antibiotics to combat the pneumonia.

Since opening its mouth its not easy (read: impossibe) I figured : I'll just wait untill she sticks out her neck & opens mouth, insert the syringe, then insert medication.

Works perfectly fine if it wasn't for the fact that it seems to be coming out her nose and/or gets coughed up into a bubbly mess. So i'm thinking i'm actually inserting the medication into her lungs instead of her stomach :/ and this seems, to me, a big no-no.
Any tips on how to fix this? I don't think she ever breathes through her nose anymore really and she never eats/drinks anymore either (so putting it on that isn't an option).

thanks!
Get the vet to give you injectable antibiotics. It is much safer and getting the proper dose into the tortoise is much more easily done via injection than by trying to put it into the mouth where much of it can be spit out or lost.
 

maggie3fan

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
Crazy Train
Yes you can. I think the trachea is on the left side and the esophagus on the right, so when you inject the meds aim at the right side. but
Get the vet to give you injectable antibiotics. It is much safer and getting the proper dose into the tortoise is much more easily done via injection than by trying to put it into the mouth where much of it can be spit out or lost.
Yes that's true, but not everyone feels confident at injecting a tortoise
 

zovick

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Yes you can. I think the trachea is on the left side and the esophagus on the right, so when you inject the meds aim at the right side. but

Yes that's true, but not everyone feels confident at injecting a tortoise
But he is afraid to give the meds by mouth and having trouble doing it, so I gave him a better alternative. The vet could give the injections if need be.
 

maggie3fan

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
Crazy Train
But he is afraid to give the meds by mouth and having trouble doing it, so I gave him a better alternative. The vet could give the injections if need be.
I am not in the least disputing your statement, it makes sense for you and me. But I just can't see a person new to tortoise keeping injecting a tortoise while fighting to stick him even sub q. Maybe I simply am not giving some new keepers enuf credit
 

NeekoBe

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Belgium
Get the vet to give you injectable antibiotics. It is much safer and getting the proper dose into the tortoise is much more easily done via injection than by trying to put it into the mouth where much of it can be spit out or lost.


yeah.. i mean i'm too scared to pry open their mouth .. As maggie said, I don't feel comfortable injecting my baby :( All i'm trying to figure out is if its possible i'm simply putting it into the tortoise lungs and if yes, if it is dangerous/ ok to do so.
 

ZenHerper

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
yeah.. i mean i'm too scared to pry open their mouth .. As maggie said, I don't feel comfortable injecting my baby :( All i'm trying to figure out is if its possible i'm simply putting it into the tortoise lungs and if yes, if it is dangerous/ ok to do so.

Liquid breathed into the lungs (in any amount) is potentially dangerous. Your tort may be blowing the mouthful of liquid through the passage connecting the mouth and sinuses, but some may be inhaled back down the airway.

Call the vet's office to discuss the problem - they prescribed the medication and they will know what alternatives are possible.

To continue with the oral meds: do a 20-30 minute warm soak before dosing to help open the airways...if they will tolerate a warm (NOT hot) compress on the face or neck, try that during the soak. [It is very important to soak a sick tort that is being medicated in case they are unable to drink their normal ration, 3-4 times daily, even.]

Giving a liquid while an animal is gasping is tricky...you can only realistically place a single drop on the tongue and wait for the tort to swallow. Very slow-going, and entirely dependent on their cooperation to keep gasping. Lots of meds used with torts do not taste good. At. All. That makes cooperation less likely as you repeat the interaction.

I'd contact the vet and see about arranging out-patient injections.
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Go to the pharmacy and look in the contact lens section. You'll find little squirt bottles of sterile saline solution.

Firmly squirt a couple squirts up each nostril to unplug them so he can breath through his nose. Don't worry about it going into the lungs, because the other end of the nostrils is in the roof of his mouth, not down the throat.
 

mastershake

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
Florida
imo as much as it sucks and some people have a hard time with it injectable is always and should always be the first route of anitbiotic treatment in torts. this is my opinion though. and its not hard to do and most vets should be patient and take the time to show someone how to properly give them instead of here are shots ....... which i hear all the time is what many do.
you can also ask the vet for a nebulizer and give meds that way to help open up the nasal ways.
 

NeekoBe

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Belgium
So I took a picture of what happends when I give her medication...

Im not convinced it goes into her lungs anymore honestly, Ithink its more 'throw up'? sometimes it only comes out after say 10 seconds...

Needless to say this aint an option, i think more is coming out than i put in.

156562741_261790932052270_5524882358167021323_n.jpg 156562741_261790932052270_5524882358167021323_n.jpg
 

ZenHerper

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
Yeah. That's a lot of foamy saliva from a really bad chemical flavor (did they prescribe enrofloxacin? - even a fruit-flavored syrup won't hide the taste).

Injections are the way to go. A people-friendly practice would be able to gently teach you how to give them, but they can also be done for you. Depends on the practice, but "side" appointments, drop-in/out-patient, or some other arrangement can spare you the cost of a full appointment spot and you're in-and-out pretty efficiently.
 

NeekoBe

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Belgium
Yeah. That's a lot of foamy saliva from a really bad chemical flavor (did they prescribe enrofloxacin? - even a fruit-flavored syrup won't hide the taste).

Injections are the way to go. A people-friendly practice would be able to gently teach you how to give them, but they can also be done for you. Depends on the practice, but "side" appointments, drop-in/out-patient, or some other arrangement can spare you the cost of a full appointment spot and you're in-and-out pretty efficiently.


this is meranox & orniflox, the pink onein the picture is meranox, for worming the tortoise

I'll try to get ur suggestion arranged, that being said im not convinced the vet really cares tbh, and good care for reptiles is hard (read: impossible) to find anywhere near here.
 

ZenHerper

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
Ofloxacin is in the yuck-family of third generation antibiotics. lol Very effective, but awful odor and flavor. Salivary glands are programmed to over-react to things that smell/taste toxic so that we spit out what we ate before absorbing poison. Your tort's reaction is not likely to change over time, since it is unconscious. He may begin over-salivating in response to just getting things ready for treatment.

You could try this search tool to find other vet offices:
 

NeekoBe

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Belgium
So small update :
I pleaded with the vet to switch to injections. He did.

First one went fine. Tortoise started eating again (yay!).

Second one (today) seems a little problematic, it seems to have 'frozen' my tortoise in place. Eyes open and watching, however not moving a single limb (the limb that was injected into tucked into the shell).

Is he being a drama queen or something more problematic going on?
 

maggie3fan

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
Crazy Train
So small update :
I pleaded with the vet to switch to injections. He did.

First one went fine. Tortoise started eating again (yay!).

Second one (today) seems a little problematic, it seems to have 'frozen' my tortoise in place. Eyes open and watching, however not moving a single limb (the limb that was injected into tucked into the shell).

Is he being a drama queen or something more problematic going on?
Well, I'm not sure if it's problematic, but I sure wouldn't like it, are you saying he hasn't moved? Did someone hold out the leg and you poked him in it, or how?
 

NeekoBe

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Belgium
Well, I'm not sure if it's problematic, but I sure wouldn't like it, are you saying he hasn't moved? Did someone hold out the leg and you poked him in it, or how?


he's moving as a tripod right now...

and yeah the vet wanted to poke him with the antibiotics in the leg, tortoise was struggling and was kind of a fight to inject it. Now he doesn't want to move his leg(or since its in front, arm i guess) .
 

maggie3fan

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
Crazy Train
he's moving as a tripod right now...

and yeah the vet wanted to poke him with the antibiotics in the leg, tortoise was struggling and was kind of a fight to inject it. Now he doesn't want to move his leg(or since its in front, arm i guess) .
Ohhh, the Vet poked him. If she hit a muscle in his leg, that might be the cause and he wouldn't use it.
 

maggie3fan

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
Crazy Train
IS this bad? will it fix itself? he poked her two days ago and it was just fine then...

Tl;dr: should i be worried?
People always ask if they should be worried, but to me worry tends to bring on anxiety, I think the Vet hit the muscle and it should start to go away. So, is he better now
 
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