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"Fun" at the vet....

Discussion in 'Tortoise Health' started by Volksvegan, Dec 23, 2013.

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  1. Volksvegan

    Volksvegan New Member

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    My 7 yo male Russian, Ludwig, is in need of a beak trim. He can still eat fine, but it is getting long in spite of feeding him on a rough rock and trying to get him to chew on cuttlebone. I've read all of the excellent "how-to's" on here, but I have somewhat unresponsive hands due to RA which would make the job very difficult for me (and him!), so we took him to the vet today to get the job done. Even though it's cold here, it was cozy warm in his thick cardboard carrier with the 40-hour warmer (and the car was warm, too). Anyway, once there, they could NOT get him to stick his head out at all. He was closed up tighter than a box turtle, his head really far in and his front legs finishing off the access. Long story short, no trim today. He stayed like that on the way home, but as soon as he was home he was Mr. Personality again, running around in his enclosure and running up to my hand, all proud that he outwitted the Evil Vet Tech (sorry for the anthropomorphism, LOL). Sigh.....leading a horse to water and getting him to drink would be easier. I'll either have to try it myself when he's relaxed or we'll try the vet again in the spring, with a dandelion to coax him out.
  2. Jacqui

    Jacqui Wanna be raiser of Lemon Drop tortoises Moderator 10 Year Member!

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    Or you might try giving him a warm soak at the vet's, along with the food idea.
  3. lkwagner

    lkwagner Member 5 Year Member

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    We couldn't get one of my turtles to stick his head out but when we flipped him over/upside down he stuck his head out. Worked great and no harm done to the turtle.
  4. gieseygirly

    gieseygirly Member 5 Year Member

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    I dread the day (if ever) this comes........good luck getting that beak next time.
  5. Volksvegan

    Volksvegan New Member

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    Thanks for the great ideas! They did try putting him on his back, but he was not coming out!
  6. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Sometimes holding them with the head pointing at the ground makes them want to "reach" for the ground.

    But to get to the root of your problem. A tortoise keeps his beak in shape by biting off his food. In the wild they have to bite off plants from the stem. So don't cut up the food. Make him have to bite it. If he's indoors and you feed him grocery store greens, gather up a handful of greens and tie or clip them in some fashion so he has to bite it in order to get a mouthful. When we put down a handful of, say, spring mix, the tortoise just 'tongues' it into his mouth and swallows it whole. Not biting involved. So, make him have to bite.

    Also, in the wild, a tortoise will sometimes rub his beak back and forth on a rough rock or stone. You might give him something in his habitat that he could do that on, and also, a cuttlebone.
  7. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Next time put him in 3-4" of warm water. Just plop him right in. In a minute or two tops, he pop that head right out and come looking for the surface. Usually once the head is out it will stay out. Then try tipping him so his head is pointing toward the sky. This will usually make them stick their head and neck out.
  8. Volksvegan

    Volksvegan New Member

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    Thanks for the further ideas. I do have rough stones in his enclosure (and I feed him on one), but I do like the concept of giving him larger chunks of greens. Right now I break his food up into pieces of about 1"x2", but I'll try larger pieces with more of the tough "rib" of the leaf in them.

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