Hard urate / stone, please help!!

otisthetortoise

Active Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2015
Messages
120
Hi all,
I'm concerned for Otis. She is a Hermann's hatchling, 7 months old and has been active since I've got her. She eats and drinks and roams regularly. I soak her for twenty minutes each day in warm water, and her diet varies between water cress, wild rocket, dandelion leaves on occasion, lamb's lettuce, radicchio, cucumber on occasion, a weed from my garden that has a long name but is safe to feed, clover on occasion, mulberry leaves and whatever else I can scrounge from my garden, walks or supermarket. I sprinkle her food with water every other day and she gets Nutrobal sprinklings too.
For the last two days, she didn't poop. I kept calm but watchful about it as I know they don't have a "regular" poop cycle and can also "recycle" their poop. :p Today, after soaking, she pooped twice. And then...she passed a urate. I picked it up and was astonished to see that it was hard. It was very small, smaller than a pea, round and hard. I was surprised because all urates that she has passed before have been the consistency of toothpaste. She passed this particular urate / stone easily and didn't seem to bothered by it. I'm afraid I don't have any pictures as I only noticed its hard feel below the tissue just before I dropped it into the bin.
She hasn't seemed lethargic, stressed, or showing any signs of being ill. However I know these stones / hard urates are an immediate alarm bell. Do I need to take her to the vet?
She came to me on Christmas Eve. I'm not trying to pin the blame on anyone else here, but is it possible that the stone has been in there from her past enclosure with the breeder and she has only just passed it? I'm not sure though, because the breeder too soaked her hatchlings.
As a side note, my substrate is sterilised soil and all stones have been sifted through, though there are some little ones I have missed, though I've never seen her attempt to eat one.
Please offer advice. I just want the best for her.
Thank you,
Olivia
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
24,008
Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
It's very possible that it actually IS a small stone.
Tortoises will eat rocks if they are lacking in calcium, etc.
That said, I am just guessing. Can you photograph the "stone"?
does your tortoise have an appropriate UVB source? Any calcium powder?
Any information can be helpful in determining if it is a urate issue or something else.
 

otisthetortoise

Active Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2015
Messages
120
It's very possible that it actually IS a small stone.
Tortoises will eat rocks if they are lacking in calcium, etc.
That said, I am just guessing. Can you photograph the "stone"?
does your tortoise have an appropriate UVB source? Any calcium powder?
Any information can be helpful in determining if it is a urate issue or something else.
Unfortunately I cannot photograph the stone / hard urate as it is in the bin (I actually fished it out prior to my last post but it was too late to take a photo, so I left it on the side of the kitchen, and someone has mistook it for a used tissue and has plonked it back in again...the rubbish was taken out and is long gone :(). However it was white, round and didn't resemble stones that are in her substrate. It looked like a urate, but I don't know if the stone would just be digested and come out like that. She has a UVB light, yes. She does have calcium powder which I sprinkle on every other day. She eats eagerly and doesn't avoid the powder or anything.
Thank you for your help,
Olivia
 

dmmj

The member formerly known as captain awesome
Moderator
10 Year Member!
Joined
Aug 15, 2008
Messages
19,752
Location (City and/or State)
CA
it is possible this could have been an anomaly a one time thing. but what I do with mine is I actually soak their food in a big bucket of water for half an hour to an hour before I feed them let it absorb as much water as possible and have it absolutely dripping wet. You can try doing that and then see the next time it passes urates what happens.
 

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
24,008
Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
Although I DO have experience in my tortoises both eating and passing stones and particles of coral. I have no experience first hand with urates and what would make them hard. I imagine it could be a dehydration issue?
I'm sure that another member will be along to answer that question.
 

otisthetortoise

Active Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2015
Messages
120
perhaps I should have explained hard equals dehydration
Thank you so much.
I will hope it was just the one, but I will definitely try your method of soaking the food. I'm soaking her currently and she's perky as usual and hasn't pooed or urated, just peed.
I'm very grateful for your help (both you and @ZEROPILOT) so I can correct any mistakes made asap.
Olivia
 
M

Maggie Cummings

Guest
I think that calcium supplements are too much every other day. I don't use them at all. Give your tort a varied diet and I'd personally stop the calcium supplements for a while. Soak daily, and feed the best diet you can. Better food is better than supplements. She needs some sun. Are you in the UK where the sun never shines? I'm in the PNW where it never shines either. Makes it hard on the tort.....
 

otisthetortoise

Active Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2015
Messages
120
I think that calcium supplements are too much every other day. I don't use them at all. Give your tort a varied diet and I'd personally stop the calcium supplements for a while. Soak daily, and feed the best diet you can. Better food is better than supplements. She needs some sun. Are you in the UK where the sun never shines? I'm in the PNW where it never shines either. Makes it hard on the tort.....
Thank you Maggie, I shall leave the calcium supplements out for a while. I am providing the best diet I can at the minute, but I have a seed pouch with a wide range (57 or something like that...) of weed seeds from Shelled Warriors that I plan to plant in the spring. I'm in the UK, yes. Right now it has been gale force winds and rain for the last three days from Storm Imogen. I am keeping the room Otis is kept in nice and toasty so the cold doesn't affect her too much.
As an obvious result of the storm, sunlight is scarce. If there is any, it is merely sunlight and not warmth. Unfortunately hot days here are infrequent.
Here is the info I have gathered from you and others:
Soak her food and ultimately keep hydration levels up;
Use rarely / none calcium supplement powder (and widen the diet if possible);
Provide access to sunlight if it comes (I'm guessing you mean the "warm" sunlight, not just the sun that still feels freezing :p);
Watch Otis to see if she's swallowing stones;
Continue to soak daily, which I am already doing.
Anything else anyone would like to say?
Thank you all so much!
Olivia
 
M

Maggie Cummings

Guest
What kind of light are you providing to make up for lack of sun. She needs UVB.....
 

sibi

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2012
Messages
6,483
Location (City and/or State)
Florida, USA
I had problems with urates in one of my tortoises. It could be from some of the foods she's eating, dehydration, lack of UVA/B, too much calcium, basically all that members here have mentioned.

I would watch her and see if she continues to pass stones. I suspect that with all the suggestions that you've been given, she'll be fine and not pass anymore stones. However, if she does, I would check the foods she's eating. There is a member that once gave me a link that gives the ph ratios of weeds, veggies, and fruits. I'm not familiar with the ratios for Hermann tortoises, but I bet Yvonne or Maggie knows.
 

otisthetortoise

Active Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2015
Messages
120
I had problems with urates in one of my tortoises. It could be from some of the foods she's eating, dehydration, lack of UVA/B, too much calcium, basically all that members here have mentioned.

I would watch her and see if she continues to pass stones. I suspect that with all the suggestions that you've been given, she'll be fine and not pass anymore stones. However, if she does, I would check the foods she's eating. There is a member that once gave me a link that gives the ph ratios of weeds, veggies, and fruits. I'm not familiar with the ratios for Hermann tortoises, but I bet Yvonne or Maggie knows.
Thank you.
I soaked her yesterday and she peed and pooed, didn't urate. When I soak her again today I'll see.
She has a UVB bulb and everything, and I've stopped using the calcium supplements for a while. I doubt diet is the problem as I give her different things each day and it's a vary of the weeds and leafy greens I know is safe and good for her. I weighed and measured her SCL and applied it to the Jackson Ratio and she is a healthy, ideal weight. :)
As you said, I will remain watchful over her.
Olivia
 

otisthetortoise

Active Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2015
Messages
120
Update please?
Golly, this is an old thread! :)
I found out it was a stone from one of the fake plants (it's in a small pot with round, tiny stones inside) and have seen her sniffing and 'trying' them beforehand. Since I've stuffed it with soil, she hasn't though, and all is well. All the urates she has passed since - but she hardly ever passes them! - have been creamy and not gritty.
Olivia
 

Bogie=babyDINO

Active Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2015
Messages
292
Location (City and/or State)
Rancho Cucamonga, Ca
Oh that's good news. I was reading this thread for information because my little bogart is getting gritty urates. I'm glad to here all is well with your little one :)
 

otisthetortoise

Active Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2015
Messages
120
Oh that's good news. I was reading this thread for information because my little bogart is getting gritty urates. I'm glad to here all is well with your little one :)
I'm sorry to hear that!
Although it wasn't in this case, Otis has had gritty urates in the past, back when I first got her. I recommend:
1) Cutting down calcium powder intake;
2) Soaking for longer periods of time;
3) Spritzing / soaking the food given in water before being served;
4) Making sure the diet is the best you can provide, as food with a high oxalate content bind with the calcium, causing gritty stones (correct me if I'm mixing myself up with kidney stones!), though providing the best diet is still - obviously - highly important.
5) Ensure your tortoise is getting the right level of UVB/A.
One of the key factors that cause gritty urates is lack of hydration. If your baby is happy and hydrated, hopefully nice creamy urates will be passed :) (I never thought I'd speak of urates in such a fond manner!)
ALSO bear in mind that if the urates are passed after recently purchasing your tortoise (after introducing her/him to her/his new enclosure) then it may be a result of previously being dehydrated due to previous fault, and not your own. Though the above points won't do any harm and contribute to an all-round healthy tort!
Best of luck,
Olivia
 
TortoiseSupply.com

New Posts

Top