Hatchling Failure Syndrome?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Fishbone

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 21, 2013
Messages
11
Hello all. I haven't posted here much since my first thread, but I have searched this forum for most of my Questions. We have a hatchling Leo we got in May, and until the last week, was doing great. We keep him well hydrated, daily soaks, humidity in the tub, with a damp hide. He gets a variety of food, greens, grassland tortoise diet, some mazuri, cactus pads, etc. And we keep a little bit of cuttlebone in there, which I see him nibble on. He has a basking lamp, with a hot spot directly underneath that get's between 95° - 98°, tapering off to about 80-82° on the cooler end. Nighttime temps are between 78° - 82°. We cover him up to keep the AC from blowing over his cage. With a reptisun 10.0 UVB Fluorescent tube. The one thing is we haven't gotten him outside as much as I would like for natural sun, but he does get a little at least once a week. He is kept in a large rabbit type cage, basically a large tub with a wire rack that fits over the top (Cat proofing, lol).

So the last few days he has started to eat less, and yesterday not at all apparently. And now reading Tom's thread, he has every symptom of "Hatchling Failure Syndrome". Including coming from a breeder that told me when we got him to feed them romaine and that they didn't really need much water, he soaks them "a few times a week", etc... That changed the day we got him home, but...

He was actually a Birthday present for out 14 year old daughter. She has done most of the care of him the last few months, giving him a daily bath, making sure his lights are on in time every morning, even all summer since she's been out of School. Feeding him every morning.

Is there something worth trying? I have read of people soaking them in baby food? Is a vet trip worth it, is there something they can do? I am all but positive he isn't dehydrated, I was actually worried he may have been to wet, he likes his moist hide allot.

Thanks for any advice anyone can offer, I can see this subject has been asked and beaten into the ground, and I am sorry to ask such a newbie question. I know so much about snakes, care, husbandry, health, etc, but I feel like such a rookie in all this.

:(

Dave
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
89,010
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Hi Dave:

So sorry to hear that the little one seems to be going downhill. That's a tough problem to figure out.

Do you see any bubbles or moisture around the nose?

Have you re-checked the temp all over the habitat, at floor level?

I'm sorry, but all I know to do when a little one doesn't seem right is to put him in a smaller, hospital tank, raise the temp to about 85F overall and watch for symptoms that I can talk with the vet about.
 

Fishbone

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 21, 2013
Messages
11
Thanks Yvonne. Those were floor temps taken with an infrared thermometer. I have never seen any bubbles or anything that looks like an R.I to me.

It's happening so fast. 5 days ago Illea (our daughter) and Shana (my wife) were making videos of him tearing little pieces of cactus pads apart, 2 days ago she told me his shell was "squishy" around the edges, but he ate normally, and yesterday she tells me he slept most of the day and didn't eat much if at all. This morning his shell is very soft, and he is all but unresponsive.

I'll try moving him to a hospital enclosure with a warmer constant ambient temp.
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
89,010
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
The soft shell means that the calcium you're feeding the tortoise isn't working. Does he ever get real sunshine? Maybe your UVB light isn't providing the UVB it is supposed to. Change out the bulb and buy a UV meter.
 

Fishbone

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 21, 2013
Messages
11
The reptisun 10.0 is less than 2 months old. I have friends that are bearded dragon breeders, and they have a solarmeter, and the bulb had very good output at least 6 weeks or so ago.

He ate normally friday, next to nothing yesterday. He seemed to be sleeping almost all day yesterday, keeping his eyes closed tucked up in his shell. So you guys think it is not this "hatchling failure syndrome"? I have liquid calcium glubionate, I may try to get a little of that into him. He is not looking very good at all.

And no Yvonne, he hasn't gotten much real sunshine, an average of an hour or two once a week, but it has been inconsistent. I will take the bulb in to get it tested. :(

Is it normal for something to happen this fast? I am feeling really guilty. I haven't checked him everyday the last month or so like I did for the first few months. Shana and Illea have been doing such a good job with him, he looked healthy until a few days ago, and they love him so much.
 

ascott

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
16,147
Location (City and/or State)
Apple Valley, California
Is it normal for something to happen this fast?

Sounds as though a few months have gone past since you got him right...so if there is something going on it has been likely building for the last few months....

I would strongly suggest you get this tort outside for some natural sun and exercise and fresh air...outdoors seems to not only provide perfect uv exposure opportunity but also seems to offer a mental satisfaction that simply can not be obtained by a tort forced to always be kept indoors....and please don't think I am being harsh, but torts do live outdoors naturally so as much of opportunity to be there is so important...

How high is your uv bulb from the body/dome of the tort? 10 inches, 12 inches 18 inches? Is there any screen cover between the light and the torts path? How long do you leave the light on per day and what is the night heating source?
 

Fishbone

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 21, 2013
Messages
11
No wire mesh, it is a "rack" type of top, with about an inch between the bars. The UVB tube is about 12"-14" above him. Lights are on from about 7am - 9 pm. I am not using any additional night heating, we have been covering the cage with a blanket, and in the AM when we pull the blanket off it is usually 79-80 F in the enclosure. (I'm in FL, and even with the AC running it rarely ever gets below 78.)

I prefer blunt, no offense taken. The last time I actually handled him, helping Illea bathe him, he was as he's been since we got him in May, active, pooped in the bath, trying to crawl out of the tub, eating. Crawled in his damp hide at night to go to sleep, etc. He looks so bad right now that I have all but resolved myself that it may be too late. He is completely unresponsive. I'm trying to warm him up slowly, to see if that'll help matters. I feel like I did 25 years ago when I first started keeping snakes.... :(


And Angela, or anyone else, I agree that something was probably building. What am I looking for? He had no bubbles or mucous I could see (he is still small so I have never forced his mouth open), active, etc... The first odd sign was the soft shell, (which I had researched as a probable lack of calcium), and we added a little extra calcium powder to his food, but he didn't eat yesterday.
 

mchong9606

Active Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Jul 23, 2010
Messages
233
Hi, sorry to hear your troubles with the little tort. I don't remember the thread but I've read in the past a similar situation. Is he under a mercury vapor bulb? I feel its the best way to go when stuck indoors. He should be basking under a temperature of 100 to 105 F. Right now he is not well so he needs to be warm. So get his basking temperature up to 105 F. It sounds like he's not in a closed humid enclosure. Are you able to do that? Have a look at Tom's threads. Great information there. Nothing replaces the warmth of the sun. Depending on the weather and where you are let him out onto some pesticide free grass and he should perk up. My leopard noticeably becomes more active when outside. Let us know how he is. Good luck.

Sent from my SGH-I317M using TortForum mobile app
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
89,010
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
12" to 14" might be up too high. You really need to check at ground level with a UV meter.
 

NickWag

Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2013
Messages
140
Location (City and/or State)
Mandeville, LA
mchong9606 said:
I don't remember the thread but I've read in the past a similar situation.

Sent from my SGH-I317M using TortForum mobile app

PM EchoTheLeoTort. She had a very similar experience recently. :/
 

wellington

Well-Known Member
Moderator
10 Year Member!
Tortoise Club
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
40,447
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Unless I missed it, I didn't see a humidity listed. With those higher temps all the time, the humidity should be 80%. The temps are good but with 80% humidity.
Toms threads are below in my post if you need a refresher for raising a leopard the hot and humid way. Hope all turns out okay.
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
89,010
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
With your second post telling us the shell is soft, that is what the problem is and you can quit worrying about temp, food, light, etc. The problem is calcium deficiency. Metabolic bone disease is painful. A tortoise, whether he be adult or baby, suffering from MBD is in pain and will not move unless he absolutely has to. He'll stop eating.

It is imperative to get this baby's calcium working, and that is: provide calcium whether orally or injection, and get him either in the sun or under a UV light that you know is providing the correct UVB, and close enough to the floor of the habitat to be reaching the baby.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,442
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
I'm sorry, but this does sound like the typical hatchling failure syndrome stuff. Has he grown since you got him? Do you have gram scale? I'd love to know his current weight.

An hour or two of sunshine per week, coupled with a fresh UV tube, is more than enough UV for a hatchling. Having them outside all day is not good for them in my experience. Hatchlings do much better in the closely controlled confines of an indoor enclosure. SOME outside time is good, but it can be too much of a good thing for hatchlings.

You must choose for yourself, but at this stage, I have never seen a vet able to help. What I have seen dozens of times is people spending hundreds of dollars at the vet and the little tortoise dies anyway.

Sorry to hear you are going through this. I wish you and your family the best.
 

ascott

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
16,147
Location (City and/or State)
Apple Valley, California
I would absolutely get this little tort out in the sunshine each and every day...you can set the tort out for his soak in the sunshine---the water helps to offset the tort overheating and he is still getting the uv rays he will benefit from....if he is not eating then you will have a problem getting the calcium into him by eating...but if you will do some baby food soaks and also add some vitamins in the water while he is soaking he will absorb some of its benefits...I know some will say to bring the tort to the vet for calcium injections...here is kinda where I differ---and here is why I believe this, if you have a tort that is ailing he is in a sensitive way ..and a scary car ride, a scary picking up, probing and poking can create such stress that can literally take what fight is left in a baby away...I have no scientific report to offer as proof of this....I do know that if you have an ailing tort then the best thing is to minimize the stress....

Now, if I were you I would first understand that he may make it and he may not (this does not mean to give up....never give up, as long as you have hope he has a chance, once you see no hope he is done for, again, my opinion based on my experience)...sometimes your tort will need to depend on your "will" until his is strong enough to hold his own...

When a tort is ill it will want to hide away, not move, not eat, not be active--essentially it can sleep itself away...

I would set up a strict routine taking into account he needs to be hydrated, he needs to get sun and he needs to have his sleep interrupted a few times a day on a routine basis so he does not sleep his life literally away...torts are a strict creature of habit...so routine is what they depend on and what they seem to thrive on...

Soaking with nutrients added at least a couple times a day and can be done supervised out in the open sunshine---keep attention to the water temp--I do it old fashion style--stick your finger in the water to make sure it has a slightly cooler temp (not cold) to assure he is not able to overheat in the sunshine...I have done this and it is superb..but careful attention must occur the entire soak to assure no overheating or not roll overs in the water...and the water needs to be deep enough to reach up to the entire bottom of the shell but still allow the tort to lift his head out of the water as well as easily lay his head into the water to drink

food offered --sometimes the treat type foods can be used at this time simply to entice your patient into consuming something--

Quiet warm enclosure (set to not go below 85 degrees day and night without waiver) if you have a CHE or black light that would be better than a bright intense light...a quiet mellow place to remain warm but a little calmer..

Outside trips for natural sun should happen a couple times a day for short periods of time (like 20 - 30 minutes each outing) supervised..

Interruptions should happen on schedule as well, find him in the enclosure and let him see you and your hand slowly approaching...a slow touch to the shell if he is asleep and let him see you approaching/going to lift him...and bring him out of the enclosure, visit with him, handle him gently and sit with him calmly for awhile...let him be on your lap or hand --someplace warm and sit with him for awhile..bond with your tort...sounds silly, sounds ridiculous --but I have done this and it absolutely makes a difference...

Be patient and tenacious on your efforts....that is all that I've got to offer...

I am not a big advocate for a tort being taken to the vet in every instance...not that I don't think that there are times it may be beneficial, but I also believe that we have to understand that while torts are a hearty creature--they are severely sensitive to stress--and that stress is a huge determining factor to their overall health....sometimes we humans insist on subjecting an animal to human actions thinking that they will benefit from that ..when actually it is just a stress point...so my belief is to become in tune with the critters that depend on you and your care so that when something looks to be going wrong we can act and try to avert a huge problem..and sometimes all of our efforts prove beneficial for the critter...while other times all of our efforts don't prevent a negative outcome...so just try --be tenacious as a tortoise is by nature...
 

Fishbone

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 21, 2013
Messages
11
Sorry for the delay in any responses from me. Sheldon passed Sunday evening. I appreciate all the insight everyone has given. My daughter is crushed. When we got up for work yesterday morning, she was sitting in the middle of the floor crying, because she had gotten up to make sure is light had come on like she did every morning all summer.

To answer some of the questions though, Tom, I hadn't weighed him recently, but there had been very little growth since we got him in May. There was a little bit of visible growth visible along the edges of the scutes, but very little. This despite eating a pretty varied diet & defecating daily (usually in the bath).

As for the UVB, I had the light checked, at the same distance it was from the tortoise, and all was good. The last time I did this was a few months ago, when we bought the new tube. I have raised many a bearded dragon, and rescued quite a few with MBD (hence why I have calcium glubionate around), and this was the one area I felt pretty confident in. He didn't get as much outside time as I would have liked as I've said, not sure if this was the cause of this again.

I don't own a humidity gauge anymore, but he was far from dry. He got bathed at least once every day we've had him, usually twice. He was on a combination of cypress and coconut coir, that was also sprayed daily. He also had a moist hide. My emerald tree boas thought he was a little wet, lol. It was an open tub with a cage, so there was good air flow, hence the multiple sprayings. I took Tom's post on pyramiding to heart, I am positive he wasn't dehydrated or in a dry environment.

The calcium may have been a problem, we had originally dusted his food just a little a few times a week, and he had a cuttle bone piece in there at all times, and I saw him nibbling it somewhat regularly. I had thought he was taking in what he needed, and had started dusting less. Maybe that wasn't as good of an idea....

I want to thank everyone for the well wishes and advice. I am not going to get too discouraged by this. 'Tis up in the air whether or when we may get her another tortoise, but even if not, I want one. They have always fascinated me, and his little personality was just too cool.

RIP Sheldon/TurtleBob. :(
 

laney

Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2012
Messages
803
Location (City and/or State)
Aberdeen, Scotland
Aww that's so sad, I really feel for you and your daughter. They really do become part of the family.
RIP little one x
 

Fishbone

New Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 21, 2013
Messages
11
laney said:
Aww that's so sad, I really feel for you and your daughter. They really do become part of the family.
RIP little one x

Sorry again for the delay in any response to this post. This really got to me. It was supposedly my daughters tortoise, but I really felt like a failure after this. I haven't had an animal just die on me like that since the 90's. And I have people that just give me pythons, boas, geckos, bearded dragons, tegus, and monitors, that they think aren't going to make it, from any number of problems. And I can help them thrive. And I really loved that little leo, I had actually planned yard enclosures for him whilst she was away at college...

So the moral of the story is, we have bought Illea tortoise number two. From a reputable breeder, a little older, etc. The same way I would buy a snake, lol. I will post the details in another thread. I want to thank all those who took the time to try to help and offer sympathy...
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top