Heart disease and the Hermann’s Tortoise

wurthly

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I own a HT since he was born 8 years ago. Out of nowhere, he became lethargic and no longer himself. That was 7 weeks ago. We have taken him to the vet several times and received treatment via injections for renal failure and vitamin A shot. This did not change anything so we took him for a CT scan last week and they just informed us it looks like he may have heart disease. Sad
Prior to this experience, he was the most active creature. Not only crawling all over the house and greeting people at the door, but he would have multiple sessions with his stuffed bunny friend. Has anyone else experienced this or know of someone who has and what are we to expect?
Very sad in NY for my tortoise, Godzilla
 

Mrs.Jennifer

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I don't have any experience with your situation, but my heart aches for you. I hope Godzilla is not in any pain.
 

Sarah2020

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Many tortoises are wanting to brumate at this time of year and at 8 years old that could be what your seeing especially as we are in winter. Others can respond but I would have brumation in my mind as a possible cause if you have seen such a drastic change. If it is heart disease then sorry for that and make his life as comfy as possible.
 

Tom

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I own a HT since he was born 8 years ago. Out of nowhere, he became lethargic and no longer himself. That was 7 weeks ago. We have taken him to the vet several times and received treatment via injections for renal failure and vitamin A shot. This did not change anything so we took him for a CT scan last week and they just informed us it looks like he may have heart disease. Sad
Prior to this experience, he was the most active creature. Not only crawling all over the house and greeting people at the door, but he would have multiple sessions with his stuffed bunny friend. Has anyone else experienced this or know of someone who has and what are we to expect?
Very sad in NY for my tortoise, Godzilla
Heart disease would be extremely unlikely. Wild animals don't have those types of problems.

Renal failure is usually due to wrong diet and dehydration. What do you feed him/ How often do you soak him? What substrate is he on and how damp is it? What type of water bowl have you got? Pic of your enclosure would help us and possibly give us some clues.

Where did the vet inject the vitamin A? Vitamin shots are the mark of a vet that doesn't know tortoises.
 

wurthly

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I don't have any experience with your situation, but my heart aches for you. I hope Godzilla is not in any pain.
Thank you for the note. He doesn’t appear to be in pain but he is bloated looking. They are going to prescribe another medication tomorrow and hopefully it works. Fingers crossed!
 

wurthly

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Many tortoises are wanting to brumate at this time of year and at 8 years old that could be what your seeing especially as we are in winter. Others can respond but I would have brumation in my mind as a possible cause if you have seen such a drastic change. If it is heart disease then sorry for that and make his life as comfy as possible.
We thought given his age now it might be brumation or like experience but he’s so swollen and the CT scan showed signs of calcification near his heart. :(
He is a spoiled guy who gets tremendous attention and eats a healthy diet of the proper dark greens, vitamins, pellets, cactus pads and other appropriate fruits (not daily).
Hopefully he comes out of this but since I don’t speak tortoise, I need to rely on the exotic vet and their recommendations on treatment.
Thank you for your email!
 

crimson_lotus

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Tom is right - vitamin A shots mean get a new vet. The vet you are currently working with does not know enough about reptiles and probably only treats mammals. Reptiles tend to have adverse reactions to an OVERDOSE in vitamin A, whereas mammals can excrete any excess vitamin A they dont need to process.

Also curious where the calcification is
 
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wurthly

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Heart disease would be extremely unlikely. Wild animals don't have those types of problems.

Renal failure is usually due to wrong diet and dehydration. What do you feed him/ How often do you soak him? What substrate is he on and how damp is it? What type of water bowl have you got? Pic of your enclosure would help us and possibly give us some clues.

Where did the vet inject the vitamin A? Vitamin shots are the mark of a vet that doesn't know tortoises.
Heart disease would be extremely unlikely. Wild animals don't have those types of problems.

Renal failure is usually due to wrong diet and dehydration. What do you feed him/ How often do you soak him? What substrate is he on and how damp is it? What type of water bowl have you got? Pic of your enclosure would help us and possibly give us some clues.

Where did the vet inject the vitamin A? Vitamin shots are the mark of a vet that doesn't know tortoises.

not wrong diet or dehydration. He eats extremely well and the proper dark greens and pellets with fruit & cactus (these not daily but as treats).
He soaks once if not 2x a day for brief periods.
they injected him with the vitamin I believe in the soft part of his front leg. Given Covid we were not in the room with them.
I’ve attached the pics but if you zoom into the pic of him you will see how swollen his neck is.
 

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Tom

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not wrong diet or dehydration. He eats extremely well and the proper dark greens and pellets with fruit & cactus (these not daily but as treats).
He soaks once if not 2x a day for brief periods.
they injected him with the vitamin I believe in the soft part of his front leg. Given Covid we were not in the room with them.
I’ve attached the pics but if you zoom into the pic of him you will see how swollen his neck is.
What do you feed him? What dark greens do you think are proper and which pellets? How much fruit and what type?

He soaks? Or you soak him?

His enclosure is way too small. Lack of space can contribute to major health problems. Does he also have an outdoor enclosure for fair weather times?

Those ramped bowls are good for lizards and snakes, but they are death traps for tortoises.

What substrate is he on? Is it damp? What is the humidity in there and how are you measuring it?
 

Alicia1207

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Tom is right - vitamin A shots mean get a new vet. The vet you are currently working with does not know enough about reptiles and probably only treats mammals. Reptiles tend to have adverse reactions to an OVERDOSE in vitamin A, whereas mammals can excrete any excess vitamin A they dont need to process.

Also curious where the calcification is
They said the CT scan showed arteriosclerosis around the heart and swelling around the liver.
 

Alicia1207

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What do you feed him? What dark greens do you think are proper and which pellets? How much fruit and what type?

He soaks? Or you soak him?

His enclosure is way too small. Lack of space can contribute to major health problems. Does he also have an outdoor enclosure for fair weather times?

Those ramped bowls are good for lizards and snakes, but they are death traps for tortoises.

What substrate is he on? Is it damp? What is the humidity in there and how are you measuring it?
He comes out of his enclosure daily and has been very active until they started. He also goes outdoors, weather permitting. He would soak himself daily in his water bowl but now I soak him daily.
 

Alicia1207

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He comes out of his enclosure daily and has been very active until they started. He also goes outdoors, weather permitting. He would soak himself daily in his water bowl but now I soak him daily.
His substrate is a Zilla Brown Reptile Terrarium Liner
What do you feed him? What dark greens do you think are proper and which pellets? How much fruit and what type?

He soaks? Or you soak him?

His enclosure is way too small. Lack of space can contribute to major health problems. Does he also have an outdoor enclosure for fair weather times?

Those ramped bowls are good for lizards and snakes, but they are death traps for tortoises.

What substrate is he on? Is it damp? What is the humidity in there and how are you measuring it?
 

method89

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I know it seems like you are being bombarded with questions and what may come off as people being "judgy" but the more we know about the tortoises care the more we can help you correct it. Most vets have know idea how to treat tortoises and based on collective experience everything the vet is saying shows his/her inexperience. looking at his shell, you can see there was definite lack of humidity. and there is definitely some swelling going on in his extremities. i say, save you money at the vet for now as it appears they are guessing more than diagnosing. just my 2 cents.


 

Alicia1207

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I know it seems like you are being bombarded with questions and what may come off as people being "judgy" but the more we know about the tortoises care the more we can help you correct it. Most vets have know idea how to treat tortoises and based on collective experience everything the vet is saying shows his/her inexperience. looking at his shell, you can see there was definite lack of humidity. and there is definitely some swelling going on in his extremities. i say, save you money at the vet for now as it appears they are guessing more than diagnosing. just my 2 cents.


What do you see in his shell that shoes lock of humidity. The vet and exotic pet store have always said it looks great. Do you suggest to keep soaking for more moisture??
 

method89

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There are signs of pyramiding (triangular raising of scutes). His enclosure needs to be consistently 70-80%. You can't correct the past growth but you make the nee growth smooth.
 

GMDVM

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So sad to hear of your tortoise’s illness. It must be very difficult for you to see his health decline. I am sure you gave him loving care. The swelling of his limbs and neck may be edema especially if it is ‘spongy’ The fluid near the liver may be due to congestion of blood flow Both can be signs of decreased cardiac function. The findings of the CT would explain the symptoms. I would try to find a dvm well experienced in reptile care. Please keep us posted
 

Alicia1207

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So sad to hear of your tortoise’s illness. It must be very difficult for you to see his health decline. I am sure you gave him loving care. The swelling of his limbs and neck may be edema especially if it is ‘spongy’ The fluid near the liver may be due to congestion of blood flow Both can be signs of decreased cardiac function. The findings of the CT would explain the symptoms. I would try to find a dvm well experienced in reptile care. Please keep us posted
They want to put him on lacix injections.
 

GMDVM

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Lasix is a diuretic- it will help decrease edema but it can also cause kidney function to decline. He will need hydration and humidity to counter this. It is a balancing act , but the edema is dangerous if it involves the lungs. Observe for increased effort to breathe. I am hoping that with adjustments to his diet and enclosure the calcification near his heart might improve. I wouldn't supplement calcium for now. Some TF members recommend " carrot soaks" to aid with hydration and nutrition of a debilitated tortoise- you will find that information in the forum. Every bit helps .
 

Alicia1207

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Lasix is a diuretic- it will help decrease edema but it can also cause kidney function to decline. He will need hydration and humidity to counter this. It is a balancing act , but the edema is dangerous if it involves the lungs. Observe for increased effort to breathe. I am hoping that with adjustments to his diet and enclosure the calcification near his heart might improve. I wouldn't supplement calcium for now. Some TF members recommend " carrot soaks" to aid with hydration and nutrition of a debilitated tortoise- you will find that information in the forum. Every bit helps .
Thank you. I will look up a carrot soak.
 
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