Hey guys I need help...my little guy is very sick

Axolotl

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My little guy is very sick

Hey guys, so my little sulcata Tortoise is very sick. We took him to the vet and they told me that for being at least 4 months old he's very little and he has a soft shell. They wanted to intern him but we can't afford it cause we don't have that type of money. We took him home and its been 4 days and I've been trying to wake him up so he can eat or at least open his eyes but no success. How can I get him to eat again? Or at least open his eyes again? I really need help...
We bought him extra stuff like extra food to give him more protein and such. yesterday My little guy was able to open one eye but he looked kind of odd, it looked like he was trying to run or something. Since he hasn’t eaten my mom and I have been trying to force feed him and we have had some success but idk if we are supped to do that. I really need some help or nearby vets that don’t charge you that much to help us keep our tortoise Healthy. I live in CA, L.A and if you can help me in any way I’ll be so happy.
 

KarenSoCal

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Hello! I'm sorry your baby is sick.

Can you post some pics of him? From above, from below, and his head and face.

We also need pics of his enclosure and what kind of lights you are using.

How long have you had him?
Where did you get him?
Have you been weighing him? If so, what does he weigh in grams?

What temps have you been keeping him? Cool side, warm side, basking, and nighttime low?

Does he have a runny nose?

The first thing to do is make sure he is warm enough. Make the temp in his enclosure 85-90°F.

If you have a UVB light that screws in to a regular socket, turn it off and leave it off. If your UVB is like a fluorescent tube, just leave it alone.

Then come back and post the pics with answers to the questions.

In case you haven't read this, it's our up-to-date care sheet. Please read it and come back with questions.

I hope we can get your baby feeling better!

 

Tom

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My little guy is very sick

Hey guys, so my little sulcata Tortoise is very sick. We took him to the vet and they told me that for being at least 4 months old he's very little and he has a soft shell. They wanted to intern him but we can't afford it cause we don't have that type of money. We took him home and its been 4 days and I've been trying to wake him up so he can eat or at least open his eyes but no success. How can I get him to eat again? Or at least open his eyes again? I really need help...
We bought him extra stuff like extra food to give him more protein and such. yesterday My little guy was able to open one eye but he looked kind of odd, it looked like he was trying to run or something. Since he hasn’t eaten my mom and I have been trying to force feed him and we have had some success but idk if we are supped to do that. I really need some help or nearby vets that don’t charge you that much to help us keep our tortoise Healthy. I live in CA, L.A and if you can help me in any way I’ll be so happy.
Based on what you've told us, it sounds like you made to very common mistake of buying from the wrong source. Most breeders and sellers don't start these babies correctly or care for them correctly. Then they give bad advice on how to house, feed and raise them. Most vets don't know this, don't know what to do about it, and can't fix it anyway.

The info from Karen will help you understand how it should have been done, and this thread will help to explain what is probably happening: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/hatchling-failure-syndrome.23493/

If this is the case, all you can do is offer the best conditions and hydration, and hope for the best. No one, no vet, no "expert" can undo the damage that the breeder/seller did, and no amount of money can reverse it. Some of them survive and some of them don't. Either way this was not your fault, and this tortoises fate was sealed before you even got it.
 

wellington

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Put pureed baby food carrots and unflavored pedialyte in the warm soak water. Do this 2x daily. The only thing I know of that might help.
Good luck keep us posted.
 

Axolotl

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Feb 4, 2021
Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
CA, L.A
Based on what you've told us, it sounds like you made to very common mistake of buying from the wrong source. Most breeders and sellers don't start these babies correctly or care for them correctly. Then they give bad advice on how to house, feed and raise them. Most vets don't know this, don't know what to do about it, and can't fix it anyway.

The info from Karen will help you understand how it should have been done, and this thread will help to explain what is probably happening: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/hatchling-failure-syndrome.23493/

If this is the case, all you can do is offer the best conditions and hydration, and hope for the best. No one, no vet, no "expert" can undo the damage that the breeder/seller did, and no amount of money can reverse it. Some of them survive and some of them don't. Either way this was not your fault, and this tortoises fate was sealed before you even got it.
Hey thank you man, sorry for replying this late but I’ll make sure to read the info. When my dad bought Donny the
lady said to just give him a light source and we should be good. I did my own research and found out about UVA and UVB light so when I told my parents if they could buy dad they came back with an enclosure with a lightbulb. I asked them about the light and they said “The store guy told us this light was for tortoises“ and I took their word for it and now I regret it so much.
 

Axolotl

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Feb 4, 2021
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
CA, L.A
Put pureed baby food carrots and unflavored pedialyte in the warm soak water. Do this 2x daily. The only thing I know of that might help.
Good luck keep us posted.
Hey thank you so much! I’ll make sure to do that :)
 

Axolotl

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Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
CA, L.A
Hello! I'm sorry your baby is sick.

Can you post some pics of him? From above, from below, and his head and face.

We also need pics of his enclosure and what kind of lights you are using.

How long have you had him?
Where did you get him?
Have you been weighing him? If so, what does he weigh in grams?

What temps have you been keeping him? Cool side, warm side, basking, and nighttime low?

Does he have a runny nose?

The first thing to do is make sure he is warm enough. Make the temp in his enclosure 85-90°F.

If you have a UVB light that screws in to a regular socket, turn it off and leave it off. If your UVB is like a fluorescent tube, just leave it alone.

Then come back and post the pics with answers to the questions.

In case you haven't read this, it's our up-to-date care sheet. Please read it and come back with questions.

I hope we can get your baby feeling better!

1. I’ve had him for about 4 months. In the pictures below you can see how he looks before I gave him his bath and after. If you need better pictures lmk and I’ll provide better ones
2. I just recently bought him a UVA/UBV Light. I feel horrible that I just started doing this because I knew he needed it so when I told my parents to buy one they came back with an enclosure (seen in the picture) with a light attached to it (the light on the right) and when I told them if it was the right type of light they responded with “the store guy told us this is the light the tortoise needed so we bought the whole thing“ and at first I was very iffy about it but yet again ive never seen how UVA/UVB lights looked so I let it slide. After we took him to the vet and found out he was very weak literally the next day we bought EVERYTHING he needed and I went with my parents so they wouldn’t miss anything this time
3. My parents said they got him in a pet store for about $100. If you want I can send you a picture of how he was when they bought him
4. I haven’t weighted him but when I tried to weight him on the kitchen scale (grams) the line barely moves. I hope that info helped you
5. I put the thermostat near the middle of the enclosure to have an idea of what’s the average temperature and I’ve been keeping him at around 80 and at night time I’ve been leaving his UVA/UVB light on. We bought him one of those red lights but it didn’t work so we are planning on buying him a new one
6. I haven’t seen him have a runny nose

Thank you so much for the info! I’ll make sure to read it and sorry for replying this late, I’ve been quite busy lately

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Axolotl

New Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2021
Messages
9
Location (City and/or State)
CA, L.A
Hello! I'm sorry your baby is sick.

Can you post some pics of him? From above, from below, and his head and face.

We also need pics of his enclosure and what kind of lights you are using.

How long have you had him?
Where did you get him?
Have you been weighing him? If so, what does he weigh in grams?

What temps have you been keeping him? Cool side, warm side, basking, and nighttime low?

Does he have a runny nose?

The first thing to do is make sure he is warm enough. Make the temp in his enclosure 85-90°F.

If you have a UVB light that screws in to a regular socket, turn it off and leave it off. If your UVB is like a fluorescent tube, just leave it alone.

Then come back and post the pics with answers to the questions.

In case you haven't read this, it's our up-to-date care sheet. Please read it and come back with questions.

I hope we can get your baby feeling better!

Hey quick question. Is it okay if I can blend all of his food with his calcium and other nutrients and feed it to him by tube? I HATE to force feed him cause I feel like im hurting his jaw or sum
 

KarenSoCal

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Messages
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Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Some things to do...

Turn off the UVB light, and leave it off. It is contributing to his closed eyes. We'll talk about this later.

Instead of a red light, get a CHE and thermostat. The ceramic heating element (CHE) will be controlled by the thermostat, so it will turn on and off only as needed. You can buy both items at any well stocked pet supply like Petco or Petsmart. Set the thermostat at 85°F for now.

Get a digital thermometer/hygrometer combo at Walmart. Use it for checking your temps. Those round ones are always inaccurate, and they are mounted too high. You want to know the temp at tort height.

Get the tank up off the floor. That's the coldest place to be.

He needs a basking light. The best bulb to use is an incandescent flood bulb. Unfortunately, we can no longer buy them in CA, nor order them online. Maybe you still have an ordinary incandescent light bulb? A 100 watt would be good. No LED, or "replacement" bulb, or low energy bulb...it has to say incandescent on the box. This basking light is to keep him warm in the daytime. Try to get his tank up to 85°F for now. In the coldest corner of the tank the temp should never fall below 85°. This is a suitable bulb to order from Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001ORVSX6/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

If you don't have an incandescent bulb at home, you'll need to use the CHE for heat until the bulb comes.The CHE must be plugged into a ceramic socket...it will melt a plastic socket.

Here is info on heating/lighting. Hopefully it will help you understand where I am trying to get your enclosure in regards to heat and light.

4 elements of heating: By Tom
There are four elements to heating and lighting:

Basking bulb. I use 65 watt floods from the hardware store. I run them on a timer and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. I also like to use a flat rock of some sort directly under the bulb.

Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. You'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT.

Light. I use LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most bulbs at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish.

UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. If you want it anyway, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html

Trying to force feed is extremely dangerous. There is too high a chance of the food going into his trachea and lungs. This would give him pneumonia, which he most certainly cannot survive in his current condition. The best thing to do would be to go to the vet and have him place a feeding tube in the tort's neck. Then he would not choke on food.
 
Last edited:

wellington

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For now that your shell baby is sick the aquarium is fine. However, as soon as he recovers he needs a much much bigger home.
The pet stores know pretty much nothing for care of animals. They just want to sell you their junk and they even don't care if the animal lives or dies.
While baby is sick do not let the temps get below 85. Also while its sick it needs uvb every day. 3 times a week outside is okay for healthy tortoises.
Do not use red bulbs, get the che(ceramic heat emitter) mentioned for heat.
A big plastic tote from a regular store is much better for an enclosure then the small aquarium.
Be sure to have your parents read the care threads we have in this forum. All we care about is giving correct info, and that your shell baby has a great life.
 

Axolotl

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Feb 4, 2021
Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
CA, L.A
Some things to do...

Turn off the UVB light, and leave it off. It is contributing to his closed eyes. We'll talk about this later.

Instead of a red light, get a CHE and thermostat. The ceramic heating element (CHE) will be controlled by the thermostat, so it will turn on and off only as needed. You can buy both items at any well stocked pet supply like Petco or Petsmart. Set the thermostat at 85°F for now.

Get a digital thermometer/hygrometer combo at Walmart. Use it for checking your temps. Those round ones are always inaccurate, and they are mounted too high. You want to know the temp at tort height.

Get the tank up off the floor. That's the coldest place to be.

He needs a basking light. The best bulb to use is an incandescent flood bulb. Unfortunately, we can no longer buy them in CA, nor order them online. Maybe you still have an ordinary incandescent light bulb? A 100 watt would be good. No LED, or "replacement" bulb, or low energy bulb...it has to say incandescent on the box. This basking light is to keep him warm in the daytime. Try to get his tank up to 85°F for now. In the coldest corner of the tank the temp should never fall below 85°. This is a suitable bulb to order from Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001ORVSX6/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

If you don't have an incandescent bulb at home, you'll need to use the CHE for heat until the bulb comes.The CHE must be plugged into a ceramic socket...it will melt a plastic socket.

Here is info on heating/lighting. Hopefully it will help you understand where I am trying to get your enclosure in regards to heat and light.

4 elements of heating: By Tom
There are four elements to heating and lighting:

Basking bulb. I use 65 watt floods from the hardware store. I run them on a timer and adjust the height to get the correct basking temp under them. I also like to use a flat rock of some sort directly under the bulb.

Ambient heat maintenance. I use ceramic heating elements or radiant heat panels set on thermostats to maintain ambient above 80 degrees day and night for tropical species. You'd only need day heat for a temperate species like Testudo or DT.

Light. I use LEDs for this purpose. Something in the 5000-6500K color range will look the best. Most bulbs at the store are in the 2500K range and they look yellowish.

UV. If you can get your tortoise outside for an hour 2 or 3 times a week, you won't need indoor UV. If you want it anyway, get one of the newer HO type fluorescent tubes. Which type will depend on mounting height. 5.0 bulbs make almost no UV. You need a meter to check this: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html

Trying to force feed is extremely dangerous. There is too high a chance of the food going into his trachea and lungs. This would give him pneumonia, which he most certainly cannot survive in his current condition. The best thing to do would be to go to the vet and have him place a feeding tube in the tort's neck. Then he would not choke on food.
Thank you so much for this info. I think that today we are going to buy all these stuff. I cant emphasize it enough but thank you soooooo much...
also the second link you sent me doesnt work, it says error 404
 

Axolotl

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Do you mean the one to the bulb on Amazon? Weird, it works for me.

Anyway, search Amazon for this bulb.

View attachment 317594
Hey thank you for that but the Amazon link does work for me except the second one. This one: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html

Also some bad new. Just today my parents bought the pedialyte (we weren’t able to go to the pet store today but they told me that we should go tm) so when I soaked him in there his neck is just dangling and compared to the picture I literally took yesterday, he’s not keeping his head up anymore. If I tilt him to the right his head will just follow and I’m now extremely sad cause at this point I just feel like he’s dying...rn it’s 11:35 pm and maybe he’s sleepy and that’s why his neck is dangling cause he’s tired but...what should I do? I’m scared we don’t have the money to intern him but I just don’t want him to die.
 

Axolotl

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CA, L.A
(Im speaking on my parents behalf)

Hey everyone, so about last week my tortoise looked sick because we noticed that he was being less active and ate less so we took him to the vet and they told us he was lacking calcium. They told us that he had a soft shell and they needed to intern him but they told us that even though he was going to be interned nobody knew if he was going to make it. We don’t have that type of money to pay for it so we took him home. At first we thought he was getting better but later today I found him VERY weak. He can’t pick up his head anymore and it’s just dangling. I don’t want my little guy to die and we need help. If anyone around our area is able to help and take him or help us out in any way, shape or form we will greatly appreciate it. He’s in a very weak state rn so idk how much he can hold any longer. We live in L.A
Thank you for reading this and if you can help us we will greatly appreciate it
 

KarenSoCal

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Hey thank you for that but the Amazon link does work for me except the second one. This one: https://www.solarmeter.com/model65.html

Also some bad new. Just today my parents bought the pedialyte (we weren’t able to go to the pet store today but they told me that we should go tm) so when I soaked him in there his neck is just dangling and compared to the picture I literally took yesterday, he’s not keeping his head up anymore. If I tilt him to the right his head will just follow and I’m now extremely sad cause at this point I just feel like he’s dying...rn it’s 11:35 pm and maybe he’s sleepy and that’s why his neck is dangling cause he’s tired but...what should I do? I’m scared we don’t have the money to intern him but I just don’t want him to die.

I'm so sorry, but this does sound like hatchling failure. Reread post #3 by Tom. It is the fault of the breeder who kept him too dry immediately after he hatched. When this happens, there is nothing more that you can do to save him. Being too dry does permanent damage to the kidneys. As long as he is tiny they do the job, but with even a little growth they can no longer keep up. There is nothing that a vet can do either. If you took him to a vet, all it would do is separate him from you, so he would die alone in a cage. He deserves to be at home, with you.

The main thing for you to remember is that this is not yours or your parents' fault! His fate was sealed the day he hatched, and there was no more you could have done.

My heart is just breaking for you right now. I'm so sorry there is nothing left to do but make sure he knows that he is loved. 💔💐😭
 

Axolotl

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CA, L.A
I'm so sorry, but this does sound like hatchling failure. Reread post #3 by Tom. It is the fault of the breeder who kept him too dry immediately after he hatched. When this happens, there is nothing more that you can do to save him. Being too dry does permanent damage to the kidneys. As long as he is tiny they do the job, but with even a little growth they can no longer keep up. There is nothing that a vet can do either. If you took him to a vet, all it would do is separate him from you, so he would die alone in a cage. He deserves to be at home, with you.

The main thing for you to remember is that this is not yours or your parents' fault! His fate was sealed the day he hatched, and there was no more you could have done.

My heart is just breaking for you right now. I'm so sorry there is nothing left to do but make sure he knows that he is loved. 💔💐😭
I am very saddened to announce that my little guy died yesterday at around 8:30 p.m...
I feel very angry at this because I feel like I could have done things better and maybe that could have saved him from getting weak. I will not let him die in vain, I have learned so much from this experience and if one day i decide to buy a new reptile I will make sure to not make the same mistakes I did and give him a good life. Rest In Peace little guy..
 

Mrs.Jennifer

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I am so very sorry for your loss. It is hard to absorb that you made mistakes that led to your baby’s death. Please be gentle with yourself. Most times people didn’t know that they are making mistakes because there is so much misinformation out there. Compounding things, many hatchlings are not started properly to begin with. You are being held close to my heart.
 

Herman_WA

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I'm so sorry for your loss. Sorry you had to go through this, I'm sure you gave him the best care you could. Take care.
 

Jan A

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I am very saddened to announce that my little guy died yesterday at around 8:30 p.m...
I feel very angry at this because I feel like I could have done things better and maybe that could have saved him from getting weak. I will not let him die in vain, I have learned so much from this experience and if one day i decide to buy a new reptile I will make sure to not make the same mistakes I did and give him a good life. Rest In Peace little guy..
So very sorry for your loss. It's so sad.
 
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