I believe my 1yo Hermann just ate a cat hairball

Agathaade

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Hi everyone,

It has been months since I have been active here because things were going so well with Miguel.

But I believe she just ate a cat hairball and am looking for advice on what to do.
Soak her extra long daily and watch her poops for the next couple weeks? Or take her to a vet stat?

I am in the process of building her outdoor pen and took her out with me so she could get some sun in the not-yet covered enclosure while I was working on it.
What I did not realize is that another animal had been visiting.
I caught Miguel with something looking like cat-sized poop in her mouth, quickly grabbed her and tried to take the thing out of her beak. I broke a large piece off.
She hid her face in her shell, with her beak open, clamping on a chunk. I could only pull out tiny pieces out with tweezers. It felt very compact and I wondered if it was stuck.
After I stopped prodding her with the tweezers, hoping she would let her head come out, she swallowed what was there, seemingly without difficulty before I could do anything
.
I inspected what I got out and it smelled not quite like poop, but definitely ‘animal’, and contained lots of thin hair. Could have been out there for weeks, I have no idea.

I also do not know how much she swallowed, but it looked like her beak was holding on to a chunk the size of maybe a corn kernel.

She is 1 year old, about the size of my palm, seems otherwise healthy, active with runny urates, if a bit small.
She lives indoors in a closed chamber with UV tube 3hrs a day/ a varied diet of greens I grow and Mazuri once a week.

Right now she is soaking, she just pooped. I plan on giving her cactus pads and chicoree as those tend to make her poop runny.

I’m attaching a picture of her taken just now. She is active when I pick her up, flapping her legs and arms as usual.

Should I wait and see or find a vet?
I am in LA.

Thank you for any knowledge you are able to share.
 

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Agathaade

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This is her soaking right now, in the pen I am in the process of expanding and covering.

I am now feeling terrible that I didn’t check the perimeter before letting her roam. Argh!

B6FC158E-9EFA-4C47-9DD9-057C689B416F.jpeg
 

Lyn W

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Accidents happen to everyone and hopefully someone will be along soon to advise you and she'll be fine.
I'm sure you've inspected the enclosure thoroughly now and maybe cover it over to keeo other animals out
 

Agathaade

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On a different thread I just saw @Yvonne G’s recommendation to feed a lettuce leaf coated with mineral oil to help things pass, I will try that now.
 

Lyn W

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On a different thread I just saw @Yvonne G’s recommendation to feed a lettuce leaf coated with mineral oil to help things pass, I will try that now.
I've never used mineral oil but cucumber also has a laxative effect and will hydrate. Opuntia gives my tort very runny poops so I have to ration it.
 

Agathaade

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Accidents happen to everyone and hopefully someone will be along soon to advise you and she'll be fine.
I'm sure you've inspected the enclosure thoroughly now and maybe cover it over to keeo other animals out
Thank you for the reassuring words.
I did find animal poop near where she was in the pen, and outside as well, so there was definitely an intruder.
I am working on extending her enclosure and building a cover.
She still lives indoors, only comes out to sun in the enclosure when we are outside with her. It did not occur to me that an animal could have climbed in, lesson learned.

This is our first incident with her, probably not the last.
I’ll wait for advice, and soak her longer and feed her mildly laxative foods in the meantime. Her behavior is very predictible so I should notice any changes.
 

Tom

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Thank you for the reassuring words.
I did find animal poop near where she was in the pen, and outside as well, so there was definitely an intruder.
I am working on extending her enclosure and building a cover.
She still lives indoors, only comes out to sun in the enclosure when we are outside with her. It did not occur to me that an animal could have climbed in, lesson learned.

This is our first incident with her, probably not the last.
I’ll wait for advice, and soak her longer and feed her mildly laxative foods in the meantime. Her behavior is very predictible so I should notice any changes.
In the wild it is normal for tortoises to eat feces from mammals and other animals. It makes up a fairly large percentage of the diet for some species at least some of the time.

I don't think a bite of cat hairball will hurt your tortoise. A vet would likely do more harm than good. Watch the appetite and soak daily for the next couple of weeks, and I wouldn't worry too much about it.

And don't be a stranger. We like to hear about it when things are going well. Its a bummer hearing only about problems. Its a "Tortoise forum" not a "tortoise problem forum". :D
 

Agathaade

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And don't be a stranger. We like to hear about it when things are going well. Its a bummer hearing only about problems. Its a "Tortoise forum" not a "tortoise problem forum". :D
Ha! I completely understand that, will do. :)

I started a new job, and other things, but it’s true that once I dialed everything in in her enclosure and her growth was stable, I neglected to update here.
I will show off her finished enclosure and newer pics. Her shell is getting a nice contrasted pattern now.
I owe this smooth first year to everything I learned here.

She is her regular self today, napping, eating, and exploring. Soaking right now.

Thank you for your guidance @Tom
 

Maro2Bear

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I agree with Tom. There‘s probably nothing at all that a vet can do. Anything other than “advice” co7ld be deleterious to your tort. Torts are wild reptiles at the end of the day and eat, nibble, digest all kinds of whacky things in the “wild”. Our job as keepers is to steer them away from poisonous harmful items & provide what they need.

I’m sure that your tort will be fine, good luck.
 

Agathaade

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I have a bunch.
They’ve been growing in there for a year. I was inspired by someone’s enclosure I saw on here that was super overgrown with weeds and lush.

There’s fountain grass, crab-grass, a big fern that send volunteers everywhere, jade bush, aloe, alyssum, strawberry rhizomes (they don’t make fruit, just grow leaves), and I threw in some pasture seed mix that I believe has vetches, clovers, johnny jump ups, trefoil, chamomille...
 
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