I got him but can I SAVE him?

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LuckysGirl007

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I went and picked up the Ornate Boxie that I have been watching on Craiglist for several weeks now. It's posted in a couple threads on here. I just couldn't leave him there any longer.

This owner "R" got him from someone else. They had him in a sweater box size rubbermaid container. They told her he was 1 year old! They only fed him meal worms. His shell was "very dry and flakey" and "R" had to scrub it (with what?) and it "looks much better now".

"R" thinks he is about 3 months old. She had him in a 10 gallon tank with what I think was coconut fiber and regular desert dirt mixed in. The tank was previously used for RES and the water marks were still visable so I don't think it was cleaned very well. The tank has a regular aquarium hood on it with a regular light bulb. She had an under the tank heating pad on one wall and said she leaves it on all the time. She said she had been leaving the windows open and night and it got a little cold where he was. He had a butter tub lid for water (and actually had water in it) and a log hide. The top layer of dirt was pretty dry. He has been feed only meal worms "about 5 every other day". I doubt she has ever seen him eat any...there were several in the substrate crawling around when I emptied the tank. She said he wouldn't eat any fruit or greens...(probably since they couldn't walk away she knew he refused them). She handed me the "mister bottle" that he came with...it was a "No more tangles" spray bottle but she assured us there was only water in it now. I told her she could keep it because I have a lot of spray bottles. She gave me the jar of calcium supplement she had but added that she never used it. UGH! And I am sure he didn't get outside to get any sun! She told me she had a friend e-mail her a bunch of care sheets but she never really read them. I asked her to send them to me and texted her my e-mail...but it's almost 12 hours later and I haven't gotten anything. :(

When I got him home I took him out for some photos first and then put him in a VERY shallow soak and took him outside in the sun. I worked on his new enclosure (20 gallon long aquarium). <see photos>

I put him in his tank on the rock right under the heat lamp to see what he would do. After about 10 minutes he only turned in a half circle. I checked the temp and it was around 90* under the lamp. Since it was around 5 I figured I would feed him some of the meal worms on top of some spring mix and a little calcuim powder. The worms were very active but he didn't move at all. One even climbed out of the bowl and right over to him. He didn't budge. After about 30 minutes I picked him up and put him in the water. I was getting suspecious that his legs weren't working right and figured he would have to try to get out of the water so that was the best way to see. He tried...but his front right leg didn't really seem to help him move around. His back legs moved but weren't getting him anywhere. I took him out of the water and put him in an area of the tank that had no moss (only the coconut fiber) thinking that MAYBE he just couldn't get around in the moss and even though I think the water dish is shallow enough maybe it's not. There is a hide right behind him now and the heating pad thing is right behind the hide. I thought he would go right to it....he's moved about an inch and a full rotation. The temp where he is currently sleeping is around 80*. I covered the tank with foil and put a CHE on the opposite end of him. I left 1/4 of the tank uncovered. He also has not retracted at all...is this normal?

I suspect maybe he is MBD. (can they even get that this young?) Although after seeing the "Baby Runt" sullie I picked up a few weeks ago I suppose it's possible he is one year old. :( His eyes and nose are clear. He did not pee or poo in his soak...but it's only day one.

I really need some advice on how to help him. I know lots of calcium and sunshine for sure...but how should I get the calcium in him? I wouldn't worry about the eating except that I doubt he has eaten in a while already...who knows how long.

This is the enclosure I set up for him. Two bricks of coconut fiber and then the moss on top. The large plate is his water. The light was only on over head to try to warm him up and see if he would eat. Please, any suggestions or ideas? I think I am going to have to take the moss out in the morning because there is no way he can get around on it. Maybe I should even put damp paper towels of the substrate to make it easier for him to move around?

turtle2.jpg


turtle.jpg


I tried to get as many different angle shots I could. I took these first thing before his soak. His shell seems to be deformed.

turtle9.jpg


turtle8.jpg


His plastron is REALLY pliable...more so then my 10 week sullies. I assume that has to do with possible MBD?
turtle7.jpg


turtle6.jpg


turtle5.jpg


Thanks so much for looking! Any help, advice, comments...ANYTHING would be very much apprieciated! I'm so worried about him!
 

dmmj

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The pliable shell could just be from not a lot of calcium, those long back nails could tell a different story. I would dust what ever live food you are gonna feed him with calcium, at that size he will prefer live food for now.
 

dmmj

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sure they can but long weird looking nails can sometimes be a sign of MBD.
 

LuckysGirl007

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Ahhhh! Ok. Didn't know that.


Also, what foods would you think is best? The wax worms Petsmart had were mostly dead today. Everything else seems too fast or too big. The only bugs I see around my house are earwigs and stupid ants.
 

dmmj

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Pill bugs, snails, slugs, earth worms, night crawlers.
 

jtrux

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I know you can do it, he doesnt look all that bad but I think warm soaks in the sun would be a good start. Also some vitashell to moisten his shell would be a good idea. Before you give him the meal worms fees them some dusted greens so that hes able to get a little more than just that crap they are shipped in. If you can get some small earth worms and cut them up, they migjt be easier for him to eat since they are soft and if you can get some wingless fruit flies and serve them on a dish, he might be inclined to eat them too.
 

shellysmom

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Ummmm.... maybe I'm seeing things, but do his back legs look a little atrophied to me, and his beak looks messed up. Take him to the vet when you take Lumpy. I'll pay for it.
 

shellysmom

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After looking at the photos again, his head looks way too big for his body, meaning he could actually be a year old, but the rest of his body didn't grow right. Also, it looks like he's puffy in area where his back legs come out of his shell. Adema, maybe? Not good. And, I really think his back legs are deformed. It almost looks like they're kind of bending the wrong way... I'm so glad you got him, Kim. It breaks my heart knowing for every one of neglected guys we see on CL, there are probably 10 sitting around wasting away in little tanks, or sweater boxes, or whatever. Heartbreaking.
 

LuckysGirl007

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Thanks guys! I'm going to try to get him in with the vet today. I'm ink tears right now cause I feel SO bad for him. Hopefully they can help him and help me help him. I can only imagine the pain he has probably been in. Even if the only thing I can do is end his suffering...at least that's something. :*(
 

yagyujubei

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I have seen much worse. I think that with plenty of food, sun, water and proper care, he can be turned around.I would offer as much meat type food as he wants, both alive and canned cat food, reptomin (soaked) turtle brittle. I wouldn't worry about greens just now. He needs nutrition and proper light. Good Luck.
 

Yvonne G

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Start him on baby food soaks with black worms in it. Black worms are those teeny, tiny worms you buy to feed aquarium fish. Use Gerber strained carrots. Until you get him interested in eating on his own, the baby food gets a bit of nutrients into him.
 

LuckysGirl007

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emysemys said:
Start him on baby food soaks with black worms in it. Black worms are those teeny, tiny worms you buy to feed aquarium fish. Use Gerber strained carrots. Until you get him interested in eating on his own, the baby food gets a bit of nutrients into him.

When I do the baby food...what is the food/water ratio? Or is there no water? I assume I warm it up? Should I add some liquid calcium to the mix also?

So far he hasn't opened his eyes this morning. I'm getting ready to go to the store now so I will pick up the baby food there.

Are the black worms alive?
 

Spn785

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I had an ornate box turtle when I was a kid, and at first the only thing I could get him to eat was strawberries, which he would go nuts for. Maybe try and see if he'll eat one just to get some kind of nutrients into him.
 

terryo

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I'm assuming he's over a year old, and although I've seen worse, his legs and nails are an indication of MBD. Baby food soaks...carrots are good. Add a small amount of warm water. Keep him warm....your set up is good IMO. Warm humidity from a spray bottle is good, but a trip to the Vet is best....if he is a good reptile vet.
 

yagyujubei

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Quite frankly, I'm not sure just what a vet could or would do. This is husbandry related, Usually a veterinarian knows very little about this. I have a more pragmatic view. If you believe that this is something that a vet can fix, OK, but I think this little guy could do without forced feeding, vitamin shots, calcium shots, or anything else a vet can offer. I would save my money, if he doesn't begin to thrive under his new care, then he'll probably die. I really don't think there's anything a vet can do , in this case, except lighten your wallet.
 

greyshirt

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If he was an adult I would agree with Dennis. Babies die much quicker just like human babies do. He needs emergency care, and gavage(force feeding) and vitamin injections get the nutrients in the body much faster. Some low fat canned dog food sprinkled with calcium would be good in the beginning. As others have said warm soaks, lots of sunshine. Wax worms etc. don't have a lot of calcium, so feeding calcium soaked greens to the worms is also a good idea. With proper care he should pull out of it, although it may take some time and patience. :(
 

LuckysGirl007

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jtrux said:
I know you can do it, he doesnt look all that bad but I think warm soaks in the sun would be a good start. Also some vitashell to moisten his shell would be a good idea. Before you give him the meal worms fees them some dusted greens so that hes able to get a little more than just that crap they are shipped in. If you can get some small earth worms and cut them up, they migjt be easier for him to eat since they are soft and if you can get some wingless fruit flies and serve them on a dish, he might be inclined to eat them too.

I got the meal worms in a tub with some yummy greens sprinkled with calcium powder. Do you thinking should like totally powder the whole thing up? Where can I get wingless fruit flies? Maybe Pratt's...a smaller store near us with a lot of reptile stuff. It's kinda dirty and I didn't like the way they kept the animals....but fruit flies would be ok to buy there. I will just call around I guess. I have Vitashell also...you think every day? Or 3 x a week?


yagyujubei said:
I have seen much worse. I think that with plenty of food, sun, water and proper care, he can be turned around.I would offer as much meat type food as he wants, both alive and canned cat food, reptomin (soaked) turtle brittle. I wouldn't worry about greens just now. He needs nutrition and proper light. Good Luck.

Thanks for all the encouragement. I'm gonna try it! I won't give up yet! What cat food do you recommend? I have some good canned DOG food from when my Pom was sick. It's beef with rice and chicken with veggies or something. Do you think that work? Should I try to feed him several times a day?


Spn785 said:
I had an ornate box turtle when I was a kid, and at first the only thing I could get him to eat was strawberries, which he would go nuts for. Maybe try and see if he'll eat one just to get some kind of nutrients into him.

I will try that also. When my Pom was sick I would hand-feed him 4 times a day...I would just try a buffet of everything to see what he would eat. Thanks!


terryo said:
I'm assuming he's over a year old, and although I've seen worse, his legs and nails are an indication of MBD. Baby food soaks...carrots are good. Add a small amount of warm water. Keep him warm....your set up is good IMO. Warm humidity from a spray bottle is good, but a trip to the Vet is best....if he is a good reptile vet.

Thanks for posting! The rep vet I saw last week with "Baby Runt" seemed pretty knowledgable on sullies at least. He was really nice BUT wasn't big on me rescuing torts. His first concern was to tell me not to mix continents. I told him I knew not to mix species at all. He then said that the same species can still really harm each other even when kept separate because of cross contamination. He said even if I was careful just stepping from one enclosure to the other could be enough to prove dangerous. I will see him again...but I hope he's just a little more supportive this time. I know guys usually aren't, but I'm doing what I think is right.


yagyujubei said:
Quite frankly, I'm not sure just what a vet could or would do. This is husbandry related, Usually a veterinarian knows very little about this. I have a more pragmatic view. If you believe that this is something that a vet can fix, OK, but I think this little guy could do without forced feeding, vitamin shots, calcium shots, or anything else a vet can offer. I would save my money, if he doesn't begin to thrive under his new care, then he'll probably die. I really don't think there's anything a vet can do , in this case, except lighten your wallet.

I've been thinking that also. However, I wonder if trimming his nails and maybe checking his beak would be helpful. Those toe nails look like they make it impossible for him to get his legs under him.
 

yagyujubei

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Dog food is fine too. I feed my babies dog or cat food about once a week. I think all you have to do is get this guy eating regularly, and I'll bet his shell will get back to pretty much how it should look. Right now, I would offer food (different types) several times a day. See what he'll eat. Keep him warm, Sunlight or UVB light. He probably won't bast, but even a little would be of benefit. Water, enough that he can soak. If he wants to sleep, get him up and feed him.
 
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