Is my tortoise dragging her legs? How do i help?!

megan.mcguigan

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Hi, this is my horsfield tortoise, Nala. I’ve had her for about five years. She’s always been pretty active except in cold weathers and other than an issue with her eye that has been present since birth she’s generally pretty healthy and happy. I’ve recently noticed that she’s has been dragging her back legs slightly. At first i thought this might have been her nail length as due to some time issues she hasn’t been able to get outside and wear them down as much as she usually would. However, after shortening her nails she still seams to be dragging them slightly. I read that this could be due to constipation? Although she seems to be fine in that department, i have been giving her some warm soaks to aid with this just incase. Is this diet maybe? Im unsure and i hate to think that she’s uncomfortable in anyway. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!! thankyou :))
 

megan.mcguigan

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ahh i can’t seam to attach a video! if anyone knows how i can attach a video please do let me know, otherwise, this just looks as you would expect, essentially using her front legs to carry herself, almost dragging herself along, although she does use her back legs slightly :)
 

zovick

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Hi, this is my horsfield tortoise, Nala. I’ve had her for about five years. She’s always been pretty active except in cold weathers and other than an issue with her eye that has been present since birth she’s generally pretty healthy and happy. I’ve recently noticed that she’s has been dragging her back legs slightly. At first i thought this might have been her nail length as due to some time issues she hasn’t been able to get outside and wear them down as much as she usually would. However, after shortening her nails she still seams to be dragging them slightly. I read that this could be due to constipation? Although she seems to be fine in that department, i have been giving her some warm soaks to aid with this just incase. Is this diet maybe? Im unsure and i hate to think that she’s uncomfortable in anyway. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!! thankyou :))
Dragging the back legs may be a sign of metabolic bone disease (MBD). Can you post a still photo or two of the tortoise showing its shell? A view taken a bit from the side would be helpful in diagnosing MBD.
 

megan.mcguigan

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Dragging the back legs may be a sign of metabolic bone disease (MBD). Can you post a still photo or two of the tortoise showing its shell? A view taken a bit from the side would be helpful in diagnosing MBD.
A076BF98-0EC5-4CA3-AE2E-E21A98141FBD.jpeg 69DCFE97-443E-4A79-A639-FA58281CEAE1.jpeg
I hope these can be of some use.
 

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megan.mcguigan

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This tortoise has metabolic bone disease. The sloping back and the dragging of the back legs are both signs of MBD.

It may be treatable by a good reptile vet. Do you have one in your area?
ahh thankyou so much for letting me know! i’ll get onto the vet straight away :(
 

Lyn W

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ahh thankyou so much for letting me know! i’ll get onto the vet straight away :(
Hope your vet can help your poor tort.
This is the most up to date caresheet which will help you make any changes that could slow down the MBD if possible,
 

megan.mcguigan

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Hope your vet can help your poor tort.
This is the most up to date caresheet which will help you make any changes that could slow down the MBD if possible,
thankyou so much, will have a read over and hopefully find some tips that will help!
 

zovick

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ahh thankyou so much for letting me know! i’ll get onto the vet straight away :(
There is a member of this forum who has had experience with MBD. Let's see what he has to say also.
@ZEROPILOT Can you advise Megan on what she should do to help her tortoise? I told her that it appears to have MBD and recommended a vet visit.
 

ZEROPILOT

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There is a member of this forum who has had experience with MBD. Let's see what he has to say also.
@ZEROPILOT Can you advise Megan on what she should do to help her tortoise? I told her that it appears to have MBD and recommended a vet visit.
Yes
Your vet can do an xray and a blood test to check for a calcium deficiency and also prescribe a liquid CALCIUM supplement that will vary by the animals weight.
You should also lightly dust the feedings with CALCIUM WITH D-3 at least once a week and CALCIUM WITHOUT D-3 daily for a few months as well as access to sunlight or a high quality indoors T5 strip florescent UVB tube.
The damage will stop.
The pain and bone breaking will stop.
But the damage that is done is permanent.
However, if caught early, most reptiles can still live a nice long and pain free life.
 

TaylorTortoise

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He looks very dry. I would bathe him.
You definitely need to make sure you are getting the appropriate lighting for your tortoise. Please read threads on here related to MBD to help you with your tortoise and his condition.
 

Yvonne G

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I just thought I'd add my two cents: calcium needs UVB in order to work its magic inside the body. Without UVB the calcium just passes right on through.
 
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