Is this year old sulcata obese...or worse

Skip K

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Have 3 Sulcatas about a year old. Two are fine...but this one appears heavy. Eats fine...is a little less active than the other two..but is active. Haven’t seen a poop from him in a soak the last two days...but doesn’t mean he hasn’t done it in the indoor or outdoor enclosures. Back ground....when we initially got the three as babies...they were all severely dehydrated...but this one was the worst...passing a huge stone on the first soak. Also had a leg problem and misshapen shell. Though the one in question seems to have overcome these problems...no more urates...leg almost normal and level walking style....the extra weight is a concern. Looks chubby all over. I’ve never had a “chubby” chelonian issue and don’t know if it’s just over eating as a stress mechanism because of the other torts...though they all get plenty of food with multiple feeding stations ( but the other two are not fat)....or if it’s damage from the breeders initial too dry environment finally catching up to him...or something else
 

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ZenHerper

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It's very hard to make an obese tortoise during the fast-growth time of youth. And if your food offerings are the same across all three, I'd rule that out (especially if they are all related).

With the history, I'd be more inclined to consider renal or cardiovascular issues. More photos, please!

Keep this wee one in conditions that are 100% optimal.
 

Skip K

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It's very hard to make an obese tortoise during the fast-growth time of youth. And if your food offerings are the same across all three, I'd rule that out (especially if they are all related).

With the history, I'd be more inclined to consider renal or cardiovascular issues. More photos, please!

Keep this wee one in conditions that are 100% optimal.
Finally got the little one to defecate using a meal of melon and soakings. And it was a massive evacuation...also urinated ( no urates). Renal issues was my first thought considering it’s start at the breeders. I wish I’d known about the breeders on this forum before ordering them. But I’m not giving up on them. They are smaller than they should be according to TFO members...but are growing steadily ( although at different rates) and “appear” very healthy. Tom said this could be a result of the dry start at the breeders. It’s been a concern since day one if their dehydration from the breeder initially is a ticking bomb...ready to go off anytime in the future ( which would majorly suck if its two...three or more years down the road). This little one had so many problems when he arrived...I never really expected to get even this far.
 

turtlesteve

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More pics. In addition to edema and renal issues, tortoises can sometimes look “fat” if their shell is not growing properly. I suspect that might be the case here. Given what you have stated so far, this one may have been calcium deficient as well (onset of metabolic bone disease). It sounds like you’ve done a great job of getting them healthy again…

Steve
 

ZenHerper

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Finally got the little one to defecate using a meal of melon and soakings. And it was a massive evacuation...also urinated ( no urates). Renal issues was my first thought considering it’s start at the breeders. I wish I’d known about the breeders on this forum before ordering them. But I’m not giving up on them. They are smaller than they should be according to TFO members...but are growing steadily ( although at different rates) and “appear” very healthy. Tom said this could be a result of the dry start at the breeders. It’s been a concern since day one if their dehydration from the breeder initially is a ticking bomb...ready to go off anytime in the future ( which would majorly suck if its two...three or more years down the road). This little one had so many problems when he arrived...I never really expected to get even this far.
You've done well! Unfortunately, animals can hit a wall if organs are too damaged (congenitally, or by neglect or illness) to keep up with metabolic/circulatory growth needs.

Hatchling "unfold" over time after they exit their eggs, so their shells can seem dented, spindled, etc. for a while. But that ultimately ends when they eat and begin growing into and stretching the soft baby shell into shape. I wonder if the shell, digestive, and other symptoms indicate a congenital issue affecting the midline. That can result in a misshapen heart, resulting in high blood pressure that drags the kidneys. Digestive organs would also be affected.

An xray could potentially reveal any of this (enlarged abnormally shaped heart, deviations in stomach/bowel placement, enlarged/shrunken kidneys, deviated spine). You'd want the film read by someone fully familiar with tort physiology. Blood tests would disclose metabolic abnormalities. Otherwise you just keep on with your careful routine and enjoy each day for itself!

If you can get fresh nopal pads, give this one in particular a periodic blob to regulate the bowel. Start using a reptile probiotic replacement to insure the digestive flora is top notch and won't be suboptimal if the constipation continues.

A dedicated habitat would help you know more exactly what's happening and when you need to intervene.
 

Skip K

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The one in question (Apollo) the day he arrived...I soaked him/her immediately and she passed a urate stone so large that I wouldn’t have believed he could pass it. The other two passed gritty urates but no stones. It took me a month to eliminate urates from all three ( I still feed them nothing dry). Apollo had a deformed carapace. Instead of a symmetrical dome like shape looking at him from the side...he looked more like a teardrop on its side ( large at the front...sloping down at a unnatural degree toward the back. The large end actually pushed the front scutes up ( almost like pyramiding )...but amazingly has grown out of that shape to some degree into a more natural shape...but the scutes are still raised a little in front. His back leg was injured ( I believe in shipping he tried to crawl up the side of the container and somehow the moist packing shifted...pinning him against the side of the container in this position with the sharp end of his carapace digging in to his rear leg “knee” joint...with most of the trip being pinned like that and jostled and bumped in the process either dislocated or fractured it). Watching him struggle somewhat with a awkward gate because of his leg looked bad. Instead of the knee bending normally...it bent in the opposite direction...like it was super hyperextended. But again...over time...he somehow grew out of it or healed...because I’d say it’s pretty close to normal now in its articulation. I woulda bet the farm it would never be normal. Apollo has had a pretty rough beginning....so of course he has become my favorite.
 

ZenHerper

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It's totally likely the dry hatchling conditions prematurely dried the carapace while still folded. Getting them into proper conditions course-corrected that.
 

Skip K

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It's totally likely the dry hatchling conditions prematurely dried the carapace while still folded. Getting them into proper conditions course-corrected that.
I’d really be distraught if I ever lose Apollo. Amazing little fellow indeed!
 

ZenHerper

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That's how they get ya! *wink*

Stay in the moment with 'm and make each day count...
 

Skip K

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More pics. In addition to edema and renal issues, tortoises can sometimes look “fat” if their shell is not growing properly. I suspect that might be the case here. Given what you have stated so far, this one may have been calcium deficient as well (onset of metabolic bone disease). It sounds like you’ve done a great job of getting them healthy again…

Steve
Thanks Steve. I’ve had scores of reptiles for decades..with most torts and turtles either rehomes or pet store rescues. Many, many different species. Many came to us with problems and pyramiding..even as little ones...but they are all thriving. This is the first time I ever ordered hatchlings...and it left a bad taste in my mouth with the poor condition they came in. I consider it a personal challenge to overcome their poor start...but it would be more heartbreaking to lose them a few years down the road...than as babies...because of their initial husbandry at the breeders before we got them. This is what’s hanging over my head.
 
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