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Leopard tortoise rescued - health concerns

Discussion in 'Tortoise Health' started by Roughfxr, Apr 16, 2015.

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  1. Roughfxr

    Roughfxr New Member

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    Hello all! I am new to the forum, I am quiet member as I enjoy reading/researching this forum. I have over 10 years (20 if you want to include anole keeping and breeding as a youngster) of reptile keeping and breeding. I have kept and bred the simplest of lizards (anoles beardies etc) to more demanding GTPs. Currently i only have a few spiders, 2 frilled dragons, and now 2 tortoises..I have had my run with rehabbing multiple beardies, snakes with uri, mouth rot, etc when I worked part time at a pet store many years ago... I have spent a fortune with a herp vet and learned a lot. I LOVED educating people with proper upkeep, and the exciting world of herps..

    Recently I have moved to texas and after getting my mother a hermanns tortoise (as she has been mentioning wanting one for years) I decided to dip my toes into the tortoise world. I was hooked after keeping the lil fella only after a cpl weeks. I did a lot of research and ruled out many tortoises that didnt seem like a right fit for me. Size, personalities etc... I lucked out and found a local breeder of Indian stars. Well, she's (nebula) just a shining ray of sunshine! :)

    Anyways, to get to the point - I am trying to get at is I do my research, I am up on my husbandry skills and always finding ways to improve my animals quality of life, I am also new to tortoises. I had a mata mata for quite some time Years ago but never tortoises.. After getting nebula the star, I came across a local who had a leopard tortoise for adoption. Free, as it was ill. I figured with some tlc, i could have a tortoise to keep outdoors (weather permitting) and interact with! (as nebula - as great as she is, still is quite shy) so i offered to take it in, sub adult approx 6 inches... He died before I got home (10 minute drive) the next day I texted the guy to let the him know (he mentioned other tortoises) what had happened and I wanted to educate him on what to look for and what he should do to prevent this in his others. Pay attention to the eyes, appetite, poops, etc... Warning him these things caught early = best results.... He contacted me later that day to tell me the other one who was older one "didnt look right." I told him of a local vet who I was planning to take the other too, I have a newer relationship with this vet as my previous herp vet (20 yrs in practice) is in another state... From what I can tell, this one seemed fairly educated on reptiles when I took him fecal samples from my frilleds as a part of routine check up.. He mentioned treating snakes, other lizards etc... I was also recommended from the local herp show to this vet.. During the coarse of the conversation the owner asked if I could take this one as he was worried about it. I agreed and upon pick up, this one at least had its eyes part of the way open.... A bit of lethargic. This was Saturday night. I rushed him home, immediately started rehydration by putting him in the tub. He drank, and then laid there lifeless... I quarantined him and got the temps up in a open top tub, 90-95 degrees by heat mat, alternating with emitter and day lamp in attempts for light cycle and maintaining higher temps. Sunday. Soaked him in petialite and baby food carrots x 2 approx 45 mins each time. This perked him up, eyes open and a bit more movement. Not much, as the situation wasnt getting much better for him, but he wasnt degrating either... Monday morning came along, I took him and had to drop off at the vet. Provided a list of symptoms and history (kept outdoors, wet conditions, poor diet, no hide box w/heat at night) bubble nose, wheezing, no appetite, lethargy.... Vet wanted to take X-rays... I told them lets try an antibiotic and re evaluate in a day or two.. (X-rays 200$, I figure I could spend this money at vet I found by word of mouth who specializes in torts but short notice I couldn't get the time off such a short notice to get clear out there- and if the situation wasnt going to improve i could have made it later in the week) vet prescribed baytril - one dose given lh arm and I took the other one. Tuesday this guy is eating (only ate strawberries, I cannot get interest in anything else) I figure this was better than nothing for the moment, as I don't know when his last meal was and what... So wed still improving, no bubbles present, I've been cleaning around his eyes daily and removing the boogers and dis colored reddish brown gunk (dirt,body fluids??) I got him to eat quite a bit of greens as I had to slice one strawberry in many thin slices and mix it in with watercress, argula(prev ower states it was his fav green), dandelion greens, a cpl pieces of spring mix lettuce and oxbow herbivore sprinkles. He ate approx %70 of what was offered. (Including the greens!!) Keep in mind I've still had him dry and soaking x3 daily approx 30-60 mins each time and maintaining warmer water.. Thursday (today) eyes are open, more active than ever but still looks terribly dehydrated. Eyes still sunken in, hardly ate anything at all today and this evening when soaked he excreated a few piles of white strands... Worms, mucus?? I don't know... After his soak, he was fully of energy, eyes wide open but I did notice his eye lids are puffy looking.... I decided to place him in the giant vision cage I had in storage, I used newspaper a the bedding so I could monitor poops... And keep it drier.. I have dropped the ambient temps to around 85-87 night time, and ambient will remain the same with basking of 95 during the day.. i have not given him his 2nd baytril injection as directed by the vet as I was suppose to the next day... i didnt want to resort to antibiotics in the first place... but the sitution didnt seem to be improving and i felt like i needed to act quickly. I think the tortoises have been sick awhile when I got them... i am afraid with his dehydrated state, along with malnutrition, I may be causing more damage... I have made friends with a couple of the local tortoise keepers that have been guiding me well thus far. But I am now reaching out to the members in this community to help me with the next few critical steps... Any and all advice will be appreciated. Some of you senior members seem to be quite savy on this subject so I am anxious to hear what is next. As my rescues in the past have made big progress by day 5, but these were snakes and lizards....or for the not so fortunate ones didnt make it by day 5..

    1. What signs other than sunken eyes will indicate dehydration?
    2. Approx how long till I see the dehydration with 3x soaks daily start to improve?
    3. The 2nd dose of baytril, should I give it to him? Or am I doing more harm by not, in case the bacteria becomes "resistant" much like if humans don't finish the coarse of antibiotic.
    4. What other healthier choice foods can I offer to stimulate feeding? Other than strawberries.. I have tried carrots, dandelion greens, dandelion flowers, watercress, spring mix lettuce, corn (prev ower mentioned fawn of it) mixed with tortoise diet
    5. When should I start adding humidity to the enclosure?
    6. Was an X-ray nessary?
    7. Do you recommend different temps durning this recovery period?

    From what I understand tortoises can take months somtimes to heal and recover. I will be keeping him in the giant vision cage with power sun bulb and reptile sun tubes/ plant tube light from Home Depot for supplemental lighting. Once he is eating, and drinking and appears normal he will go outside in a tortoise pen part grass and other part old sand box for those warm texas days. but i think he will be brought indoors at night and kept in on poor weather days... previously he has been kept outdoors nearly year around with no hide box to retreate to at night. the guy told me they stayed outside as the sucatas went into the box at night... i guess i wouldnt want to share a house with a territorial adult male suclata either... I am seeking advice of what to do next and should I change anything currently. Thank you in advance! :)
  2. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Most leopard tortoises are allergic to Baytril and they die from it. I certainly would NOT use it on a leopard tortoise.

    Can you give lactated ringers sub-Q? That might help hydrate him faster than the soaks. And you can add some electrolytes to the soaking water too.

    I set up sick tortoises in a hospital tank. This would be a smaller tank that can be covered, sort of like a neo-nate incubator. Keep the temperature overall 80-85F degrees. No need for fancy decorations in this tank. A moist towel on the floor and a hiding place are all that's needed.

    I think the x-ray was needed in order to rule out stones.

    You can offer romaine lettuce to get him interested in eating. Then maybe later some endive and escarole.
  3. Jodie

    Jodie Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    The piles of white strand sounds like urates. This is a good sign. Should be creamy like toothpaste not hard. I agree on stopping that antibiotic and would do xrays. Would show stones and if the lungs look ok. Hot and humid is going to be this guy's best hope. Romaine is usually a favorite, and great for hydration.
  4. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    When there's a lot of mucous coming out of the cloaca it sometimes means flagellates. Once you get this tortoise up and running it might be a good idea to take a stool sample in to check for parasites - both kinds, common and protozoa.
  5. Momof4

    Momof4 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Bless your heart for rescuing this guy!
    Good luck with his recovery, and hopefully he will soon be happy and growing like a weed!
    Jodie likes this.
  6. BeeBee*BeeLeaves

    BeeBee*BeeLeaves Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I second the word of caution from Yvonne about Baytril. It is not approved for tortoises according to what I was given in writing by the maker from their offices in Germany. This could be that they are required to pay the USDA money to do so. In 2005, it was made unlawful to use it on chickens due to major concerns, of which I cannot remember what they were right now. But for whatever reason, DNA or otherwise, leopards can die from it. The Tortoise Trust in UK has also made statements on this. Please be careful.

    Probiotics help in my opinion, so keep that in mind to help these little guys get healthy and strong. And thank you for taking them on in their time of need.
  7. crimson_lotus

    crimson_lotus Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    One sign of dehydration is if the white stuff he pooped out is gritty. Like Jodie said, the urates should be smooth. Many dehydrated tortoises also get stones, and an xray like Yvonne suggested would be helpful. An x-ray would also help finding out if he has pneumonia, although the treatment would still be the same as a lower respiratory infection. I think if he did have pneumonia antibiotics would need to be administered. My doctor used Fortaz when my tortoise had pneumonia, and not Baytril. Cleared up in about 5 months.
  8. Roughfxr

    Roughfxr New Member

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  9. Roughfxr

    Roughfxr New Member

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  10. Roughfxr

    Roughfxr New Member

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    I was skeptical about the baytril. I did monitor for reaction. i have read both the warnings and the Better outcomes.. I am very hesitant to give the second shot. I will hold off. I will take him to the tortoise specialist here in dallas this week and I will get the X-rays and any additional treatment if nesassary. The good news is he ate again today. Also super active in the tub and after he got out. More mucus substance came out, this time more wormy looking. The photo posted was from last nights excretion.. Where does one find the ringers? I am familiar with the stuff, I used it quite freq when I was in the army as a medic. As far as sub q injections, where exactly is best for them? I am assuming somewhere in the front, as I read nothing takes well in the 2nd half of their body. His spirits are higher, especially after I took him out of the nursing tub. I have been frequently checking both daytime and night time temps with my temp gun in the cage to monitor where temps are.

    If he had stones, what is the treatment and prognosis?

    Thank you all again!
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  11. crimson_lotus

    crimson_lotus Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    That doesn't look like urates to me...hopefully someone more experienced can come along. I would definitely get a stool sample to check for parasites and flagellates. I feel like doing both treatments (the RI injections and the de-worming) at the same time would be a bit much since the de-wormers can be taxing on their kidneys, but please someone else confirm or deny that.

    The front legs are the best area for injections because I was told by my vet if injected into the back legs they can just excrete it with their next bowel movement. I would always switch legs and places on each injection.

    Bladder stones, if small enough, can pass normally through their system. The larger ones can either be broken down into pieces or surgically removed. The treatment I think would just be to correct their diet and soak them more often to keep them hydrated. Also offer them water in their enclosure.
  12. Roughfxr

    Roughfxr New Member

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    Progress! After having him one week, I finally got a real poo! This time no mucus. It appeared somewhat normal consistency, and a good amount. Although I don't know what is a "normal sized/amount" for this guy. After he went, I also notices a couple of dark clouds, almost like cloudy urine. No urates... I know us human's urine will change color with antibiotics, so would this be urine? He went outside for about an hour, warm texas sun his temps stayed 87-90 degrees while outdoors. He even grazed a little on the grass. He is gaining strength and increasing appetite. I know that we aren't out of the dark yet, but I am so ecstatic to see any progress!

    I did notice runny eyes when we came back indoors. No bubbly nose, no more wheezing.. Can anyone comment on this, and rather or not those turtle eye drops at petsmart (for vitamin A deficiency) would be of any benefit with this guy?
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  13. michiganice91

    michiganice91 Member

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    That definitely looks like a round worm to me. I would treat this animal with a couple rounds of panacur at the very least to de-worm it. You should notice dead worms in the stool which means its working. Also the runny eyes to me sounds a LOT like an indicator of Internuclear coccidiosis (IC). In my opinion you should probably treat this animal with toltrazuril (baycox) as a precaution. If it dies suddenly within the next few days its almost certainly that. Or it could be a carrier of IC and when the conditions are optimal, the tortoise will suddenly die one day. It's a real SOB of a disease.
  14. Lyn W

    Lyn W Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Sounds like he is in good hands I do hope he gets better soon
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