My Greek tort just got back from the vet and isn't eating or drinking much

abe_97

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Hi all. I'm new to the forum and seeking advice on how to get my tortoise to eat and drink. A little context:

A few weeks ago, my tortoise stopped eating and drinking and was very lethargic. I took him to the vet and the vet explained how my tort's kidney levels were extremely high, the pancreas had issues and my tort had a lung infection. I was shocked because for months and months, my tort seemed to act very normal and energetic, was eating well, etc.

Fast forward 3 weeks and my tort is back home from an intensive treatment at the vet that lasted 7 days. They flushed his system, gave him fluid injections and his kidney levels are back to normal.

I now have him at home and he's running around and scratching all over (very active) since it's a hot day today - so that's good news. However, I still can't get him to eat or drink. I soak him twice daily and tried to feed him a variety of foods to encourage him to eat (collard greens, dandelions, lettuce and cucumber for hydration and a quarter strawberry as an incentive to start eating). He trampled on his food and ignored it completely. This happened even when he was at the vet - I'm worried that he won't eat or drink and I don't necessarily have injections like the vets do to hydrate him.

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks...
 

Butterfly

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I would say just to continue soaking him often, keep his water bowl full, and continue to offer him food as if he is eating. He probably just doesn't have an appetite because he just got done with such an extensive, not to mention invasive, treatment. I would think its kind of like if you just got out of the hospital and you are super happy to be home, but your appetite just isn't there yet you know? I hope this helps!
 

Yvonne G

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What species of tortoise? We can help you better if we know the species because different species eat different kinds of food.
 

abe_97

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What species of tortoise? We can help you better if we know the species because different species eat different kinds of food.
It's a Greek subspecies (Testudo graeca), he's 17 years old. For the past few days, I tried giving him dandelions, dandelion greens, cucumber, romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce, chard, collard greens. What worries me is that he's ignoring his Mazuri completely, he even scratches away from it - and he used to LOVE Mazuri, he used to jump on it and try to finish everything in one gulp. The same would happen for even a small piece of banana (very occasional and he loves that even more than Mazuri). The only thing I managed to get him to eat is strawberry, he takes a few bites and leaves half of it unfinished.

I don't know what to do at this point. I soak him twice daily, take him out in the grass to get some sun twice daily, I'm keeping an eye on his temps (it's really hot where I live right now - 30-35C during the day and very humid) and he just won't eat and just ends up sleeping. I have to give him meds every day orally and because he's not eating, idk if it helps him recover at all.

The vet said that in 1 month from now, if he's still not eating, I need to consider putting him down... This is because he stopped eating well 1 month ago, so that would mean he's just been nibbling his food for 2 whole months. I'm trying everything without any luck, something is wrong.
 

Butterfly

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So, I reread your initial post and I understand that your tortoise stopped eating and vet diagnosed him with kidney and pancreas issues. I'm thinking that he might not be eating because of the meds you give him every day. I only say this because one thing I've always been told since I was little is that you have to drink lots of water when taking vitamins and prescription medications because it can take a toll on your kidneys, so I'm thinking that its up to you weather or not you want to continue his medication, but if he is still not eating a month from now, instead of putting him down, just wait a little bit and see what he does. Maybe his body just needs a break from all the rigorous treatment he's been going through. I'm not trying to knock the doctors orders or anything like that, but what I do know is that you know your tortoise better than the vet would. Trust your gut.
 

abe_97

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So, I reread your initial post and I understand that your tortoise stopped eating and vet diagnosed him with kidney and pancreas issues. I'm thinking that he might not be eating because of the meds you give him every day. I only say this because one thing I've always been told since I was little is that you have to drink lots of water when taking vitamins and prescription medications because it can take a toll on your kidneys, so I'm thinking that its up to you weather or not you want to continue his medication, but if he is still not eating a month from now, instead of putting him down, just wait a little bit and see what he does. Maybe his body just needs a break from all the rigorous treatment he's been going through. I'm not trying to knock the doctors orders or anything like that, but what I do know is that you know your tortoise better than the vet would. Trust your gut.
Thank you for your advice. My tortoise is not eating anything but is still somewhat active (still scratching when I give him his meds) so at least he's still got some fight in him still. He's still not eating, he refuses to eat even his favorite treats (strawberry). I'm going to call the vet and see what she thinks about possibly feeding him by syringe (the same way I give him his meds orally). I'm stuck and he needs to eat, I'm hoping that will help him get better if I put vitamins/calcium in a food purée, maybe it'll help. I also tried to give him pumpkin purée since it's apparently irresistible for torts - but he's glanced over it and went to sleep...
 

Tom

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Two main issues:
1. Why did the tortoise get sick in the first place? Something is wrong with the care or housing or temperatures or diet, or some combination of things. They don't get sick for no reason. This is my big problem with most vets. They go all out treating the symptoms, but never address or correct the PROBLEM that caused the symptoms. So what are you doing differently now than you were before? Did you discover and correct the problem?
2. Drugs administered by vets can be very harsh to a reptile. The treatment can sometimes be as bad as the sickness. Loss of appetite is normal and some never recover. He's been through a very rough time with the changing environments, foods, handling and drugs. It will take time for him to settle back in. Daily soaks should help flush the system and often help improve appetite too.
 

abe_97

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Two main issues:
1. Why did the tortoise get sick in the first place? Something is wrong with the care or housing or temperatures or diet, or some combination of things. They don't get sick for no reason. This is my big problem with most vets. They go all out treating the symptoms, but never address or correct the PROBLEM that caused the symptoms. So what are you doing differently now than you were before? Did you discover and correct the problem?
2. Drugs administered by vets can be very harsh to a reptile. The treatment can sometimes be as bad as the sickness. Loss of appetite is normal and some never recover. He's been through a very rough time with the changing environments, foods, handling and drugs. It will take time for him to settle back in. Daily soaks should help flush the system and often help improve appetite too.
I'm not 100% sure how it got sick, but I know that I should've educated myself a long time ago on how to properly care for it. For the first 10 years of its life, it was kept in my room to free roam (and in an aquarium). I was a little kid when I got it, the tort is 5 years younger than me, so you can imagine the years of neglect and ignorance by my part. I started learning at the age of 17 on how to properly care for it when a reptile store owner told me that I'm slowly killing it. I got UVBs, thermometers, a somewhat proper enclosure, actual substrate and changed it's diet (it was only eating lettuce and vegetable scraps for years). Got him on calcium and vitamins too.

The past few years have been good, he's very resilient so he showed no issues and was super energetic even during winter. But I think the years of bad husbandry caught up and also I heard the whistling from his breathing, and didn't make anything of it for a few months because he was eating, drinking, exercising perfectly. I called the vet after a few months and she confirmed it was an infection. I'm thinking that's where things got worse and the infection maybe cause complications to other organs... It's my fault and I'm trying to desperately fix this now, but I feel like it's too late and I just need to hope for a miracle. I'll never forgive myself for all the years of neglect, I could've learned in my teen years, but I always though "it's fine, he's always running around and happy, I shouldn't change anything".

Anyway, this week I'm resorting to injecting food into his mouth because he doesn't eat himself so I'm hoping he can recover now...
 
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abe_97

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Two main issues:
1. Why did the tortoise get sick in the first place? Something is wrong with the care or housing or temperatures or diet, or some combination of things. They don't get sick for no reason. This is my big problem with most vets. They go all out treating the symptoms, but never address or correct the PROBLEM that caused the symptoms. So what are you doing differently now than you were before? Did you discover and correct the problem?
2. Drugs administered by vets can be very harsh to a reptile. The treatment can sometimes be as bad as the sickness. Loss of appetite is normal and some never recover. He's been through a very rough time with the changing environments, foods, handling and drugs. It will take time for him to settle back in. Daily soaks should help flush the system and often help improve appetite too.
I want to add, that I'm soaking him 3 times per day in hot-warm water, once with calcium, once with vitamins and once without anything mixed into the water. I'm feeding him twice per day by syringe, I made a liquid mix of arugula, green leaf, chard and collard greens and I add Mazuri to the mix as a boost of energy. Temps are 28c in his sleeping area and 35c in his basking area 30c in between.

It's cold outside so I can't take him out yet, but when it warms up, I'll bring him in the sun to get some UVB and fresh air (1 hour per day - can't do more, I live in an apartment building and want to supervise).
 

Cleopatra 2020

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nobody's recommended this yet but everybody recommended it to me when my tortoise was sick and I'm thinking the Pedialyte soaks with carrot baby food to get the tortoise hydrated and some level of vitamins through the carrots
 

Tom

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I want to add, that I'm soaking him 3 times per day in hot-warm water, once with calcium, once with vitamins and once without anything mixed into the water. I'm feeding him twice per day by syringe, I made a liquid mix of arugula, green leaf, chard and collard greens and I add Mazuri to the mix as a boost of energy. Temps are 28c in his sleeping area and 35c in his basking area 30c in between.

It's cold outside so I can't take him out yet, but when it warms up, I'll bring him in the sun to get some UVB and fresh air (1 hour per day - can't do more, I live in an apartment building and want to supervise).
How are you housing this tortoise? What heating and lighting are you using indoors, and what are your four temperatures?
 

abe_97

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How are you housing this tortoise? What heating and lighting are you using indoors, and what are your four temperatures?
The housing is a 5ft x 2ft plastic storage container (usually used to travel with on top of an suv). I know it's small for him and it's the best I could do for the past few years (moved apartments several times - they were all very small). This year, I'm planning to build him a larger enclosure out of wood - although it'll take some time for me to get everything together.

I have 1 concentrated 75w basking lamp for the summer and I switch it with a 100w wider-dome lamp for winter. Additionally, there's a ceramic lamp that's on 24/7 (except for hot days). I have a Reptisun 10.0 UVB bulb and lamp on 12 hours per day, I just replaced it since the old one was used for 8 months. That's lighting. For substrate, I made a mix with Reptisoil and forest floor, it's his favorite substrate, used a lot of mixes and he loves to burrow in this one the most. I mist the subtrate 2-3 times per week.
 

abe_97

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nobody's recommended this yet but everybody recommended it to me when my tortoise was sick and I'm thinking the Pedialyte soaks with carrot baby food to get the tortoise hydrated and some level of vitamins through the carrots
Does carrot baby food have sugar in it? I might try it out. But note that he's not drinking much at all, the soaks seems to help him relax and get 1 or 2 mini sips but that's it. He's getting most of his hydration from the syringe feeding (the liquid food mix I made). If it wasn't for that, he would probably just dehydrate even with soaks - he's had some really bad days. Luckily, the syringe feeding is helping a bit, he had a little burst of energy today which is good, but it fluctuates a lot from day to day.
 

Cleopatra 2020

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Does carrot baby food have sugar in it? I might try it out. But note that he's not drinking much at all, the soaks seems to help him relax and get 1 or 2 mini sips but that's it. He's getting most of his hydration from the syringe feeding (the liquid food mix I made). If it wasn't for that, he would probably just dehydrate even with soaks - he's had some really bad days. Luckily, the syringe feeding is helping a bit, he had a little burst of energy today which is good, but it fluctuates a lot from day to day.
the Pedialyte soaks into their shell to hydrate them and the carrot helps as well I'm sure it has some sugar in it it really helped our dying leopard she did absolutely amazing on it even though she ended up crossing over which was unavoidable because she had a dry hatch start and didn't develop correctly internally from the beginning
 

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