need help Please!! (sick baby Russian)

A Carson

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Forgive me for the length of this. I'm new to this and did tons of research before getting a Russian tortoise. I have a captive bred baby 9 months old. I've had him for three months and have had tons of trouble:( i had him shipped from Nevada and i live in Minnesota. Within the first week he started having problems. I changed substrates several time with different Advice. First using coconut coir and coconut fiber.(the pet store said to use these apparently they didn't know it was the same thing lol and neither did i until now) then he got sick. Puffy eyes, Runny nose, not eating, lethargic...when i brought him in the vet thought he had an upper respiratory infection. And wanted me to give amikacin injections every 72 hours for five doses. He was getting way better. But not 100% so the vet said two more doses. By dose six he seemed better. So they said to stop at dose 7. I ended up switching substrate to coconut coir/play sand 50/50 by weight.within a few days he has a full blown RI only this time worse. The substrate was moist,humidity around 50%. The vet told me to dump it and use Timothy hay for now and felt like the substrate was irritating her more, her eyes and everything else. So i dumped and used Timothy hay. But he still went backwards and eyes were bad. So now he's wanting all possible irritants out. When i started using Timothy hay the vet had me giving eye drops ciprofloxacin. He wasn't getting better worse. So now the vet has me using paper towel to eliminate irritants until we figure it out. Wants me to continue eye drops and start up giving amikacin again this time 10 shots. I soak him every day while getting the injections. I just started giving the injection today per the vet. He's been on paper towel for three days. He eats spring mix, kale, dandelion greens, cactus pad, and now I'm growing chia for him to try. I use tnt powder every other day. All bulbs are since I've had him. Basking spot it 95 the cool side is around 78. I keep the heat on per the vet. The uvb is the long hood style. I would like to get a powersun bulb as I've seen great reviews. He has a hide and water dish that he's never gone in ever! But i soak him almost daily. I feel like I'm missing something. But it's been three long months. Im sure the antibiotics will help as they did the first time but now I'm scared to put him in that substrate. I wonder if there's an alternative. If i missed something let me know. I also use heat at night, around the same temps with ceramic heat emitter. I turned heat off with temps around 68 but that's when he's start back with a runny nose. Please help I'm desperate to get my baby better with normal eyes that he can open and no runny nose, or sneezing, biting his tongue. Thank you in advance and sorry for the long post.

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wellington

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What kind of uvb bulbs are you using? If it's the coil compact type, it's known to damage tortosies eyes. Stop using it if you are.
As for the proper care, look under the russian species section, there is a care sheet there written by member Tom. Great care to follow. Keep the temps for now while your tort is sick up around 80-85 and @Yvonne G might be able to help further. Good luck.
Oops, sorry, skipped right by the light part. Hopefully Yvonne will have an idea. Good luck, keep us updated
 
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Tom

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I don't see anything in your set up and parameter to explain this. I don't even see any clues that lead me to questions. Stump city here.

The only thing I don't see in your post is where you got him? You said Nevada, but how was the baby started? Was it left outside all day? Some people think this is good for babies. I don't. Was it soaked daily, or at least several times a week? Damp substrate or dry?
 

A Carson

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I don't see anything in your set up and parameter to explain this. I don't even see any clues that lead me to questions. Stump city here.

The only thing I don't see in your post is where you got him? You said Nevada, but how was the baby started? Was it left outside all day? Some people think this is good for babies. I don't. Was it soaked daily, or at least several times a week? Damp substrate or dry?


Finally Tom someone knows my pain!! Or feeling stumped i should say. I got him from an online breeder that had great reviews. The breeder is in Nevada I'm not sure if it was inside or out. They said they use mostly coconut coir and a little cypress mulch and mostly cypress mulch for adults. He was hatched early April. I tried reaching out to the breeder and he was blaming the vet and saying he was too young for injections and said that's probably why he was like that. He said he can't guarantee him forever. I called them within the first four days with the start of his problems. His wife just said he was healthy when he was shipped and her husband called me a smartass because i said I'm not blaming anyone and just trying to get advice since he's the one who hatched him and i never asked for my money back. There idea was to just ship him back. There's no way I'll do that. He doesn't need more stress. I was highly offended by this breeder. I posted a review on his website and i didn't say anything bad just that the customer service was not good with needing help with a sick tortiose and i went on the next day and he deleted my review. I'm very upset and torn its been a long three months. I've wanted a tortoise my whole life, done tons of research before getting him. I just don't get it. I don't want to lose him having him is a life long dream and when he's been healthy off and on, oh my he it's quite the little charmer lol He's such a doll.....i just want him better!!!!

* the uvb is not a coil bulb. It's the long tube uvb bulb
 

Jodie

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How are you measuring the temps? I am just learning about Russians, so I hope you will keep us updated. As long as he is sick, I would keep the temps up at night.
 

leigti

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I'm sorry for all your troubles with your little guy. That breeder does sound like a real jerk. that is the harshest thing I can call him here on the forum :) I would make sure the temperatures in the whole enclosure do not go below 80 Night or day. Maybe try powersun 100 W UVB. I don't see how the coconut coir could cause any problems if you kept it slightly damp and packed it down a little bit. it sounds like you're taking good care of him. I do not know anything about antibiotic injections etc. I have heard never let the vet give them a vitamin a injection because it could kill them. Some of the experts will come along soon, good luck with your little baby. I don't think the problems are on your end, maybe it started with the breeder.
 

A Carson

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Thank you so much you guys for your response. Oops i didn't think i probably should not have said what the breeder called me on here since its inappropriate. I was just saying what he said lol . i have a thermometer cage that can go on and off the wall of his terrarium. Everyday in the morning and night i take it off and directly under the basking area and cool side. I did keep the substrate moist not wet and packed it down. I didn't do that the first time and before i got home from work the substrate would be dry and dusty which i thought that possibly started it. Who knows what stated it at this point. I really wanted to get him a powersun bulb but they are so expensive! I am trying to get one as soon as possible. Oh and i use an extra large cement concrete mixer tub. It's nice and big like a Rubbermaid. And great air circulation. I wish i knew the cause and could make him better because he was getting almost 100% until i put him back on coconut coir and play sand mix. So i feel like maybe he has extremely sensitive eyes? I can't use paper towel forever and would really like him to do what he loves to, burrow .... When will he ever get better:(
 

A Carson

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I wonder what type of substrate would be on to use without using coconut coir and play sand and i wonder how that forest floor stuff is....is that cypress mulch?
 

leigti

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I personally think that the coconut coir is the best for baby Russians. But do not put sand in it because it can cause impaction. Your baby is still small enough that he could benefit from a close chamber, this helps keep the humidity and heat in. check out the enclosure section for some ideas or search "Close to chamber" in the search section. it doesn't have to be expensive or pretty, it just has to work. if you get the power son MVB you can get a large 11 inch fixture for it for 10 bucks or less at the hardware store or feed store. it would cost you 20 bucks at least at the pet store.just make sure it is a ceramic based fixture.
 

A Carson

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I thought sand was the problem too but in the beginning i didn't use sand. And same. But i did use coconut coir both times. The humidity was around 50% never wet always moist. And now that I'm using paper towels per the vets recommendations until he's better the humidity is only about 20%. That's one reason i soak daily. He does eat daily, pees and poops normal as well so that's good at least but his poor eyes and nose he's just miserable.
 

A Carson

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I personally think that the coconut coir is the best for baby Russians. But do not put sand in it because it can cause impaction. Your baby is still small enough that he could benefit from a close chamber, this helps keep the humidity and heat in. check out the enclosure section for some ideas or search "Close to chamber" in the search section. it doesn't have to be expensive or pretty, it just has to work. if you get the power son MVB you can get a large 11 inch fixture for it for 10 bucks or less at the hardware store or feed store. it would cost you 20 bucks at least at the pet store.just make sure it is a ceramic based fixture.
Thanks Heather i do have a ceramic fixture. Thinks are very hard right now financially.i paid a lot for him and vet visits have been a lot and i bought all new bulbs but i really want to get the power sun. I'll check out that chamber thank you!! I never heard about that.
 

Grandpa Turtle 144

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I would n't use any sand at all . And if you could I would like to see a pict of the enclosure and where you keep it . And do you let the Russian out to walk around or do you keep it in the enclosure ? Cause Russians don't normaly have that many problems that's why they are great starter torts . Please I'm not throwing stones just trying to help .
 

A Carson

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I would n't use any sand at all . And if you could I would like to see a pict of the enclosure and where you keep it . And do you let the Russian out to walk around or do you keep it in the enclosure ? Cause Russians don't normaly have that many problems that's why they are great starter torts . Please I'm not throwing stones just trying to help .
I would n't use any sand at all . And if you could I would like to see a pict of the enclosure and where you keep it . And do you let the Russian out to walk around or do you keep it in the enclosure ? Cause Russians don't normaly have that many problems that's why they are great starter torts . Please I'm not throwing stones just trying to help .

I didn't like the fact of using sand either that's why i threw out all of the substrate. I can take a better picture tomorrow but this was right after i switched to paper towel and had his water bowl and stone. I know you're not throwing stones I'm new to this and had advice from everyone and everyone says something different. With the coir sand mix there is barely any sand in there and it helped hold the moisture better but i still didn't like it and it seemed to irritate him:( the picture is a bad picture but it's late and lights are off. He's in my room. These least used room, with the least possible stress. I only handle him if i need to.

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A Carson

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I would n't use any sand at all . And if you could I would like to see a pict of the enclosure and where you keep it . And do you let the Russian out to walk around or do you keep it in the enclosure ? Cause Russians don't normaly have that many problems that's why they are great starter torts . Please I'm not throwing stones just trying to help .

I appreciate your help more than you know!!
 
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