New Tort Grandma

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anagy007

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Hi! I am calling myself Grandma because our little guy is my 8 year old son's. (I will be doing most of the care until he's responsible enough).

Anyway, we have a Russian Tortoise named Raphael that we purchased from Petco on Sunday. We live in the Tampa, Fl area. He's a sweetie and I can't stop watching him and checking on him.

I have a lot of questions... :) but I'm not quite sure where is the right place to ask them. For instance he had his vet visit today and he has nematode eggs in his stool?

Vet wasn't sure what kind. possibly hookworm.
Should I not let my son handle him? How likely is infection to a human?
Should I replace the substrate? Vet said to just spot clean when I see the poop.

Oh, so many questions. If there is a thread on this already I'd appreciate anyone pointing me there.

Thanks.

P.S. So happy we got him. He is a great addition to our family. Hubby, 16 year old daughter, 8 year old son, 6 year old Border Collie/Lab mix and now Russian Tortoise.
 

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Jacqui

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Hi and welcome! There is no reason your son can not handle the tortoise, as long as your there watching him and then as soon as he is done, he goes and washes his hands really well. The Vet put her on to worm meds I assume? Myself, I like while the tortoise is getting treated for worms, to use just paper towels or newspapers. Easy to just toss and then completely clean the tank when all done. Otherwise I would have fears a stray egg would be in the substrate and reinfect my tortoise. Of course a few worms is normal for them to have, it's the big loads you need to worry about. So how did you decide to get a tortoise?
 

wellington

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Hello and Welcome:) I too would use paper or paper towel as a substrate until the worming process as gone through its course.
 

Minority1

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This would be a good opportunity to teach your grandchild some responsibilities at an early age. Teach them the proper steps on taking care of the tortoise and give him a checklist of things to go by as a reference. Give periodic checks if need to and they'll eventually learn that its a big task to care for another being.

Also I would strongly recommend asking questions before seeking medical help unless its a dire situation. Not many vets have had enough experience with tortoises so it would be safe to double check with fellow members with experiences similar to yours before going further.
 

anagy007

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Thank you so much everyone. The vet seemed pretty knowledgeable although I don't think he's a reptile specialist. He gave us panacur, 2 small pouches, 1 for today and one for 3 weeks later. Then follow up a week after that by just bring in a stool sample.

When you folks say paper towels, do you mean like bounty? and for how long? Won't he be supremely unhappy? We did a great bit of research setting up his habitat. Cement mixing tub with cypress mulch and eco-earth substrate, and he loves to dig in it. If I give him only paper towel won't he be really upset?

Also, we have been taking out and letting him roam on my son's floor, which is carpeted. How would I ensure that there are no eggs there. He has never defecated on it, would a good vacuum do the trick?
 

anagy007

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Jaqui,

We decided to get a tortoise for my son. He wanted a pet of his own for his birthday which was in November. We researched many different types from chinchillas to fish. He fell in love with the idea of turtles. Then researching the care of turtles we thought a tortoise would be easier than the water tank mess of an aquatic turtle. In our family pets are members of the family so we didn't want to get something that we could keep happy and healthy.

We waited a loooong time to make sure that it was what he really wanted. We did tons and tons of research and this forum was one with sooooo much great advice.

When looking at different types of tortoises my son fell in love with the russian.
 

anagy007

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Minority1 said:
This would be a good opportunity to teach your grandchild some responsibilities at an early age. Teach them the proper steps on taking care of the tortoise and give him a checklist of things to go by as a reference. Give periodic checks if need to and they'll eventually learn that its a big task to care for another being.

He's my son. LOL. I'm grandma because he is Raphael's tortoise Daddy. :)

He has been involved from day one in the research and preparation. He also handles Raphael very well. He washes his hands before and after handling him. He feeds him, soaks him and cares for his habitat. I guess after all I am just the checker. Check the lamp is turned on when it's supposed to, the humidity and temp are right, etc ...

I think it's important he knows what his baby needs so that eventually when he grows and moves out he will be well prepared to take Raphael with him.
 

Minority1

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The paper towel/newspaper is a temporary substrate solution. The idea is to house your tortoise in a smaller enclosure while it is being treated for worms. Temperatures are easier to regulate and you'll have more control of everything. Better safe than sorry.
 

anagy007

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UPDATE: So, I was able to get Raphael to take the Panacur by putting it in a tiny cabbage burrito. He just loves cabbage. The next day I soaked him til he pooped. Low and behold tiny little white worms. So this leads me to believe it is most likely pinworms as hookworms are microscopic and round worms would be longer. I have changed his habitat and lined it with newspaper and a layer of cypress mulch. I can lift out the paper with the mulch easily. I spot clean when I see it. Hopefully, we can get our little guy clean inside. :)

P.S. Petco was no help. I called and asked if they reimbursed for the panacur doses. They asked me why I took him to the vet. They have a 15 day policy that if anything is wrong they will take him and treat him. But now that I have treated him they can't help. He has no symptoms. So if I hadn't taken him to be checked out I wouldn't have known. Makes no sense.
 
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