Nigel seems sick..... please help?

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Meg90

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So, today I woke up to a very unpleasant surprise from Nigel, but I will give back story first.

Yesterday, I gave Nigel avocado for the first time. I saw other threads on here, where torts really enjoyed it, and I thought since Nigel could use a little bit more variation in his diet, it would be a good idea.

Does Avocado usually have an effect similar to pumpkin? Because that is the effect it had on Nigel. This morning I work up (at 10:27 or so) and Nigel was basking and around him were 5-7 spots of diarrhea.

Now, in the mornings, Nigel basks fully awake and waiting for his meal. If his plate isn't down right away, he will chase my hands around (very vigorously) for his breakfast. Today, I said Hello, and good morning and what not, and Nigel didn't even open his eyes. He was almost all the way indrawn as well, which is not normal.

When I reached in to start spot cleaning, he jerked in surprise, and withdrew totally. I kept talking to him, telling him it was just me, and rubbed his shell lightly. He didn't respond, instead staying indrawn. I cleaned up his enclosure and added new aspen, and Nigel stayed in one place the whole time.

I picked him up, just for a closer look, and he didn't move much, and stayed indrawn in his shell. Usually, as soon as he is out, he's stretching every limb and wanting to be set down. Today, calm as a rock.

I also found what a THOUGHT was urates. Stuff was so mixed around, it was hard to tell. But it was mainly white, but tinged green a little from his loose stool. It didn't smell like feces, and was also gritty. I have noticed the passing of urates for the last two weeks or so (before that I hadn't been seeing them) and they have been of normal consistency.

So this morning, fearing dehydration, I filled his tub with some nice warm water (and his water conditioner) and soaked him in the bathroom (which was still warm from my shower) for about 5-7 mins. He didn't really try to get out of the water, and I had the tub covered with a towel to keep it dark and warm. He didn't pass any urates or stool in the water.

I dried him off and placed him back in his hot side, and he walked until his plasteron was almost touching the back wall,and stayed indrawn in his shell. I got his breakfast ready (spring mix dusted w/ calcium) and set his plate down in its usual spot on his cool side and talked to him, usually he will respond, and come running for breakfast. But today he gave no response.

When I left at 10:55, he was still facing the wall, unresponsive.

Around 11:10, my BF picked him up and moved him infront of his plate (he's worried too. :() and Nigel just nibbled at one leaf and went back to the hot side.

Ten minutes later, Reid moved the plate over to the hot side, and Nigel ate a few more bites, and then went back to ignoring his salad.

I have NEVER seen him not eat his dinner. Or at the very least, only what he doesn't like is left on the plate. I'm reallllllly worried. He ate his full helping yesterday (he had only about 1/4 of the avocado too, and it was a small one)

Now, I'm home from work and class and he is not in his usual basking spot either. Usually he stays in his hot corner (the one closest to the spot the lamp makes) but today, he is way off to the side, huddling against his log hide.

Another thing is that Nigel ALWAYS responds to our voices. If we start talking to him, he perks up and comes towards us. Whenever I reach in there to adjust the thermometer, he is running up looking for treats.

Today, he is almost fearful. If he sees us, he withdraws. He was semi awake a few minutes ago, and when i reached in (about a foot away from him) he slowly pulled his head back in.

I'm really scared. I don't know what's wrong. His temps are all right. its 80's in the darker end of the hot side. High 90's under the lamp, and about 75 on the cool side.

His night temps don't drop below like 62F.

Last night he was also buried in a different spot, much closer to the front of the enclosure, and moved a little bit at around 12:45-1:20 AM.

His eyes are clear, his nose is clear. No bubbles, no discharge. But he looks tired, if that makes any sense.

Someone please help. This is not like him AT ALL and its scaring me. Was the avocado a really bad idea? Because I am just kicking myself. :(
 

Crazy1

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Meg, Avocado is on the approved list, but yes it can cause diarrhea. Avocado is considered a fat and Greeks don't deal well with fats. Gritty urates usually mean dehydration and if he had diarrhea I would bet he is dehydrated. Dehydration also caused lethargy and lack of appetite. Just like us when a tort is not feeling well they will not respond or will act fearful.
This is a copy of the question and answer from the TT

http://www.tortoisetrust.org/care/faq.html

1) My turtle / tortoise's droppings / urine is white! What does this mean and what should I do? What do normal droppings look like and how often is "normal"?
[Alex {Carter}Dempsey] The white substance is urates (concentrated uric acid). It's a perfectly normal product of protein metabolism, but if it's being passed more than a couple of times a week, it can indicate too much protein in the diet.
Urates should be anything from totally liquid, to about the same consistency as toothpaste. If they're hard or gritty when they're expelled, this indicates dehydration (which is common in terrestrial species kept in vivaria) and if left untreated, dehydration rapidly proves fatal. The tortoise should be bathed immediately by standing it in a bath of shallow, luke-warm water. This should be done daily, until the urates return to normal. Generally, this bathing should be done two to three times every week (more often for hatchlings, who can dehydrate more rapidly than adults).
 

Kristina

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Oh, Meg, I am so sorry. I am worried about Nigel too!

I wish I had advice for you. It sounds like you are doing right with the soaking. I would just keep tempting him to eat, even if it is only a few bites here and there. If he goes a few days without eating, I would try a bird vitamin soak or baby food.

I have no advice on the avacado. I wish I could be more help :(

Kristina
 

Yvonne G

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I know that avocado is on the approved list, but I heard many years ago that it should NOT be fed to tortoises, and have always passed that along. I never knew why it shouldn't be fed, and can't find anything on the 'net about it, but I have never fed it and never will. I think you can help Nigel by soaking him every day for about 15 minutes a soak, and even a couple times a day won't hurt. This helps to get any toxins out of his system and helps get him re-hydrated.

Yvonne
 

egyptiandan

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I've heard the same thing to Yvonne. It does have much to much fat in it and it's probably upset his gut flora Meg. It's the old to much rich food will make you feel sick.
Just keep him hydrated and keep trying the food, but I think it will be a few more days till he feels like himself again.

Danny
 
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Maggie Cummings

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I have always read that avocado is toxic and haven't ever fed it. Follow Yvonne's advice and soak long and often...good luck with him and please keep us posted. I certainly know how stressful it is to have a sick animal...
 

tortoisenerd

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Just wanted to pop in and say best wishes that Nigel feels better soon--hopefully it's just an upset tummy and he'll feel better over the next couple days. Try not to worry too much!
 

Meg90

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Thanks everybody! What you've been saying makes alot of sense...why he didn't want to be under his light, that diarrhea would make him dehydrated.

Today, he left his plate almost completely untouched. I left it in all day hoping he would graze on it when he felt like it. The plate of shriveled spring mix was a sad sight for me tonight.

Today I had my boyfriend go to the store while I was at class and buy some romaine lettuce. I know its got a higher water content, and torts usually have a taste for it.

I feel dumb that I did not search the avocado thing first. But I will never make this mistake again.

Today, the only thing I could get him to eat was a slice of red pepper. They are his favorite, and it was the only thing that actually got him moving. He walked all the way to the cool side for it. ( I wanted to make sure nothing else was getting worse so I had him trail it)

My poor baby! I feel so bad for him. Its no fun to be sick, and its hard knowing that its my fault. And here I thought I was past the newbie stage :shy:

I am going to feed the romaine tomorrow, probably with a little carrot grated over top just for color so he is more tempted to eat it. He will also get another soak.

I have seen him in his water dish quite frequently, in the afternoons when the sun hits his pool. He stays for several minutes. But I will continue weekly soaks. now that I know better.


Once again, thank you Kristina, Danny, Yvonne, Maggie, Laura and Kate. I really appreciate it. I will keep everyone updated.

Its funny. I ordered a tort book off amazon that was published in 1994, and it said several times in there that tortoises will get all the water they need from their food, and that when I tortoise passes liquid, it is only because it has excess in the first place.

I am continually amazed by how much knowledge of reptile keeping has changed. That book said that tortoises were also almost completely deaf too.

Thanks for the well wishes. I hope he is more like himself in the morning
 

tortoisenerd

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I've almost completely avoided the books because even I as a newbie could tell how outdated they are. Another interesting point is how everyone used to think that you couldn't keep anything at all moist in the enclosure (or have water in there) because of shell rot.

Sounds like he's doing a little better. They can go a "long" time without food so don't worry yet--he'll feel like his active self soon.
 

Crazy1

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Meg, In my haste to answer your questions, on this post, I didn’t' even say I was sorry Nigel was feeling ill. I am hoping that it will only take a few days for him to get back to feeling himself. When I read your comment about being “over the newbie stage”. I had to chuckle to myself only because I don't feel I will ever be. I seem to learn something new all the time, and I feel like a really new newbie each and every time I have a new hatchling. I know right now you feel bad and that you caused Nigel’s illness. Please try not too. You were trying to enrich his life. All we can do is learn from the outcomes we create ( don’t really like the word mistakes), that is the best we can do for any of our loved ones, as each and every one is different in its own way. What one may tolerate another may not. Hugs to you both.
 

Meg90

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Nigel ate almost two full leaves of Romaine lettuce this morning, and he is now in the tub. He drank for almost two full minutes, and is still pretty relaxed...not climbing the walls, just chilling out.

He seemed alittle more like himself this morning too. So he is on the right road.

He leaves are alittle wilty now (put his plate on the hot side, hoping for more interest) so I am going to refresh his plate, and see if I cant get alittle bit more down him.

Thanks Robyn! I know you care about us! :)
 

Tim/Robin

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Meg90 said:
Nigel ate almost two full leaves of Romaine lettuce this morning, and he is now in the tub. He drank for almost two full minutes, and is still pretty relaxed...not climbing the walls, just chilling out.

He seemed alittle more like himself this morning too. So he is on the right road.

He leaves are alittle wilty now (put his plate on the hot side, hoping for more interest) so I am going to refresh his plate, and see if I cant get alittle bit more down him.

Thanks Robyn! I know you care about us! :)


Meg,

Glad he is on the mend. we certainly will learn from this, NO AVOCADO!! :) We are convinced that the more time we spend around our torts and the more we know each one's "norms", we can (and have) quickly pick up on changes and avoid any "too far gone" illnesses. This certainly is the case with you and Nigel. You quickly were aware of a change in behavior, and avoided a problem. It would have been much worse had you not realized it and made changes to keep him hydrated. You should be very proud and happy for that!!!
We have found that some very small changes can upset and cause stress and illness. Our star torts are very sensitive to a decrease in temperature. All were doing well in the summer, but with a slightly cooler house temp, we have had 2 with runny noses. One is completely better and the other is on the mend, but such a small change stressed them. (we are talking from house temp 78 in summer to 71 in the winter).
 

Bernie

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Glad to hear Nigel's feeling better!

Hank got dehydrated after a course of antibiotics and I was surprised at how she bounced back after a couple of weeks of baths.
 

Kristina

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Not to get off topic, but I LOVE that Hank is a she, lol. I have a male Northern (Common) Map named Lucy, and a female RES named TipToe. My very young daughters named them, and I didn't want to dissapoint then by pointing out that the genders were very wrong :D

My Sulcata Gwen started out as Gus Gus, also, until I changed it :) I also know someone with a male Ornate named Kate, lmao!

Chelonians never want to cooperate :D

Kristina
 

Meg90

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Nigel still isn't eating up to his standards yet, but he is eating. He's less lethargic too...so, mostly himself, but he's still lost some of that famous appetite.

I am going to soak him again tomorrow morning. But should I soak him on sunday too?

I thought I would ask. Since today, he was only soaking of his own comfort for about 4 minutes, then he wanted out. I made him stay in for a full ten though,then I put him back.

I'm feeding him on slate tile now, and today, he had his head on it to nap. A cool pillow I guess!
 

Kristina

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"Cool" would depend on where in the enclosure the slate is placed.... I have slate under my basking light, to heat up and provide belly heat to aid in digestion. It works very well.

I would continue the daily soaks, personally, for I feel that as long as he is kept warm while soaking you cannot over-do it. As so many have pointed out before me, cold-wet is bad, warm-wet is good. As long as he is not being chilled to the point where he is in danger of developing an RI, I would keep soaking him until he is back to 100%.

Kristina
 

Meg90

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Yeah, i know the drill :D.

He always seems really pleased with the water for the first few minutes, then he is all "DONE now, time for breakfast!"

He's been sleeping later too...usually he is well awake by 10:30-11, but I've been waking him up these last two days, so there is still that.

I am going to grate a little pepper over his greens tomorrow (still feeding romaine to help with hydration --and collard greens, and frisee lettuce) when its grated, he eats whatever it sticks too...
 

tortoisenerd

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Poor Nigel. My little buddy is getting more soaks too because he had what we think was a bladder stone. Hope both of them feel back to normal soon!
 
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