NO POOP in 3 WEEKS!!! HAAAALP!!!!

For Love of Everything Shell

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Please HaaaaLP!
Bob, My Leopard tortoise, has not pooped a normal sized poop in over 3 weeks...He is currently at the vet and they are having no luck! I will attempt to give all information I know you will all ask for... sorry ahead of time for a crazy long message.

age: 9 years in October
size: approx. 11" long
weight: currently 8 lbs because he is full of poo... I would say probably over a lb. of poo at the least
pyramiding: yes but minor... When I got him (3mos old) he already had some ridges as he was raised on the previous understanding that dry is best with many soaks to prevent respiratory infection. Obviously thanks to Tom we all no this is wrong... pyramiding has slowed down, but obviously never goes away :(

living arrangements:
first 7 years, Arizona ... outside from 3 yrs-7 yrs... nice and hot, moist humid corners in shaded yard with sunny areas for basking. In winter, house (dog house like) with heat lamp to maintain warmth... inside on really cold days or nights.

last 1.5 years, New Orleans ... living inside because of too many stray cats and rodents that apparently kill and injure anything outside. (people at work scared me with this info) He is living in my kitchen. I know this is not ideal, but it is where he has been. He has plenty of space to walk around and his "dog" house ( a big bench with a lifting lid... aluminum flashing as interior wall coverings, insulated (he can not get to foam insulation) Bob house interior... 2'x2.5' with an open entrance

substrate: none... since he is inside and it would be very difficult to contain and clean
flooring: linoleum... he can NOT and has NOT eaten any of this as it is all intact.

temp in his house: I am testing this now with a mug of water under his heat lamp....? regular thermometer is not working... trying a cooking thermometer...(update: cooking thermometer in a mug of water directly under his heat lamp has inched up to 85 degrees F... Bob can get a bit closer to the light than the mug, but that is my most accurate abilities right now...I will update again if the temp continues to climb)
temp in actual house... human house: 75-80 in the kitchen depending on time of day. The kitchen is the warmest part of the house... windows on all sides and crappy NOLA construction
UV: currently no lamp, windows on all sides of kitchen, sun shines through windows (blinds open always) and hits floor... Bob will often times follow the light and bask. I know this blocks most of the UV, but not all. I subsidize this with supervised outdoor play time... ( will explain more after humidity)
humidity: NOLA weather (currently hurricane season 70-99% humidity lately).. minus humidity lost from AC indoors. I also attempt to subsidize this with outdoor time.
Outdoor time: Depending on the weather (currently always raining!!!) I take him out and set him down in the middle of the patio or grass in the sun and let him free range. He almost always goes straight for the shaded areas behind the garage or just explores in the shade. It is in no way hotter than AZ here, so that confuses me, but none the less... that is his NOLA habit. I try to take him out a few times a week, but it has been far less lately. If it starts to sprinkle at all, he beelines straight for under the house to escape the weather. Even when it is storming and we are inside, he stays inside his house inside the kitchen... thinking he does not like the thunder, or just knows it is stormy because of higher humidity? My point, he naturally avoids sunshine here unless it is a perfect day... which is rare. I know many of you are likely shaking your head at me already, and I am realizing my wrong doings.... and I am shopping for a new UV bulb to set up in my kitchen.

hydration/nutrition:
water: a large platter (twice the size of his body) with 1" of fresh water is always available to him! I leave stems of his food sitting in it, to keep it fresh and to encourage him to stand in water while eating (sneak attack soaks... he does this often and makes a total mess, but I don't mind... he is worth it!)
food: used to be outdoor grass and dandelion, but here in NOLA ... it has been collard greens and kale mostly. Also pre cooked pumpkin that I have stockpiled and frozen. and even more recently... the cursed Timothy Hay! Now I know some say this is good for them, but I am convinced it is the root of the problem. (will discuss more in timeline)
vitamins: He has calcium D3 and multivitamin. Since he is not receiving as much sunshine, I don't want to overdose him with these, but he receives them normally once a week, I shoot for 2 times a week.

hygiene:
soaks weekly, sometimes more depending on his poop habits as his longest soaks are when he throws "poop dancing parties" and I have to fully sanitize floors! I am constantly spot cleaning after he pees and scrubbing floors after poop.... and going full clean crazy after the previously mentioned "poop dancing parties"
cleaning products: spray pinesol straight or bleach/water 50:50, I don't get this on him obviously! Just on the floor and I wipe it up quickly.

THE TIMELINE:
before this.... kale or collard greens... often from a local organic farm I work at part time, pumpkin once a week to spice things up
Aug 15 - 20 ...Timothy hay cut up and mixed with pumpkin (sprinkled with his vitamins and calcium supplements 2X a week... more consistent with this recently with the pumpkin as it often falls off leafy greens when he makes a mess eating)
AUG 18 .... last normal poop! (dark almost blackish green... like a soft tootsie roll, more of flattened small tootsie, coiled up - ish... probably 10-12 inches if u pieced it all together...? before the party!)
peeing is somewhat normal, but I have noticed more of the clumpy/ mucky urates since living in NOLA... maybe because he is inside and floors are dark brown? (Bob usually poops every 3 days to a week, if you feed him a lot he will poop daily, and always pees daily if not more)
Aug 21 - 25... I was out of town, Kale... 2 leaves per day was given by my neighbor and fresh water (I explained cleaning procedures to her, but no poop was ever dispensed and I believe pee dried before she would see it as she checked on him once a day. AC was left hot... 78, likely never below 80 in the kitchen (furthest room from thermostat, most windows, and his heat lamp in his house), heat lamp in his little house on at all times)
Aug 26 .... I was home and treated him to timothy hay and pumpkin with vitamins!
Aug 27 - 31 ... kale only... as I was becoming suspect of the timothy hay! warm soaks in sink to try to get him to poop as I knew it would also be a lot since it was pushing 10 days since last poop....
Aug 31... some poop, maybe half his normal amount. Heavy in timothy hay straws, and some regular poop around the outside, firmer and had more girth than normal! My worry continues!!!
Begin- one a day warm soaks in the bathtub for exercising space! only poop juice or a random piece of straw/hay. Lots of pooping stance and butt waggles, tail movement and pushing.... with no action.
Sep 1-2... smaller amount of kale, with pumpkin only. spots of poop juice or mucus, and pee only... clearly he is trying, but nothing is coming out.
Sep 2... poop juice spots, appeared possibly to have a slight red hint (but this may be my paranoid tort parent brain? No actual blood, but poop juice seemed darker in color) .... and eventually by evening time, directly under his heat lamp, a single... for lack of a better term... bale of hay! No poop covering, just and oval shaped, 2 x normal poop girth bale of hay! (I wish I had a picture... but all of his recent poops were taken to the vet as evidence of his lack of normal poop) I was heartbroken to see this! Have I caused the issue, but I was hopeful that he pushed out the issue?
Soaks amped up to 2 x a day of 30 minutes in bathtub, more pushing, tail squeaking as it moves around under shell, poop stance butt up... no movement! I would secretly check in hopes I could help him with some fibers here and there... nope nothing. I call local exotic reptile vet, ask for advice... they say warm soaks, cut back food further to not add to issue, and well exercise.
Sep 2-5... small amount of pumpkin puree, with olive oil on top or mixed in. again, fresh water available at all times!!! and soaks!!! and some outside exercise... he would always go for the shade as usual...
Sep 6 Thursday... soaks, no food given, plenty of water, still straining... I take him to the vet for an emergency appt because it didn't seem fair to wait till first available appt on Monday!

Vet... from small amount of poop and juice that was on his shell during the car ride .... they did not see any parasites present. oddly he also said no pin worms.... which in AZ, 2 years ago his pin worms were at a normal healthy level. I was told this is thought to aid in digestion... would the pumpkin have knocked these out?
The vet can not get into his butt hole to check for blockages and decided it is best to leave him overnight for anesthesia the next day and then they can check out the back end or send in a camera. Before I left he peed on one of the vet techs and pushed out a mushed up regular poop mixed with hay (maybe total size of a blueberry?- not much)

Sep 7 Friday, today... he is kept in a very warm cage (2'x2.5' ish), heat and UV... no poops in the night. they give him an outside walk in the morning, no poop... this afternoon they go for the anesthesia... apparently he does not react well to anesthesia and would still pull in his back end and tail to protect himself (makes sense to me! if it hurts I would not want anyone touching it either!) .... sooo after trying, I think, two different types of anesthesia, they were NOT able to get in there at all... sooooooo they tell me they will keep him over night again and that I can pick him up in the morning!

Ahhhhh WTF!!! Why would I pick him up if you... "they" have not figured out the problem yet!? I was told if it is the hay, that an Xray would not show anything... (105$) ... I ask how long until a tortoise goes septic, tech asks the vet and they say that they are not worried about that yet because he did get a little out yesterday (smashed blueberry amount-that is NOTHING compared to what he normally poops) and blood work... although quoted to me (170$), they don't think it is needed yet. Both yesterday and today they gave him soaks and a dose of subcutaneous fluids in hopes that it helps move things along... I am not sold! Does anyone have any other ideas...?

I now know I have clearly done some things wrong since our move to NOLA, and I never intended to keep him inside... as I searched high and low for a house to rent with a fully fenced, grass, somewhat private yard ( people steal everything out here).
I know I need to give him indoor UV, will add a hanging door to his house to boost up his basking spot temperature, more soaks, more outdoor time... I welcome your suggestions, but please... don't shoot me with anger, I really love him and have always tried to do best by him... and I am already in tears about his pain and suffering... and although it may be weird to always wear flip flops in your own kitchen, I have grown accustomed to our constant interactions and the sounds of his little feet prancing around ... and his breath when he sleeps... just PLEASE... does anyone have any suggestions of how to get him to poop his brains out and be his normal self again? He still walks around... comes out of his house almost every time I enter the kitchen to ask for more food... he knows his food drawer in the fridge and will stare at it! He is not as active right now, and seems a bit clumsy with the back legs? Possibly because it hurts? or he is just always about to do the butt waggle prep to poop dance...? I am not sure!

My dog and my tortoise are my children... please ... help!

All our love,
Laura, Montana (dog), and Bob (tortoise)
 
Last edited:

wellington

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Does he have a basking spot that reaches 95-100? If he can't warm up under those temps he can't process his food properly and won't poop.
Soaking in a warm soak in a large container like a tub where he can move around a lot usually gets things moving. Keep him warm and make sure he keeps moving. A proper uvb needs to be offered if you can't get him outside more often. The uvb through screen and glass is not enough. Feed watery foods like cucumber, water melon, cactus to help get things moving.
you need to get him in a proper enclosure and it's not the kitchen floor. You can have the enclosure in the kitchen though. Proper heat, uvb and basking spot is important.
 

TechnoCheese

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I’m no expert, but he may have been too cold to digest food. Your leopard needs to be able to warm up in a 100 degree basking spot(outside) to digest food. It sounds like he’s been living in your kitchen for quite a while(which, as you’ve figured out, needs to be changed immediately) with only room temperature.

The floor is much colder than human level, so your tortoise was likely much colder than 75-80 degrees.

I would guess that the reason you were seeing a lot of undigested hay was because he simply could not digest it.

Additionally, kale and collards are extremely high in oxalic acid, which binds calcium and can cause kidney stones. Both of these should be fed very rarely as part of a varied diet. If your tortoise has not been peeing, he could have a kidney stone.

Tortoises often drag their legs when they have a blockage or kidney stone, or are constipated. The weird walking could also be a side effect of living on the kitchen floor for so long, because it’s smooth and hard to grip.

This is my best guess, but definitely get a second opinion.
 

For Love of Everything Shell

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Does he have a basking spot that reaches 95-100? If he can't warm up under those temps he can't process his food properly and won't poop.
Soaking in a warm soak in a large container like a tub where he can move around a lot usually gets things moving. Keep him warm and make sure he keeps moving. A proper uvb needs to be offered if you can't get him outside more often. The uvb through screen and glass is not enough. Feed watery foods like cucumber, water melon, cactus to help get things moving.
you need to get him in a proper enclosure and it's not the kitchen floor. You can have the enclosure in the kitchen though. Proper heat, uvb and basking spot is important.

I am still testing his basking spot temp, but it is definitely not 100. I will be adjusting his current bulb or switching to a ceramic bulb, although I always worried that those get too hot? and ordering uv bulb... do you have suggestions for both?

And thank you for suggested changes, my only concern is that this is a new problem, he has never had issues with pooping in his current habitat before ... I will obviously make these changes, but still don't understand why this has developed now if it is not a blockage caused by the timothy hay?

again... thank you for your reply!
 

For Love of Everything Shell

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I’m no expert, but he may have been too cold to digest food. Your leopard needs to be able to warm up in a 100 degree basking spot(outside) to digest food. It sounds like he’s been living in your kitchen for quite a while(which, as you’ve figured out, needs to be changed immediately) with only room temperature.

The floor is much colder than human level, so your tortoise was likely much colder than 75-80 degrees.

I would guess that the reason you were seeing a lot of undigested hay was because he simply could not digest it.

Additionally, kale and collards are extremely high in oxalic acid, which binds calcium and can cause kidney stones. Both of these should be fed very rarely as part of a varied diet. If your tortoise has not been peeing, he could have a kidney stone.

Tortoises often drag their legs when they have a blockage or kidney stone, or are constipated. The weird walking could also be a side effect of living on the kitchen floor for so long, because it’s smooth and hard to grip.

This is my best guess, but definitely get a second opinion.

I agree... he has not had a spot of 100 degrees , but has been digesting fine until the last 3 weeks.
Temp at his level (so far thermometer up to 90 in his house)
Noted: on the oxalic acid, but he has still been peeing like a racehorse! would stones show on an xray? what is the treatment for stones?
Floor has a bit of texture (fake wood texture), the awkward back legs (like a human that really needs to poop) has been in the last week
 

For Love of Everything Shell

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He is around 11" tip to tip on the bottom side of his shell... about the size of a football, but slightly deflated like the Patriots ! ;) a joke a can never resist! My profile picture is him.... I will try and load a more recent one...
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wellington

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If you get the mercury vapor bulb it would give him
heat/basking temp and uvb. If you don't need the added heat source then get a fluorescent. Do not get the compact foil type bulbs.
A blockage should show on an X-ray but a ultra sound would be better.
 

For Love of Everything Shell

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I am still testing his basking spot temp, but it is definitely not 100. I will be adjusting his current bulb or switching to a ceramic bulb, although I always worried that those get too hot? and ordering uv bulb... do you have suggestions for both?

And thank you for suggested changes, my only concern is that this is a new problem, he has never had issues with pooping in his current habitat before ... I will obviously make these changes, but still don't understand why this has developed now if it is not a blockage caused by the timothy hay?

again... thank you for your reply!

UPDATE: I have moved the thermometer in his house to the height of his shell, and it is up to 95 degrees F... sooooooo I am assuming he has still had a steady basking spot within basking range ( although temp is only up to 95) ... will update with any changes
 

For Love of Everything Shell

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If you get the mercury vapor bulb it would give him
heat/basking temp and uvb. If you don't need the added heat source then get a fluorescent. Do not get the compact foil type bulbs.
A blockage should show on an X-ray but a ultra sound would be better.
I know if I do the combo light bulb, he will not sleep in his house as he likes to be in the dark to sleep. (current bulb is the red 50w infrared basking spot by exo terra) I would likely do a separate uvb to hang near his water tray and set it to a timer of standard daylight hrs... yes?
suggested brands for longevity and durability? It has been a while since I have bought a UVB bulb as he lived outside in AZ, plenty of UV there!
 

For Love of Everything Shell

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If you get the mercury vapor bulb it would give him
heat/basking temp and uvb. If you don't need the added heat source then get a fluorescent. Do not get the compact foil type bulbs.
A blockage should show on an X-ray but a ultra sound would be better.
I will ask vet about ultra sound tomorrow. I am making a list of further questions!
 

wellington

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Get one or two ceramic heat emitters for night heat and put them on a thermostat. They give off heat but no light. The red bulbs can still be seen by them and because the color red attracts them, and makes other things look red, it could cause them to eat something they shouldn't.
For a flourescent bulb check out the Arcadias on the site I'm linking. They are the best, last the longest, have the longest lasting uvb and gives out the best uvb. http://www.lightyourreptiles.com/
 

For Love of Everything Shell

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The vet told me today, still no poop and they are going to keep him until Monday. They were also going to try and give him Miralax today, but still no luck trying to get anywhere near his tail. Additionally I asked about the suggested ultrasound, but they said theirs would not work on a tortoise and also said that an xray would not show obstruction if it was the hay. He is also refusing food, although I am not sure what they tried to offer him... I am really worried even further and hate thinking that he is all alone in a cage even if it is toasty warm, it isn't his home.
I plan to have cucumber and watermelon available for him on Monday, but I will probably be trying another vet. I plan to call any other vet in town on Monday morning to see if anyone has actual success treating tortoises in the New Orleans area.

Again, any other ideas....? I read somewhere online that someone said to use a vibrator to rest the back end of the shell on to help to loosen up a blockage? Seems odd, but maybe it could help?
 

Reptilony

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The vet told me today, still no poop and they are going to keep him until Monday. They were also going to try and give him Miralax today, but still no luck trying to get anywhere near his tail. Additionally I asked about the suggested ultrasound, but they said theirs would not work on a tortoise and also said that an xray would not show obstruction if it was the hay. He is also refusing food, although I am not sure what they tried to offer him... I am really worried even further and hate thinking that he is all alone in a cage even if it is toasty warm, it isn't his home.
I plan to have cucumber and watermelon available for him on Monday, but I will probably be trying another vet. I plan to call any other vet in town on Monday morning to see if anyone has actual success treating tortoises in the New Orleans area.

Again, any other ideas....? I read somewhere online that someone said to use a vibrator to rest the back end of the shell on to help to loosen up a blockage? Seems odd, but maybe it could help?

They are keeping it? How? They have the equipement to house a tortoise? Heating nd all? The pictures are black squares
 
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