Pancake tortoise suddenly died

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Hello, all.

I am writing to you with a heavy heart, as my pancake tortoise, Maple, passed earlier today. I am hoping for some help pinpointing what might have happened.
First, some background on his care. I acquired him (Or it. I was not actually informed of the sex) about a year ago from a local breeder as a hatchling. I wasn't told of the exact age, but he couldn't have been very old, maybe a couple of months. Since then he has been kept in a tub on cypress mulch with two hides, one on the warm side and one on the cool side. The warm side was kept around 80-85 degree F with a hotspot at 90-95 degree's F. The cool side was kept no lower than 75 F. Maple always had water available and was soaked 2-3 times a week to ensure he didn't dehydrate. Humidity hung around 50%. He had UVB available via a strip light to ensure the light was distributed throughout the enclosure. In terms of food, he was offered organic spring mix and was typically offered timothy hay to graze on. I do have other tortoises, however I always make sure I wash my hands in between handling tortoises because I've seen what can happen if cross-contamination occurs.

That being said, two weeks ago he stopped eating quite like he used to. He'd nibble at his food, but never finishing it. This progressed to the point where he eventually quit eating over the past few days and his eyes had sunk in considerably. I had planned to call tomorrow to make an appointment with my very reputable exotic vet who has experience with all reptiles big and small, however tonight I went to soak him and he'd already passed. His eyes had sunken significantly by this point. Other than that, the only thing I noticed is that he hasn't pooped recently. This indicates to me that he might have been dealing with a stomach impaction, however I was hoping to get input from other tortoise keepers to try and pinpoint the issue.

If it's something that I did, I would like to know. I have other tortoises and want to ensure they have the best possible care. I have taken Maple's enclosure put it outside to freeze it and anything that might be living inside of it, and plan on bringing it inside and bleaching everything tomorrow.



Thank you in advance for any help!


Maggie
 

leigti

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I am very sorry to hear about your tortoise passing away. The only thing I can think of is if his eyes were sunken in he might have been dehydrated. Some more experienced people will come along soon. And hopefully they will have some more constructive ideas.
 

Grandpa Turtle 144

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Hi Maggie
I to have pancakes . But with out pics it hard to know where to start . To help you . But sorry for your loss . ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1482731845.177456.jpg
 
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I am very sorry to hear about your tortoise passing away. The only thing I can think of is if his eyes were sunken in he might have been dehydrated. Some more experienced people will come along soon. And hopefully they will have some more constructive ideas.
That was my first thought, however the fact that he was soaked regularly and had water available in his enclosure threw me off.

Hi Maggie
I to have pancakes . But with out pics it hard to know where to start . To help you . But sorry for your loss . View attachment 195688
Unfortunately I have already torn down his enclosure to be sanitized :(
 

leigti

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Do you still have him? You could take him to the vet and see if they could do a necropsy. Don't freeze the body just keep it in the refrigerator. I don't know how much it costs but it might be worth looking into. Maybe he had a bowel obstruction or something like that. I'm sorry.
 

Kapidolo Farms

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Really sorry to hear about this loss. Pancakes are a favorite to me. Don't read the rest of this post if you tend to be squeamish.















I was leaning towards some sort of GI failure that may have to do with impaction, or maybe a small perforation. The progression of what sounds like weight loss and the lack of food intact sound like that kind of issue. I've had hatchlings, not as old, endure a similar progression.

I look inside right away, I know that can sound gross or heartless, but I have to know. I have seen enough necropsies that I can get a good idea with just a visual look see. I won't be able to see many things, and many things are a guess and can be secondary to what ever drove the process.

The process you described sounds like abrupt weight loss. Do you have weight notes or records. I'm a bit sloppy about that myself, and now just take a picture of the tortoise on a scale with some piece of paper showing the date.

So something drove weight loss. It could be some sort or protozoan, bacterial infection, viral, or a mechanical obstruction. If you have no other tortoises then the bacterial or protozoan possibility are greatly reduced. A mechanical obstruction or compromise to the GI would result in good guy bacteria causing a problem.

If you do look inside you might be able to tell based on how long the tortoise has sat after passing.
 

african cake queen

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I am so sorry. I agree, only way to know for sure is have doctor see it. Again, very sorry.
 

Raymo2477

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I bought a hatchling and had it only about 6 months. I had a similar experince with a sudden loss of appetite and then death with in a few weeks.

I had proper heat and light, diet was good. I've raised other torts successfully.

I chalked it up to buying it from a dealer and not a breeder. I'll now only buy from true breeders.
 

Kapidolo Farms

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Similar to sulcatas they are a much higher humidity species than what might seem to be the case. When at the Philly zoo my husbandry method (unbeknownst to me at the time) did manage this humidity need. I put them on clean brown paper towel everyday and wet-ed it to make it stick to the bottom of the enclosure. I used yogurt cup lids for a small water dish, and they knocked them over daily. So they had much moister.

I have subsequently read that part of the nature of their natural environment is moister than all surrounding area. They live in Rocky outcrops where granite flakes in huge slabs. Rain wont absorb directly into the granite and runs off and makes the surround soil much more moist than even ten feet away. Many places in the rock piles the soil out of direct exposure to the sun stays moist for most of the year. It's like both a burrow and a natural rain runoff collector, two in one.
 

Gillian M

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So sorry to have just learned that your tort died.
 

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I am very sorry to hear about your tortoise passing away. The only thing I can think of is if his eyes were sunken in he might have been dehydrated. Some more experienced people will come along soon. And hopefully they will have some more constructive ideas.
I have lost several babies (over 3 months old) that way. I don't know why but I attribute it to some genetic flaw since the others from the same Mom and Dad are thriving. I have become more aware of dehydration and put the tortoises in shallow water daily before they eat. I need to have a necropsy done on the next fatality.
 
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