Please help ! (soft shell)

ChumboWumbo

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Hi everyone! Wanted to give some info on my Baby leopard tortoise who I'm having some problems with and see if anyone can help.
To start I'm going to post all enclosure specs -
Cage - 4'x2x15" boa master PVC enclosure
Lighting - 50 watt halogen on right side
UVB - Arcadia 12% desert UVB 4' long spanning entire cage
Substrate - Forest floor and Eco earth mix
Temps -
Basking - 100 degrees F
Warm side - 90ish degrees throughout the day
Cool side - 80 degrees F
In middle of enclosure there is a RHP on a reptistat set to 80F (suggestion from vet trip 2 weeks ago)

Humidity - 66%-72% throughout the day
Water - Large terra-cotta plate enough for him to submerge his body in
Food - Collard greens, mustard greens, boy choy, dandelion greens and cactus pad sprinkled daily with calcium with D3
Soaks - Daily in 90 degree water

Now to start with our problem.
We got him in February from a reptile rescue who just had gotten a clutch of eggs in from someone near them. He was doing perfect until about 2 and half weeks ago. All of sudden - literally seemed like overnight - he became very lethargic. He usually wanders around his cage pushing things over, climbing up and over his hides etc. A FEROCIOUS eater, he would devour food all day everyday and then once he was done he'd go take a nice poop in his water dish multiple times a day it seemed. Now i never see him eat, i have not seen a bowl movement in his dish in 2 weeks now. He is always laying around with his eyes closed and when he gets up he doesn't seem to open his eyes. He will open his eyes after soaks and walk around a bit and may possibly take a few small bites of food but other than that he has become the complete opposite of himself seemingly overnight.
The vet had suggested keeping the temp up constantly hence why i purchased a RHP and keep it at 82 even at night. When we went 2 weeks ago to the vet she had noted the bottom of his shell being soft ( I never had thought this so I figured that was odd). She had recommend to use critical care herbivore (he wouldn't touch the stuff either) and to see within the week how he is and said we may doing injectable antibiotics for him.
Today ONCE AGAIN SEEMINGLY OVERNIGHT his top shell has become soft and so are his sides. We just went outside today for our soak to get some sunlight as its getting warmer where I am. He opened his eyes and walked around his soaking dish (long plastic tub) then just sat in the corner and seemed to sleep. I am beyond worried about him. He is the smallest little dude ever, since having him since February he is only 24.3 grams and still not even the size of my palm. Im not sure what could be wrong or if I'm doing anything wrong. This is my first tortoise and I've wanted one since I was 12 years old and I made myself wait until I was 23 to get one making sure I read as much as possible and had plenty of funds to care for him. Im not sure if injectable antibiotics are the way to go since he's so small or if he needs a calcium injection or what. Ive tried syringe feeding the critical care to no avail and don't want to push it incase of aspiration. Im at a complete loss and really don't want to lose this little guy. Any help or ideas or insight is greatly appreciated.
 

Ink

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Hopefully an expert will be able to help.
 

Lyn W

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This is worrying.
Can you post some pics of his enclosure? It really helps if the members can see things like how high the uvb tube is etc.

Maybe @ZenHerper or @zovick can help you.
 

Lyn W

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Until someone who knows about this comes along you could use the search facility and type in 'soft shell' - it will throw up several threads that may help you.
 

ChumboWumbo

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Until someone who knows about this comes along you could use the search facility and type in 'soft shell' - it will throw up several threads that may help you.
I’ve been reading though tons of them, it seems like I have all the correct parameters. Unfortunately it seems like it’s “hatchling failure syndrome” even though I hate to say that :/ it lines up with what is going on with him. I just got off the phone with the reptile rescue where I got him and they said they have not heard back from anyone regarding that clutch (whether that’s true or not who knows) so I’m not sure maybe it could be that but I’m really hoping not. I am contemplating taking him to the emergency vet about an hour away from me since I can’t see my vet until Monday. Just not sure what they would do in the meantime :/
 

Yvonne G

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Get rid of the halogen bulb and invest in a T5 long tube UVB light. Your baby needs UVB to make the calcium work. He also needs to live in a warm, humid environment, day and night, 80-85F degrees - all the time. Calcium-rich greens along with a pinch of calcium on the food a couple times a week PLUS a good UVB light. The calcium doesn't do it's job making strong bones and shell without the UVB.
 

ChumboWumbo

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Get rid of the halogen bulb and invest in a T5 long tube UVB light. Your baby needs UVB to make the calcium work. He also needs to live in a warm, humid environment, day and night, 80-85F degrees - all the time. Calcium-rich greens along with a pinch of calcium on the food a couple times a week PLUS a good UVB light. The calcium doesn't do it's job making strong bones and shell without the UVB.
The halogen bulb is his heat source. The UVB bulb is a 48inch T5 HO UVB 12% Desert bulb by Arcadia. The bulb covers the entirety of the enclosure so he is exposed whenever he is not in his hide.
 

Yvonne G

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The halogen bulb is too hot for a closed enclosure. You should be able to maintain 80-85°F with the RHP and what heat comes off the T5. I have three closed enclosures set up and the RHP does the job.
 

ChumboWumbo

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The halogen bulb is too hot for a closed enclosure. You should be able to maintain 80-85°F with the RHP and what heat comes off the T5. I have three closed enclosures set up and the RHP does the job.
So he does not need a basking site ?
 

KarenSoCal

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I'm sorry about your baby, but his size and weight are certainly suggestive of hatchling failure.
How long did the rescue keep the babies after they hatched? Do you know if they had them in a humid closed chamber?
Sadly, if the babies were kept dry, they get dehydrated and suffer kidney damage. They manage for a couple weeks or months, but finally get just big enough that the kidneys give out.
Is there any generalized pink color showing through his plastron? If so, he has sepsis, and there really isn't much that can be done. 😢

I truly hope that we are wrong, and he is able to get through this.
 

ChumboWumbo

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Thank you everyone for all of your help and suggestions. Unfortunately I just went to give him his morning soak and found that he had passed last night. I’m completely heartbroken and feel so sad. He was such an amazing little guy with tons of spunk and personality. I’m just glad he isn’t in pain anymore and I hope he’s up in tortoise Nirvana eating all the good snacks he can. Once again thank you all your suggestions and help mean the world to me.
 

Krista S

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Thank you everyone for all of your help and suggestions. Unfortunately I just went to give him his morning soak and found that he had passed last night. I’m completely heartbroken and feel so sad. He was such an amazing little guy with tons of spunk and personality. I’m just glad he isn’t in pain anymore and I hope he’s up in tortoise Nirvana eating all the good snacks he can. Once again thank you all your suggestions and help mean the world to me.
I’m so sorry for your loss. Please don’t beat yourself up over this, it wasn’t your fault. Sending hugs and healing to you and your family.
 

Markw84

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I am sorry for your loss. For future reference and for others reading, that UVB light was waaayyyy too strong for that short and small and enclosure. A 4 ft T5 12% would have created a UVI index dangerously high in that short enclosure where the bulb to tortoise height would have only been about 12". That certainly would have damaged the eyes. However, the soft shell and lack of growth you are describing is very indicative of either an improper start where the newly hatched baby was too dry and not offered good foods early enough, OR possibly incubated at too high a temperature - which can also cause this.
 

Ray--Opo

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Thank you everyone for all of your help and suggestions. Unfortunately I just went to give him his morning soak and found that he had passed last night. I’m completely heartbroken and feel so sad. He was such an amazing little guy with tons of spunk and personality. I’m just glad he isn’t in pain anymore and I hope he’s up in tortoise Nirvana eating all the good snacks he can. Once again thank you all your suggestions and help mean the world to me.
So sorry to hear about your loss.
 

Ink

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So sorry about your little tortoise.
 

zolasmum

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Thank you everyone for all of your help and suggestions. Unfortunately I just went to give him his morning soak and found that he had passed last night. I’m completely heartbroken and feel so sad. He was such an amazing little guy with tons of spunk and personality. I’m just glad he isn’t in pain anymore and I hope he’s up in tortoise Nirvana eating all the good snacks he can. Once again thank you all your suggestions and help mean the world to me.
I am so very sorry for your loss, but you know now it wasn't due to anything you did or didn't do, and I hope you will feel able to consider getting another tortoise in the future. People here are very knowledgeable and helpful, and will be able to advise you when that time comes, and I'm sure you will be a very good and caring parent.
Angie
 
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