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Please Help with Wheezing Tort

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Lexx

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Hello new here and I am hoping to get some advice!

My red foot tortoise has been making a whistling noise when he breathes for almost 2 months now. At first this was accompanied by poor appetite and some loose stools.

During this time he has seen a reputable herp vet. We went over heat, humidy and enclosure, everything there is fine. He says he looks great and is very strong. He had has 2 Vit A injections and gone through 2 courses of antibiotics (Baytril then one that was every 3 days). There is some clear discharge from the mouth at times.

The appetite is back and his poops are normal. We sent a sample off but it came back with the normal gut flora nothing out of the ordinary.

I am being asked to bring him back again.

I wanted to ask if anyone had any ideas or advice, I cannot bring him back until I sell off some of my things....very short on money been on mat leave most of the year :(

I am thinking maybe a viral infection in which case antibiotics wouldn't do anything but prevent secondary infections.....I don't really want to stress his body with a 3rd med either if there is something else it may be or I can do for him
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Lexx:

Welcome to the Tortoise Forum!!

May we know your name and where you are?

Sometimes Redfoot tortoises wheeze and click when they're being kept a little too dry.

Others who keep redfoots will come on shortly and give you more info.
 

jackrat

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My redfoots will whistle and wheeze when the himdity is low.
 

Madkins007

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Please don't take offense, but telling us that someone else said 'everything is fine' does not tell us anything helpful. What is the habitat like? Temps, humidities, etc. How are they measured? What is the diet?
 

Sammy

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What substrate do u use? Maybe an allergy? Try changing to kitchen towels or newspaper.
 

ascott

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Welcome to the Forum :D. We LOVE PICS :p

The first thing that came to mind was what Yvonne said...sounds like your tort maybe being kept a bit dry.......are your torts eyes ever watery as well...not gushing but a bit weepy?

If the whistling is the main thing going on....I would try increasing your humidity and offer warm water soaks at least once a day and allow a water dish for free soaking as well....IMHO....

I would not continue to do back to back antibiotics treatments unless there is more than the whistling....and during antibiotic treatments the tortoise should be soaked daily during the entire treatment time as antibiotics are a bit hard on a tort....IMHO
 
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Maggie Cummings

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And please don't allow anymore Vit A injections as they really are not necessary and watch the injection site for skin sloughing off. That is a very real problem with those injections...so up the humidity, no more Baytril and describe to us what his habitat looks like...Pictures are better...we want to know everything...:tort:
 

Lexx

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Thanks! I just didn't want to overload with a huge post but here goes:

We are from Toronto, Ontario. Bob is a male red foot and is 3-4 years old and about 6 inches long.

Temp is between 80-86, basking spot 91. Ceramic heat emitter. Ambient humidity is generally high in the reptile room, I used water resistant paint in the room when we first moved in to prevent mold growth.

Enclosure is homemade plexiglass (he doesn't rub) 6ft long by 2 ft wide.

Substrate is cypress mulch mixed with plantation soil sold in bricks from pet store. I try not to keep it too damp because I am concerned about shell rot but I will keep it moister and see if it helps.

He has a large shallow water dish to soak. He is tub soaked once or twice a week. Will increase that to daily.

Diet is highly varied....dark greens, roses, dandelion, watercress, fruit, the odd pinkie mouse, etc

He also has a large outdoor enclosure for warm weather grazing and basking.
 

Kristina

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Can you get an actual read on the humidity levels in the enclosure? 80% or higher should be your goal.

As far as the substrate and humidity goes - I keep all of my tortoises on very humid substrate, and I have never had issues with shell rot. Keeping the enclosure clean helps, as does a regular soak in fresh water and also a light going over with a soft toothbrush. As long as you keep an eye out, I don't think you will have an issue with shell rot.

I am thinking humidity, or lack of, may be your problem. I would not take another trip to the vet at this time.
 

Lexx

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What is the most accurate way of measuring humidity?
 

Kristina

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A digital hygrometer, they have a thermometer/hygrometer combo at Walmart for about $7.
 

Madkins007

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If you get a chance, weight and measure him. You can then apply the Donoghue Formula to see if he is underweight, which would help indicate dehydration- which is at least partly related to humidity, especially in Red-foots.

Straight-line carapace length in centimeters, taken to the third power (or cubed), times 0.191 will give you the minimum expected weight in grams- or SCLcm ^3 x 0.191 = WTgm

If you do it in inches and ounces, use 0.113 instead of 1.191 but it is not as accurate.

Most captive torts are a bit dehydrated. Frequent soaks (use a saline or electrolytic solution and soak more often the more dehydrated it is), good humidity, good water content in foods, and good water availability help.

Besides whistling, other common signs of dehydration include sunken and/or teary eyes; dry, flaky skin; and feeling light when picked up.

One other thing- some Red-foots just whistle. I had a big male that whistled often, even when the rest of the herd was silent and humidity was so thick you almost could not breathe. It may have been a sign of a respiratory issue, but he never showed any symptoms to me. (I gave him away a couple years ago but have not heard of any follow-up health issues.)
 
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