Plesae Help! Sick Aldabra Tortoise

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Badger

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Hi All,

Its been a while since I last posted, but unfortunately the circumstances are worrying!

I have two aldabras, Goldie and Shelly, both about a year old. Goldie is the big one, although only three months older is substantially larger (>2kg!). The both live indoors still (sorry!!) but in a very large custom made tortoise table. Needless to say, the both live in the same enclosure and the bedding is 1/3 coco coir, 1/3 apsen (for sleeping at night) and 1/3 ceramic tile floor for eating and drinking on. Their diet is approximately 60% hay, 40% dark leafy greens and 10% mazuri and the greens are rotated and I try my best to stay off some calcicum leaching veggies like spinach, kale, mustard green etc.

The are bathed every 3 days for around 15 mins (humidity is high where I am from) and have 3 seperate lamps (mecury vapour during the day for UVB and warmth, regular heat lamp during dinner time and a ceramic heat lamp for bed when it gets below 70F). They are supplemented with calcium and vitamin sups.

Both have been doing very well until yestersday. We noticed that Goldie appears to have trouble pooing last night (straining hard but nothing seems to pass aside from gas) and appears otherwise tired and luthergic. Tonight during dinner time, Goldie is normally first out the gate rushing towards the food eating his (and Shelly's) portion. Tonight, he was totally UNINTERESTED, and would only eat when I put the food right next to him, and even then he would take only a couple of bites and then call it quits.

Obviously, while trying not to overreact, we are INCREDIBLY WORRIED! Goldie and Shelly are our first tortoises and we are not sure what to do. We figured maybe its not environmental as Shelly's living arrangement is exactly the same (she appears to be totally fine). We have already booked an appointment with the vet tommorrow (there arnt any 24 hr exotic animal vets where we are) but we are just hoping that all your keepers can perhaps share your knowledge and experience with us very worried parents!

Any thoughts would be welcome, and we really would appreciate any feedback, advice that you may give.

Thank you very much everyone.

An incredibily worried and anxious Dad,

Badger
 

wellington

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Sorry to here about your possible sick tort. The best person to help you would be ALDABRAMAN. It might help if you let us know where you are located, what state, country. Good luck, hope all goes well. Hang on, someone else might have some advice for you.
 

jeffbens0n

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Is is possible Goldie ate something that she can not pass? A stone or large piece of coir? If that is the case, an extended warm soak may help to loosen her bowels. Good luck!
 

Badger

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wellington said:
Sorry to here about your possible sick tort. The best person to help you would be ALDABRAMAN. It might help if you let us know where you are located, what state, country. Good luck, hope all goes well. Hang on, someone else might have some advice for you.

Thank you for your kind words and support!

I live in Hong Kong, (not ideal for the babies), the climate here is warm (74F as of now) and humidity is in the 80's.
 

wellington

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It actually sounds like a great place to have them. Until you can get more input from TFO members, you should look up Aldabramans threads. He breeds and raises them in Florida, hot and humid. You do need to get your torts outside. Keep us updated on your situation. Again GOOD LUCK:D
 

Badger

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jeffbens0n said:
Is is possible Goldie ate something that she can not pass? A stone or large piece of coir? If that is the case, an extended warm soak may help to loosen her bowels. Good luck!

We have been trying to think of that as well. Maybe an X ray at the vets will reveal something. During the day when he is hungry, he does like the munch on the aspen. But I have had this setup for more than 9 months and normally he poos fine.

Other items in the enclosure are some large bricks that I used to separate the different bedding I use. They show fairly little interest in the bricks, for them its probably mere annonyance as they have to climb over them to go to the next area.

I do feed them dried flowers, dandelions etc. But that I have been doing for months as well. The only 2 things that I did differently this week is that I bought a new container for soaking (but I made sure that I washed properly and rinsed multiple times) and also from monday, I have been feeding them both some rocket salad as well.

Sigh... if only Goldie to speak and tell me what is wrong!!
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Adam:

Warm water soaks with exercise really helps a constipated tortoise. Fill your bath tub with enough warm water that it comes up to the middle of the tortoise's side (where the top meets the bottom). You can position a light over the tub so it stays fairly warm. Then leave the tortoise in there for at least a half hour. He will walk around or scramble trying to get out. This movement, combined with the warm water, will help him to pass whatever is stuck there. A small tub doesn't work. The bath tub works better.
 

ALDABRAMAN

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emysemys said:
Hi Adam:

Warm water soaks with exercise really helps a constipated tortoise. Fill your bath tub with enough warm water that it comes up to the middle of the tortoise's side (where the top meets the bottom). You can position a light over the tub so it stays fairly warm. Then leave the tortoise in there for at least a half hour. He will walk around or scramble trying to get out. This movement, combined with the warm water, will help him to pass whatever is stuck there. A small tub doesn't work. The bath tub works better.

I agree with emysemys, soaking in warm water is great to unstress and assist the muscles to relax and aid in passing anything. The only other things we would consider is keeping her warm, isolated, and for sure consult a vet for verification of a possible obstruction. I have heard of some using a natural digestible oil to aid in the ease of passing anything causing an obstruction.
 

SulcataSquirt

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you said he likes to munch on the Aspen..... I am assuming your talking about aspen wood chips?? If that is the case I recommend taking those out as you do not want your tortoise to eat those as it could cause impaction, which it sounds like hes is experiencing. Several warm water soaks aday along with pumpkin if your can get ahold of it will help move things along, If no pumpkin is avaiable I would suggest you mix Mineral oil in with his food until he passes what ever it is that is clogging him up. Keep us updated please. good luck.
 

Badger

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Thanks for the advice. Really appreciate it.

Its the middle of the night now, and Goldie is sound asleep so I will try giving him an extended soak tommorrow when he wakes up.

Fingers Crossed!!

Adam

ALDABRAMAN said:
emysemys said:
Hi Adam:

Warm water soaks with exercise really helps a constipated tortoise. Fill your bath tub with enough warm water that it comes up to the middle of the tortoise's side (where the top meets the bottom). You can position a light over the tub so it stays fairly warm. Then leave the tortoise in there for at least a half hour. He will walk around or scramble trying to get out. This movement, combined with the warm water, will help him to pass whatever is stuck there. A small tub doesn't work. The bath tub works better.

I agree with emysemys, soaking in warm water is great to unstress and assist the muscles to relax and aid in passing anything. The only other things we would consider is keeping her warm, isolated, and for sure consult a vet for verification of a possible obstruction. I have heard of some using a natural digestible oil to aid in the ease of passing anything causing an obstruction.



SulcataSquirt said:
you said he likes to munch on the Aspen..... I am assuming your talking about aspen wood chips?? If that is the case I recommend taking those out as you do not want your tortoise to eat those as it could cause impaction, which it sounds like hes is experiencing. Several warm water soaks aday along with pumpkin if your can get ahold of it will help move things along, If no pumpkin is avaiable I would suggest you mix Mineral oil in with his food until he passes what ever it is that is clogging him up. Keep us updated please. good luck.

The Aspen is Aspen shredding, unlike Fir Bark or Mulch, it is soft and thin striped. I guess rather than like bits of wood, its more like strips of rough paper towel? Would this cause impactation? Unfortunately we dont have cypress mulch in Hong Kong, the closest thing we have is Fir Bark for pets and from what I read so far, that isnt ideal. But if this is the likely culprit for impactation, I will definitely remove it, or I guess going forward, I can split feeding between the morning and evening and make sure they get some "breakfast" and hence lay off the Aspen!

We have pumpkin available in HK. Incidentally it appears to be his favorite food in the world! I have only given it to him a couple of times in the past but will definately give him some tommorrow. As for the mineral oil, what type of mineral oil should I give him?

Thanks very much for your advice, I will make sure I keep everyone updated on his progress. Hopefully, I will also know more once we take him to the vet.
 

Angi

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Just a thought....What about some Aloe Vera plant leafs. Isn't it suposed to have a laxative affect?
 

SulcataSquirt

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Yes i would get rid of the aspen bedding, he should not be eating it, and i bet you have just been lucky up to now that he hasnt been impacted before now. I would just to the whole enclosure in coco coir or just plain ol dirt, Also if this is inside id rather have the coir than dirt my self, I have a 4x8 tort table filled up with coco coir about 4 inches up to 10 inches in some spots, as for the Mineral oil you can get it at the drug store, or convenient store, Here is an what im talkin about, it doesnt take much you just want him to get it in to his system to lube things up and get things moving, heres a link to help you understand what im talking about.. http://www.walmart.com/ip/Aaron-Brands-Intestinal-Lubricant-Mineral-Oil-16-fl-oz/10423864

also for the pumpkin you can use canned pumpkin if you can find it, just make sure its 100% pumpkin no additives.
 

Badger

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SulcataSquirt said:
Yes i would get rid of the aspen bedding, he should not be eating it, and i bet you have just been lucky up to now that he hasnt been impacted before now. I would just to the whole enclosure in coco coir or just plain ol dirt, Also if this is inside id rather have the coir than dirt my self, I have a 4x8 tort table filled up with coco coir about 4 inches up to 10 inches in some spots, as for the Mineral oil you can get it at the drug store, or convenient store, Here is an what im talkin about, it doesnt take much you just want him to get it in to his system to lube things up and get things moving, heres a link to help you understand what im talking about.. http://www.walmart.com/ip/Aaron-Brands-Intestinal-Lubricant-Mineral-Oil-16-fl-oz/10423864

also for the pumpkin you can use canned pumpkin if you can find it, just make sure its 100% pumpkin no additives.

Right! The Aspen is out tommorrow! I will take your advance and convert everything into coir instead!

Save from dirt/soil/sand mix, anything else one uses as bedding? Tragically, in HK, getting organic soil with no fertilizer and play sand is next to impossible. Just want to find something that they would like to burrow in at night to sleep. So far, they dont seem to like to sleep on the coir at night, they always choose the Aspen bedding.

Thanks!!
 

SulcataSquirt

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I would also steer away from sand, that can cause impaction too. you could use try using the coco coir chunks for them to sleep in if they dont like the coir to sleep in, also if they arnt likeing the coir to sleep in bc it is damp you could try keeping it a little drier for them to sleep on. Or check out this link you could use something like this.... http://www.petco.com/product/108967...rium-Moss-Substrate.aspx?CoreCat=OnSiteSearch
 

Badger

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Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to give everyone a quick update on Goldie's situation:

I went to get a baby's bath tub this morning and gave Goldie 40 min warm soak. Still no output, but he did seem to enjoy the bath. Normally after 15 mins, he starts to figet and move around a lot but today he appears content to be immersed in water. As a control, I also gave Shelly a long bath and she also seemed to be much calmer than usual. It is probably because we did this earlier in the day and far away from dinner time so they probably figure that there is nowhere to rush to!

Took Goldie to the vet this afternoon and after initial exam, the vet believes to be a "simple" intestinal infection. I told him my concern with regards to impaction so we did an xray just to be sure. The xray came out clean, no foreign object, no obstruction and no large build up of poo. What the xray did indicate was lots of gas, consistent with intenstial infection. The vet took a urine sample and we should have the tests results next week. The treatment is a course of antibiotics and some salt supplements to replenish his electrolytes.

Goldie is still visibly weak and basically have little appetite. He did take a few bites from the greens that I handfed him. Feeding the antibiotics is bit of a problem, normally he would try to eat anything but today, the syringe offered little interest to him. Mixing the medicine with mazuri and pumpkin appears to have done the trick and we have managed to get him to injest his medication.

After knowing about the possibilty that aspen can cause impaction (so far, it appears that this is not what Goldie has) I took out all the Aspen from their enclosure. However, after some thought, I put some fresh ones back in. I figure that Goldie is not interest in eating much anyways and Aspen is pretty far down his favorite food list, I imagine there is for now, little danger of him ingesting more. I didnt want to change too much of his surrounding while he is trying to recover and since he really enjoys sleeping in Aspen at night, I thought to leave it there to allow him a good night sleep. As soon as he is better, I wont take the chance and will definately remove all the Aspen going forward.

Poor Shelly will now have to be separated and live in a much smaller enclosure just in case she gets infected as well (so far, without Goldie's competition, she seem to be eating even more than usual).

I will update everyone again on Goldie's progress.

I just want to thank everyone for the kind words and support. We have been pretty worried over this whole thing, especially reading that impaction can potentially be lethal. I hope this course of treatment will help Goldie recover and a big thank you for everyone for sharing advice and experience!

Adam
 

dmmj

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Well it is good to hear it is easy to treat , thanks for the update.
 

pam

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Sounds like he is on his way to recovery :)
 

wellington

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So glad it wasn't more serious. She has a good owner taking care of her and I am sure she will be fine. Good luck. When she is feeling better, post some pics of the two. We love pics:D
 
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