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Plesae Help! Sick Aldabra Tortoise

Discussion in 'Aldabra tortoises' started by Badger, Mar 16, 2012.

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  1. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member Tortoise Club

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    I would have stayed with the coconut coir. I have never heard of anyone having a problem with it in any way, also you said they were doing good with it for two weeks. I also agree with Laura, maybe you are changing things to much. Just my opinion. Good Luck, hope it's just a change of things issue and that Goldie gets back to eating everything in sight that's good that is, very soon :D
  2. Badger

    Badger Member 5 Year Member

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    Update - 15/4/2012

    Hi Everyone,

    Its been a month since I started to post on Goldie's illness and I regret to say that things have taken a rapid and very bad turn.

    After the impaction incident, we thought Goldie was well on his way to a full recovery. Since Tuesday though, we notice lost of appetite and general inactivety. While we monitored the situation, it has taken a turn for the worst and we took him to the vet hospital yesterday.

    After testing the blood work, it turns out the situation is very grave. The white blood cell count was off the charts (50 vs 10 normal) and signs of kidney failure and anemia. While physically he showed no symtoms apart from lack of appetite and reduced activity, the vet told us the prognosis is quite poor. The cause is unknown, the feces sample showed a high activity of parasites as well. Whether this was introduced by food and his new hay surroundings we do not know. But the situation is very grave and now the treatment is soaking with electrolyte, antibiotics and deworming. Goldie is now staying in the hospital where he will remain for the next week and should the situation come worst, we would need to put him under and attach a feeding tube so he can be give his medicine. The vet mentioned that while normal anesthetic operation has a 99.9% of success, given the severity of his condition, the chance of him never waking up is much higher. His condition has not improved much today (though he is still quite active and has modest appetitte, the vet chalked the situation not deteriorating as a win). The most likely cause (we can only speculate) is that the impaction might have injured some of his intestine and hence any wounds would have made the chance of infection much higher.

    Given the contagous nature, we took Shelly to the hospital as well. She has also shown signs of reduced appetite and lack of activity in the past 48 hours. Doing the various xrays and blood work indicates that she might have impaction (previously from the Aspen). Though she did do a massive poo at the hospital which reduces the worry that it is anything too serious. Her blood work also showed evelated white blood cell count and lots of parasites in her feces. She is suffering from diareahea as well. Though her situation is not as bad as Goldie, she clearly is not well. We were allowed to take her home, and was given antibiotic injections to give over the next few days and deworming medicine for the parasite (whether she will eat it is altogether a completely different matter). We rummaged through the bin this afternoon today, where we had earlier disposed some her earlier food, hay and feces, and we found a lot of little flies, possibly from the parasite that has infected her.

    All in all, a pretty awful situation and I guess we should be prepared for the worst. If one thing I have learnt is that the siutation can take a rapid turn for the worst without you ever realising it. On Wednesday and Thursday, Shelly is physically normal, eating, pooing, all fine, and the only sign we saw was that she would wake up later than normal. Today, we found that she is also very sick.

    Upon reflection, I can only admit that I am a poor keeper of my beloved tortoises. Clearly, the fact that I have kept them indoors is probably what aggravated their condition and despite all the tweaks to their husbandry conditions, I could not provide a good enough living environment for them. I have already made plans to move them outdoors once they get better, to a place where they can get natural sunshine and fresh grass and weeds to feed on though it is likely to take a few more months to setup. I know that many keepers had kept their tortoise indoors without issue and allow their tortoise to thrive but I feel in this regard, I have totally failed them. While true that I care for them very much and regard them as the pride and joy of my life, it doesn't excuse the fact due to my inexperience and lack of knowledge have caused them great suffering.

    I endeavour to do better. I will do everything in my power to give them a good and healthy life. I just wish that I would be given a second chance to do so but as I am writing this, Goldie's life is hanging in the balance and this is no ones fault except my own.

    Will update everyone again tommorrow...hopefully with some better news.
  3. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member 10 Year Member! 5 Year Member

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    dont be too hard on yourself.. you are learning and growing, and you ARE doing everything you can for them now.. I hope Goldie turns around and Shelly get better on the meds.
  4. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member Tortoise Club

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    So sorry things went bad again for Goldie and now Shelly. You have not spared anything to take care of them. You can't blame yourself. Sometimes things just happen that we can not control. You have been giving it your all to get Goldie better and now Shelly. Thankfully they have you. Some people would have given up along time ago for lack of money or care. I am hoping you do get your second chance with them, you deserve it. You all are in our thoughts. Good luck.
  5. ALDABRAMAN

    ALDABRAMAN KEEPER AT HEART 5 Year Member

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    I hope for the best for you and your aldabra.
  6. Badger

    Badger Member 5 Year Member

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    Upate 16/4/2012

    Quick Update:

    Goldie remains in the hospital, they said that his condition is stable for now though will only know more tommorrow after more blood tests.

    Shelly is at home, visibly tired and inactive (I suspect she is a bit lonely while Goldie is not here and I am at the office!). Still has diarreaha but the good news is that her appetitte seems to have returned but no luck with the deworming medicine. I made a mazuri/papaya "cocktail" for her, she had a bite, looked disgusted and turn around and walked away. Good that she had her fill of leafy greens today and paced around a bit before calling it a night. She definitely have some stomach/intestinal issue becuase she is passing out a lot of gas! Given the lack of luck with the deworming medicine, we would need to take her back to the hospital so that the vet can put a metal feeding tube to get her to take some medicine. Poor girl, such stress.

    Hope to have some good news on Goldie tommorrow. Fingers crossed.
  7. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member Tortoise Club

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    Fingers, toes, eyes crossed. Sounds like Shelly is feeling a little better :D. As far as Goldie, at least she is still hanging in there, sounds like she's a fighter. Best things for you all tomorrow, if not yet today:)
  8. ALDABRAMAN

    ALDABRAMAN KEEPER AT HEART 5 Year Member

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    Sounds more positive.
  9. lushcious

    lushcious Active Member 5 Year Member

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    I wish the best for both of them! Stay strong for them!
  10. dmmj

    dmmj The member formerly known as captain awesome Moderator 10 Year Member!

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    Here is hoping they both get better, sad to hear after the good news before.
    Did the vet happen to say if the parasite loads were normal or high?
  11. Badger

    Badger Member 5 Year Member

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    Update - 17/4/2012

    Hi Everyone,

    Update: For those who are holding their breath, the news is positive.

    Goldie had another blood test today, his white blood cells have come down dramatically to 19 (vs 50). Urectic acid (kidney problem) and red blood cell count (anemia) appears to have returned to normal. Visibly much more active and appetite has returned to about 50% of normal. We were allowed to take him home today! After 4 stressful days in the hospital, he is now sleeping happily in his new hide box. He is still very sick, but at least we have some signs of improvement. Antibiotics shots, 2X daily soaks are still in order, we will monitor for another week and will take him to a follow up. Parasitic levels are still high, the vet was hoping that he can over time pass them out because the alternative is quite invasive where we need to put him under and attach feeding tube for deworming medicine.

    Shelly is still quite inactive, also perhaps adjusting to the fact that Goldie has not been around. We took her to the hospital today too and she was given a dose of deworming medicine (Goldie is too big to be force fed but Shelly is more gentle in nature). She too is on antibiotics shots, 2X daily soaks. She has a half decent appetitte and pass feces so we dont have to worry about impaction.

    As for husbandry, we continue with the normal except that now given the parasitic infection, we have to change the substrate and wipe down their enclosure every day. This helps to prevent them getting reinfected with the same parasite and hopefully over time reduce their parasite load. Giving them antibiotics injections is quite unnerving but I guess by the end of next week, we would have done ten and would get used to it!

    I am so glad to have Goldie back now and he is still far far away from normal. Perhaps one step at a time and do whatever I can. I hope his situation can improve each day. Now that Goldie is back, Shelly seems a bit livelier as well. Nothing quite like competition at the dinner bowl.

    I have learnt my lesson, and will not take another chance. We are now planning to move them outdoors though first we need to setup the garden and build a pen. In the meantime, as they recover, they would still need to be indoors. Hopefully by mid June, they would have fully recovered and strong enough to venture and live happily outdoors.

    As I said, recovery is still a long way away and the situation is still very dicey, but today is the first day of good news for an otherwise terrifying week.
  12. tweeter

    tweeter Member 5 Year Member

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    Badger, please, please don't be so hard on yourself. Your torts are so fortunate to have you! If you've made mistakes (and everyone does, it's how we learn) you've done more than many people could/would do to correct them.

    It's obvious how much you love them....we're all hoping for more great updates!!!
  13. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member Tortoise Club

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    GREAT NEWS :D Here's hoping for great continued progress. Even though the out doors is always better if possible, I don't think that was what caused this. In fact it may have been better that they were indoors, as you may have not noticed the differences happening if they were outside. I, also don't think you should be so hard on yourself. You have done very good by them, in fact you have done great by them. I am, I'm sure able to speak for everyone on TFO, that we are keeping you all in our thoughts and only hope for continued recovery.
  14. ALDABRAMAN

    ALDABRAMAN KEEPER AT HEART 5 Year Member

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    I agree, great news!
  15. tortadise

    tortadise Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    Im so sorry this is happening. I had this happen to an Egyptian tortoise with an oyster shell impacted in her. Ask the vet to order "critical care for herbivores" it's a very awesome supplant. If she eats you can put it on her food or mix with water and give orally with syringe. All the necessary nutrients and loads of vitamins to help clear and pass anything. I use it for Texas tortoises that are brought to my facility and not eating and very lethargic. It's like magic. Your vet should know which supplier has it. It's not that expensive but I used it a lot when I worked at a bet for torts or even rabbits that were anemic and deathly I'll. She will get through this. :)
  16. Badger

    Badger Member 5 Year Member

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    Update - 18/4/2012

    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks everyone for their support, kind words, suggestions and advice. It is heart warming to get such support during this rather difficult time!

    Today, Goldie and Shelly is both more active, they were willing to venture out of the sleeping spots to bask under the MVB. We can still see some pesky insects about though the number seems to have reduced. I hope that the daily cleaning and change of substrate will reduce the parasite load over time.

    Appettie has returned, in fact they were eating so much that I had to keep topping up their dinner bowl. Just their normal hay mix and leafy greens, it is encouraging that they are now eating everything rather then just picking out their favorite food.

    Antibiotic injection for Shelly today. Its the first time to do this ourselves at home. She was very cooperative though for a while afterwards she stomped around her enclosure bulldozing everything down and wouldnt even stop at the piece of papapya I gave her as a "truce". Happy to report that she has since gone to bed.

    Thats all for now...[hr]
    thank you so much!!! Appreciate your kind words and support![hr]
    thanks for the suggestion, I will ask the vet about this. What we have been prescribed is the zoomed repti boost, essentially just electrolyte powder to keep their glucose and salt levels up. We put it into their soak bath as they soak.
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