Red tinge on hermann's shell (pics)

Mixcoatl

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Gave my 3 year old Hermann's tortoise a soak after work and noticed he had a weird red tinge to his shell that wasn't there the day before
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looked him over and there are definitely red splotches on the plastron
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He gets checked over every other day so was shocked to see this. He has otherwise been active and alert. He also had solid poops and normal pee during the soak. Wasn't interested in dandelion greens, but soaked a few Mazuri pellets and he chowed down. Booking an appointment with the vet ASAP, but posting so maybe someone can help identify or has had this happen before. Most sources are saying it's later stages of sepsis
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KarenSoCal

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I've never had personal experience with sepsis, but the subject does come up now and then.

Sepsis does look like what is shown under the plastron. But I have never seen it look like that on the carapace.

I'm also surprised that he has not shown any evidence of being sick. For all this to show up in one day with no illness is, I believe, not the normal progression.

Make sure to update this thread when you've seen the vet!
 

Mixcoatl

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I've never had personal experience with sepsis, but the subject does come up now and then.

Sepsis does look like what is shown under the plastron. But I have never seen it look like that on the carapace.

I'm also surprised that he has not shown any evidence of being sick. For all this to show up in one day with no illness is, I believe, not the normal progression.

Make sure to update this thread when you've seen the vet!
Thank you, extra set of eyes are appreciated and I will keep updating. I'll make sure to get blood work done to confirm.

He has been in his outdoor enclosure and the past two days here have been chilly(52f) and overcast after a week of mostly sun and warm, 75f weather. on overcast and windy days he's usually burrowed in his hide and I have to coax him out in the morning to bask and eat. Maybe this was lethargy and not his usual behavior. I'm kicking myself for not tugging him out and checking him over, but there is an emergency exotic vet nearby so if he's not himself in the morning I can get him a same day appointment.
 

Tom

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1. Be careful with vets. Most have no idea what they are doing with tortoises, despite their willingness to take your money. Don't allow a "vitamin injection". Be very careful with what antibiotics are offered. No injectable Baytril. It is caustic like bleach.
2. Your tortoise needs warmth on days that are cold and overcast. Read this care sheet. I explain with pics how to do this: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/the-best-way-to-raise-any-temperate-species-of-tortoise.183131/
You need ambient heat to keep the night time lows just a little less low, and you need basking heat so the tortoise can get up to temperature even on a cloudy day. The basking lamp will also warm up the daytime ambient.
3. If this were sepsis, I don't think your tortoise would be up and about, eating and what not. Sometimes when there is new growth, like springtime, the shell will show some vascularization. This is commonly seen as pinkish or blood colored lines between the scutes or patches on the plastrons of light colored species like sulcatas. In either case, the ability to warm up is necessary. Your tortoise's immune system cannot function when the tortoise is consistently cold all the time.
 

Mixcoatl

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1. Be careful with vets. Most have no idea what they are doing with tortoises, despite their willingness to take your money. Don't allow a "vitamin injection". Be very careful with what antibiotics are offered. No injectable Baytril. It is caustic like bleach.
2. Your tortoise needs warmth on days that are cold and overcast. Read this care sheet. I explain with pics how to do this: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/the-best-way-to-raise-any-temperate-species-of-tortoise.183131/
You need ambient heat to keep the night time lows just a little less low, and you need basking heat so the tortoise can get up to temperature even on a cloudy day. The basking lamp will also warm up the daytime ambient.
3. If this were sepsis, I don't think your tortoise would be up and about, eating and what not. Sometimes when there is new growth, like springtime, the shell will show some vascularization. This is commonly seen as pinkish or blood colored lines between the scutes or patches on the plastrons of light colored species like sulcatas. In either case, the ability to warm up is necessary. Your tortoise's immune system cannot function when the tortoise is consistently cold all the time.

Thanks for the thorough reply Tom. Herp vets I've contacted so far are not taking new patients due to the pandemic so until someone sees us, I'll monitor him closely with updates.

Brought the ceramic heat lamp out and his outdoor humid hide is coming up to temp. Can growth lines look like the darker red splotches on his plastron? They looked more serious than the pink on his back scutes. Never encountered either on him before so I am going off of different pics from past threads here.

Mix woke up to bask, took a Mazuri pellet with some white clover, and was following and exploring while I watered the plants. Red on his shell and belly hasn't faded or spread from what I can tell.
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Taylorlynn48

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Poor baby. I hope he feels better. Continue to keep us posted and post pictures of enclosure set up.
Do you maintain a clean area for waste? and give regular baths?
 

Mixcoatl

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Poor baby. I hope he feels better. Continue to keep us posted and post pictures of enclosure set up.
Do you maintain a clean area for waste? and give regular baths?
Thank you. These forums are very helpful so I am sure we're in good hands.
He gets baths at least 2-3 times a week for 15 minutes. The c&c grid gate opens up in the top soil area and he usually does his business on the floor outside his enclosure. The dirt area is spot cleaned every day and he hasn't ever gone in his hides or basking area since i keep those areas dry
 

Mixcoatl

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Check around that he's not getting wedged somewhere and has to pull himself loose (and scrapes the shell in the process).

(Straw/hay is no use to this species and is a potential place for mold and bacteria to colonize.)
Thanks! I have checked around and cleared some areas that he might be getting caught in. Do you think it could be bruising? The grid separating his dry/warm side from his cool/dirt side was kept low since he likes to scratch himself against it sometimes, but the squeeze might be too tight so it's been lifted up.

Originally there was no timothy hay in this enclosure because of those reasons you stated, but he enjoys burrowing and making tunnels in it so much I decided to put a few handfuls into that large terracotta pot. It gets checked daily for any dampness, but if it's more danger than enrichment then it can go. Any recommendations for an alternative?
 

ZenHerper

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Thanks! I have checked around and cleared some areas that he might be getting caught in. Do you think it could be bruising? The grid separating his dry/warm side from his cool/dirt side was kept low since he likes to scratch himself against it sometimes, but the squeeze might be too tight so it's been lifted up.

Originally there was no timothy hay in this enclosure because of those reasons you stated, but he enjoys burrowing and making tunnels in it so much I decided to put a few handfuls into that large terracotta pot. It gets checked daily for any dampness, but if it's more danger than enrichment then it can go. Any recommendations for an alternative?
The spots just look more traumatic than infective...especially with his degree of activity. Tortoises don't bother to back up when the going gets tight - they just barrel through. Keep an eye on it and make sure there are no muddy spots that might incubate microbes that would take advantage of the bruised surfaces.

A pile of damp fir bark (often sold as Orchid bark for gardeners) or cypress mulch would be a good alternative, and will be easier to maintain as a pile.
 

Mixcoatl

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The spots just look more traumatic than infective...especially with his degree of activity. Tortoises don't bother to back up when the going gets tight - they just barrel through. Keep an eye on it and make sure there are no muddy spots that might incubate microbes that would take advantage of the bruised surfaces.

A pile of damp fir bark (often sold as Orchid bark for gardeners) or cypress mulch would be a good alternative, and will be easier to maintain as a pile.
That is really reassuring to hear, thanks a bunch. Tunnels and hides will get an upgrade so he has ample room when entering. The timothy hay has been cleared out and I'll be picking up orchid bark for him 🪵
 

Jan A

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Thanks for the thorough reply Tom. Herp vets I've contacted so far are not taking new patients due to the pandemic so until someone sees us, I'll monitor him closely with updates.

Brought the ceramic heat lamp out and his outdoor humid hide is coming up to temp. Can growth lines look like the darker red splotches on his plastron? They looked more serious than the pink on his back scutes. Never encountered either on him before so I am going off of different pics from past threads here.

Mix woke up to bask, took a Mazuri pellet with some white clover, and was following and exploring while I watered the plants. Red on his shell and belly hasn't faded or spread from what I can tell.
View attachment 325365 View attachment 325366 View attachment 325367
Any chance he's come across something with red dye, red flower, strawberry, something that transferred onto him? Probably dumb question on my part, but...i've churned out quite the few pink pieces of underwear in my days
 

Mixcoatl

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Any chance he's come across something with red dye, red flower, strawberry, something that transferred onto him? Probably dumb question on my part, but...i've churned out quite the few pink pieces of underwear in my days
Hm...the only red plants he's been fed recently are the flowers from my flowering maple plant and some radicchio 🤔
 
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