Russian’s vision not good after hibernation

RosemaryDW

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Addy came out of hibernation four days ago and last night and this morning I noticed she can’t see well; she is grabbing air while trying to browse. I don’t give her any food when she wakes up; just let her eat our weeds, so I didn’t notice it straight off.

I’ve researched here and believe she is slightly dehydrated (first urates had egg white consistency; rubbing eyes). Not sure how that happened, she had less than one percent weight loss during hibernation and had very little interest in drinking when she woke up. But it is what it is.

Her appetite is excellent, particularly if I hold the food for her. She gets around the yard fine, just a little more slowly than usual. I believe she’ll get better, although obviously I am worried about her. I’m feeding some foods high in water content for now. She has zero interest in soaking but I’ll keep it up.

What is worrying me at this moment is that she is having these very brief moments of tiny movements of the entire thread. It’s very subtle, at first I thought it was my poor vision but it isn’t. Like the tiniest and quickest seizure. Any ideas of what might cause this? Part of dehydration?
 

Bee62

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When you think your tort is dehydrated ---- soak ! Don`t wait that she might drink. Put her in warm water for half an hour or longer. Soaking will not hurt your tort.
 

KarenSoCal

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I know you brumate in a fridge like I do. Was she on the same substrate as other winters? No sign of a runny nose? Anything at all different about the fridge? Any chance of exposure to something, in fridge or since?

Just throwing out what has popped into my head...
 

RosemaryDW

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I know you brumate in a fridge like I do. Was she on the same substrate as other winters? No sign of a runny nose? Anything at all different about the fridge? Any chance of exposure to something, in fridge or since?

The fridge is different this year; my husband engineered the heck out of it to make sure there were no temperature fluctuations because I wasn’t happy with last year’s setup! :) We cleaned it well before she went in there.

She had an RI last year; I’m not very experienced but this doesn’t seem like that. She was walking in circles when she got out, falling asleep in the bath tub, that kind of thing. Much more distressing than this, even though our vet said it was only a slight infection.

It’s hard when we have only the one tortoise, nothing to compare to.
 

RosemaryDW

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When you think your tort is dehydrated ---- soak ! Don`t wait that she might drink. Put her in warm water for half an hour or longer. Soaking will not hurt your tort.

Thank you. I know it won’t hurt her; more that I thought she’d be more interested in drinking than she is, if she were sick.
 

RosemaryDW

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Thank you.

Her eyes don’t look like I think they should but she’s not rubbing at them any more; she’s having some eye drops in the morning in case they help. I *think* the head movement is less.

Her vision may not be perfect but her appetite is incredible; six days out and she already weighs more than she did last year at her heaviest point. :eek: She’s behaving in every other way like she does in a normal spring. Eating all day and staying out until the last possible minute.

She did tip herself over navigating a couple of boulders this morning but she’ll remember that as a route that doesn’t work. If not we’ll block it off.

Catching the last rays of the day next to her night box:

90D77657-52AE-44B9-8F81-986E4AE1EDCD.jpeg
 

KarenSoCal

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Well, I'm glad she is a bit better, even if not 100% yet.

She looks like she is tipped against her box, letting the sun warm her on both sides. How cute! She reminds me of people when we relax in the recliner before bed.

Don't you wonder what she is thinking? Maybe dreaming of vast fields of bright flowers and grass...but no cilantro! [emoji2]
 

RosemaryDW

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I am certain she is anxiously awaiting the sun, so that she can start eating again. It’s really tremendous to watch; she’s already done damage to several of her favorites.

Russians are supercharged to eat in the spring; I sometimes wonder how other tortoises behave after hibernation. Are they calmer? Or about the same as Addy?
 

RosemaryDW

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Any chance frost might have gotten to her eyes? Does it look like there's a milky white coating on the eyeball?

I did think about that originally @Yvonne G and I won’t say it’s impossible. There was a day when we found some light frost in one corner of her box, not close to anywhere she ever digs into. I checked her eyes at that time and they were fine. We redid the insulation in her fridge so that it w/shouldn’t happen again.

No obvious coating. One eye is clear but squinty and not as round as I would like; that’s the one I think is the problem. The other eye seems okay to me—just the regular circle of skin (eyelid?) around the pupil—but since the eyes don’t look the same right now, it’s hard to say if it’s perfect.

If it *was* frost, what can we do to help? If we can’t help, what should we expect? Would a tortoise with dehydrated eyes behave differently from one with frost-impacted eyes?
 

RosemaryDW

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Whoops, didn't see this.

The weird head movements have stopped but I don't think there is much change in the vision. I think the gel has made her more comfortable; I'm not seeing much eye rubbing.

Since it hasn't cleared up on its own we see the vet Monday. I think she's having a little trouble swallowing as well. Weird.

She's doing well otherwise. She's going to hit three pounds this month. Quite large for a wild caught. If you didn't know her you'd think she's fine.
 

KarenSoCal

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Whoops, didn't see this.

The weird head movements have stopped but I don't think there is much change in the vision. I think the gel has made her more comfortable; I'm not seeing much eye rubbing.

Since it hasn't cleared up on its own we see the vet Monday. I think she's having a little trouble swallowing as well. Weird.

She's doing well otherwise. She's going to hit three pounds this month. Quite large for a wild caught. If you didn't know her you'd think she's fine.
Be sure to let us know what the vet says!
 

Tom

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Just seeing this thread now...

So there was frost forming inside the hibernation fridge? That would be my first guess about the cause of the problem.

I run two or three thermometers inside my hibernation fridge and keep it round 40 for Russians. What was the temp in yours?
 
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