Russian Tortoise Won't Open His Eyes

Qwertchi

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Hi, I have a Russian Tortoise who recently got out of hibernation and won't open his eyes, won't eat, and will only drink when I give him a soak. I've looked this up, and I've gotten a thousand different answers all telling me different things. I assume he won't eat because he can't see since his eyes are closed. I've been giving him two 30 minute soaks every day for almost the past week or so, and for the past two days, I've been giving him vitamin A eye drops as well. Every time he drinks he drinks water or opens his mouth, his eyelids expand outwards, then sink back into a normal size. They also have a slight redness to them, and he has been rubbing his eyes as well. I'm worried since he hasn't eaten in almost a week that it might cause his condition to worsen. Should I give the eyedrops more time, or is it time for a vet? Any help would be appreciated, thanks! I would also like to add that I've had my tortoise for almost a decade now, and he has never had this problem before, and to my knowledge I haven't changed anything that would affect him in a meaningful way, that's why this is so worrisome to me.
 
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method89

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What are the Temps in his enclosure? New bulbs?

Can you post pictures of him and enclosure?
 

Qwertchi

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What are the Temps in his enclosure? New bulbs?

Can you post pictures of him and enclosure?
Here are closeups of my Tortoise's eyes and the enclosure. I don't have an exact humidity/temp reading as they were both lost because our family moves so often and things get lost. But when I did have them, I've always done the same routine of keeping the enclosure hot/humid and they always had readings normal readings. I am buying more soon so I can hopefully verify that. I've used the same brand of UV lightbulb and Heat Bulbs for a while now and they've never caused any problems. The lamps are always on, except at night I switch from the bright heat lamp to a dark red one. I understand that UV tubes are better, and I plan on making that upgrade very soon.

His eyes look a little wet because I had just given him his soak then eyedrops. His eyes haven't been leaky as far as I could tell, and he's had no other symptoms besides being very sedintary and not eating.

The box inside the enclosure is a temporary arrangement, I plan on getting something more adequet. It's hollow and allows him to get shade and cool off if need be. I understand that there needs to be a place for him to bask in the heat and a place to cool off, so that's why the heat lamp is on the farther side of the enclosure above the flat rock. He has plenty of substrate to bury himself. I've always used the same coconut fiber substrate. I've used the same enclosure since I got him, and he's never had problems eating or drinking out of the dishes. I normally mix in lettuce with his pellets, but since he hasn't eaten, I haven't put any in there yet, as they would probably just dry out. I clean the dishes every morning to make sure they aren't dirty. I don't currently have any decor in the enclosure due to over time just losing them since my family moves a lot and pack them in boxes that I never find or just get thrown out; but I plan on buying some very soon so it can look a bit more lively.

For as long as I've had him, this has never happened to him before. If there's anything wrong with how my enclosure is setup/missing, I can fix it asap. So please let me know if anything is causing my boy harm. He's always been a very healthy and active tortoise, so this is all so worrisome.
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method89

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Ohhh...

Ok, first thing turn the red light off. He doesn't need night heat if room temp is above 65. Plus nobody likes sleeping with the lights on.

I'm guessing the uv is a coil bulb... turn it off and replace with a ho t5 bulb when you can.

This should help
 

Qwertchi

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Ohhh...

Ok, first thing turn the red light off. He doesn't need night heat if room temp is above 65. Plus nobody likes sleeping with the lights on.

I'm guessing the uv is a coil bulb... turn it off and replace with a ho t5 bulb when you can.

This should help
Thank you for the advice, and I will get the bulb asap. I will try and keep updating on his status.
Would this bulb suffice?
 

method89

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These ideas may or may not work. Your torts eyes look very bad. I would continue to soak him daily for at least 30 min. If it doesn't get any better, you may have look further in to it. These are just the most common reasons.

How do you hibernate your tort? What is your process?

I know you said you move around alot but a Russian need a lot more room to run around. Can you get him something outdoors?
 

ZenHerper

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The compact uvb radiation bulbs will burn the corneas very badly over time.

If this tortoise was eating well last year, there is plenty of vitamin A stored in its liver. Applying more to the eyes can be toxic. (Vitamin A eye drops are labelled for turtles only and not tortoises.)

Look for either one of these preparations:



Buy some collard greens, put them through a blender (use a bit of water as needed), and add a tablespoon of collard puree to the soak water (keep the rest stored in the fridge in a closed container). Soak three times daily for 30 minutes under close observation.
 

Lyn W

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Hi and wlecome
Even though you've had him for 10 years you may find this up to date caresheet helpful

There is a lot of old information still being circulated but thankfully the welfare of torts has improved, so that torts can thrive and have longer happier lives.
 

Qwertchi

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These ideas may or may not work. Your torts eyes look very bad. I would continue to soak him daily for at least 30 min. If it doesn't get any better, you may have look further in to it. These are just the most common reasons.

How do you hibernate your tort? What is your process?

I know you said you move around alot but a Russian need a lot more room to run around. Can you get him something outdoors?
To be honest with you, I never knew there was a process. He's always just done it on his own. And there is no way I can get something outdoors. I got him as a surprise birthday gift when I was 10 years old and I've just always been told that tortoises were very low maintenance. That all he needed was food, water, shade, enough humidity, heat, and enough substrate to dig around in and they'll be fine. All of this is just being dumped on me all at once. I hope I haven't caused irreparable damage to him, but since you're telling me that I had to have been doing all of this stuff, I have a feeling that I have. I just had no idea. I just feel so horrible about all of this. I've ordered the reptile eye rinse and the HO T5 bulb. If there's anything else I can buy, let me know. If his eyes don't open by the end of the week, I'm going to take him to the vet.
 

ZenHerper

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Pet stores sell all sorts of living beings as Easy Pets for Children and then give all the wrong care information with those animals. This is not your fault. At all.

You are here seeking to help repair what's going wrong. That's amazing!

Your tort is badly dehydrated from resting for so many months without water. When they Winter Rest in captivity in their regular habitat, they should be soaked once weekly to keep up their hydration status.

Soaking three times daily at this point is aimed at correcting the dehydration. Mixing in the pureed greens will provide some nutrition and calories as he drinks or soaks up water through the vent in the tail.

Turn off the coil bulb - he can go without it until the tube one comes.

Reptiles are temperature and humidity dependent. You need the proper tools to measure those parameters:

You don't stick it on a wall, you move it around to test the temperature and humidity at a few points through the enclosure:
*coolest end
*basking spot
*middle range everywhere else

There is a lot more great up-to-date care information here:

Please, please update how things are going, and if you have more questions!
 

Yvonne G

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Just in case you don't know, that bulb needs its own fixture to mount it in. If the place you ordered the bulb from doesn't also sell the fixture, you can try lightyourreptiles.com
 

Lyn W

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You are not the first and won't be the last to have been given wrong information and at 10 years of age you wouldn't have known to question it . The important thing is that you want to learn how to make his life better and this is the best place to do that. There is a lot more to keeping torts than people think. I had a very steep learning curve when I became the owner of a tort that wasn't planned.
If he doesn't have an enclosure to get some uvb from sunshine then something like a kiddie or dog paddling pool will make a good temp enclosure for some short spells outdoors, as long as it's deep enough so he can't climb out and has shade and water available and is safe from birds and predators. For a permanent home you are looking at a minimum of 4 x 8 feet for an adult but the bigger the better. They need space to roam for bone health and to digest food. Something like the Lifetime raised garden bed kits are also a good option.
 

Qwertchi

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Pet stores sell all sorts of living beings as Easy Pets for Children and then give all the wrong care information with those animals. This is not your fault. At all.

You are here seeking to help repair what's going wrong. That's amazing!

Your tort is badly dehydrated from resting for so many months without water. When they Winter Rest in captivity in their regular habitat, they should be soaked once weekly to keep up their hydration status.

Soaking three times daily at this point is aimed at correcting the dehydration. Mixing in the pureed greens will provide some nutrition and calories as he drinks or soaks up water through the vent in the tail.

Turn off the coil bulb - he can go without it until the tube one comes.

Reptiles are temperature and humidity dependent. You need the proper tools to measure those parameters:

You don't stick it on a wall, you move it around to test the temperature and humidity at a few points through the enclosure:
*coolest end
*basking spot
*middle range everywhere else

There is a lot more great up-to-date care information here:

Please, please update how things are going, and if you have more questions!
Today the reptile rinse came in, and I gave him 2 eye drops for each eye, and I plan to do it two more times today per the instructions. Also since yesterday, I've been giving him three 30 minute soaks in the pureed collard greens. The eyedrops say if nothing changes within a week, contact a vet, so that's what I plan on doing. Thank you all so much for the help, and I really hope he gets better sooner rather than later.
 

jsheffield

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I know you're getting lots of advice, and it's all good, but I'm going to give you one more piece... specifically about soaking.

I took in a sick and dehydrated hingeback a while back and the thing that made the difference with him was long warm soaks in babyfood and water.

I mixed organic babyfood with carrots (mainly, although some also had sweet potato, mango, and banana variously) with warm water at about a 1:1.5 ratio of babyfood to water.

I made sure that the water was deep enough to just reach the tort's carapace when it was standing, which meant that even if it pulled in its legs, it could keep its head above the mixture.

I kept the mixture (and tort) warm by putting the soaking tray in the enclosure such that it would stay about 80 degrees.

I soaked the tort for between 4 and 10 hours a day initially, then decreasing as time went by and he got better... it seems extreme, but I truly believe that it helped.

Fingers crossed for your tort!

Jamie
 

Qwertchi

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@Qwertchi any update/progress?
Not that I can tell. But I had just gotten the reptile rinse today and I only started giving him the collard green soaks yesterday, so I didn't really expect much to happen right away. It seems he's a lot more active though, which hopefully is a good sign of things to come.
 

Qwertchi

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@Qwertchi any update/progress?
Potentially good news, his eyes have opened (somewhat). I have been giving him the pureed collard green soaks and reptile rinse eye drops every day and it finally seems to be making progress. I say somewhat because I can only sort of see his eyeball. I'll show pictures to show you what I mean. I say potentially because I have no idea if his eyes are damaged in any way. They look a lot better though, the swelling and redness are essentially gone. Let me know if I should be worried. Thanks again for the help. 20210615_203713.jpg 20210615_203710.jpg
 

method89

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Keep plugging away... definitely a improvement.. have you figured out his Temps and proper lighting?
 
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