Seeking a second opinion

TobiasTheTortoise

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
Lancashire
I was wondering what people's thoughts are on seeking a second medical opinion from a vet, and whether it'd be considered bad form.

My Hermann's was a little out of sorts at the beginning of February. Eating etc fine, just something didn't seem right and I suspected dehydration. Took him to his vet, who to her credit has always been amazing, and very knowledgeable, specialising in exotics. She confirmed dehydration as I had thought and we noticed the red spots on the plastron indicating sepsis.

He stayed over for a few days to get fluids and anti biotics, had bloods, then released into my care, with more anti biotics (ceftazidine) to be administered every 3 days.

Throughout he has been absolutely fine, no change in appetite, passing of waste, or general demeanor and behaviour. If you didn't know, you wouldn't think anything wrong. I've been administering the anti biotics since, so we're looking at a month so far. He had bloods drawn on Friday to see how his markers were doing, and the vets words today were they're worse. I'm not overly proficient with the terms but i believe the uric acid was a concern which may indicate kidney issues?

Her solution currently is to continue with antibiotics for a further month, so every 3 days. And to give him an oral solution in addition for a week, which name escapes me. Im picking it up tomorrow so can clarify.

My concern is, and again I'm no vet and thinking from a human perspective, surely being on antibiotics for 2 months would be wreaking havoc with his already delicate system.
That's why I am wondering should I try to get a second opinion? I'd hate to offend my vet as she has been stellar over the years, and it'd almost feel like infidelity going elsewhere, even just for a fresh set of eyes.

Any help would be great. I would hate to cause him any harm in the long run by overdoing it with medications, but there's just that niggling little thought in the back of my head.

I work in the veterinary industry - Pet owners ask for second opinions all the time and it’s fine👍🏼! x
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Original vet visit was for wheezing/squeaking, and passing a clumpy urate. The medication was prescribed as he was presenting signs of sepsis (red spots on shell, particularly around humeral and femoral scutes). Blood work resulted in elevated infection markers (white blood cell?). The redness has not dissipated over the past month. Wheezing has ceased completely, and all 'movements' now consistent with what I would expect.

The blood work today has shown those markers not improving, along with uric acid. I know exactly what you're saying, and if the other symptoms weren't present initially I wouldnt have thought anything of it.
Here's the problem I always see with vets treating tortoises: They want to treat symptoms with no understanding of, or remedy for, the PROBLEM causing the symptoms.

Most people don't care for tortoises correctly. Most breeders, vets, pet shops, books and websites give bad advice and don't understand why the stuff they've "known" for decades is wrong. Wrong type of enclosure, wrong size enclosure, wrong temperatures, wrong water bowls, Wrong heating and lighting, wrong substrate, wrong soaking routine, wrong diet, etc...

What should have been done initially is figuring out WHY your tortoise is having these issues and then correcting that problem. How often do you soak? Frequent soaks, along with the correct diet, substrate and housing, will prevent the gritty urates. What were/are you doing wrong there?

The wheezing and squeaking is almost certainly an oncoming respiratory infection. This is almost always caused by temperatures being too cold. What are your four temps, and how are you achieving/maintaining those temps?

Tortoises don't get sick for no reason. Find the reason, correct it, and they will usually heal themselves without harsh drugs or expensive vet care.

If there ws sepsis, this is a catastrophic failure and the tortoise should have been near death. Few tortoises survive once visible sepsis is present, and I've never seen a case where they are walking around eating and behaving normally when sepsis is present and visible through the plastron. What age and size tortoise are we talking about?

These are just some of the issues you and your vet should have examined before any meds were prescribed.
 

queen koopa

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
Las Vegas Nevada
Here's the problem I always see with vets treating tortoises: They want to treat symptoms with no understanding of, or remedy for, the PROBLEM causing the symptoms.

Most people don't care for tortoises correctly. Most breeders, vets, pet shops, books and websites give bad advice and don't understand why the stuff they've "known" for decades is wrong. Wrong type of enclosure, wrong size enclosure, wrong temperatures, wrong water bowls, Wrong heating and lighting, wrong substrate, wrong soaking routine, wrong diet, etc...

What should have been done initially is figuring out WHY your tortoise is having these issues and then correcting that problem. How often do you soak? Frequent soaks, along with the correct diet, substrate and housing, will prevent the gritty urates. What were/are you doing wrong there?

The wheezing and squeaking is almost certainly an oncoming respiratory infection. This is almost always caused by temperatures being too cold. What are your four temps, and how are you achieving/maintaining those temps?

Tortoises don't get sick for no reason. Find the reason, correct it, and they will usually heal themselves without harsh drugs or expensive vet care.

If there ws sepsis, this is a catastrophic failure and the tortoise should have been near death. Few tortoises survive once visible sepsis is present, and I've never seen a case where they are walking around eating and behaving normally when sepsis is present and visible through the plastron. What age and size tortoise are we talking about?

These are just some of the issues you and your vet should have examined before any meds were prescribed.
I’ve been waiting for Tom to join in. Tortoise don’t get sick for no reason, somethings wrong with husbandry. If there is a knowledge vet in existence in your area go to them. If they don’t ask you about husbandry and go right to antibiotics again, you know they are of the same sort that prescribes without giving a thought to what caused it. I do agree with you, months of antibiotics is going to reek havoc on the little torts body.
 
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