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Should I try to force feed

Discussion in 'Russian tortoises' started by Mum2Shelly, Nov 15, 2019.

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  1. Mum2Shelly

    Mum2Shelly New Member

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    Hi everyone, we have a 2yr old very small for age Horsfield who has been quite poorly now for some time. After a vet visit, where they took blood tests, an infection was diagnosed and anti-biotics were prescribed for him. We were given 10 doses to be given every 3 days and we now have only 2 doses left to administer. Although we have seen some signs of improvement in movement and activity, Sheldon still isn’t eating anything and I’m wondering if we should try to feed him ourselves. I’m guessing this is quite difficult but is it worth a try and any suggestions on what / how to try and feed him?
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  2. ZEROPILOT

    ZEROPILOT Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Antibiotics often kill the beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract as well as the "bad" bacteria.
    Digestion may not be possible right now.
    How long has it been since he ate?
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  3. ZEROPILOT

    ZEROPILOT Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    Will he drink?
    Soak him in a shallow dish of warm water with carrot or sweet potato baby food mixed in it.
    Soaking is always good, and he may take in some nutrients, also. Sometimes that will jumpstart eating
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  4. Mum2Shelly

    Mum2Shelly New Member

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    Thank you for your reply. He hadn’t eaten for 5-6 weeks prior to taking him to vets so now it’s been even another 2 weeks. I know Tortoises can go a long time without eating but he’s tiny and he obviously has lost weight. We have been bathing him daily and adding Reptoboost to water but I will try adding the baby food and hope that helps. How much would we need to add, should it still just look like coloured water or do w3 add enough to thick the liquid?
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  5. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    What food do you offer?
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  6. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Chop up some iceburg lettuce into tiny bites and see if he'll eat that. If yes, then slowly, over time, start adding better greens, finely chopped.
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  7. Mum2Shelly

    Mum2Shelly New Member

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    We’ve been putting his usual food out each day, which is mainly Kale, red leaf lettuce, dandelion leaf, occasional bit of cucumber or strawberry but he hasn’t eaten anything. I’ll try putting out bits of iceberg lettuce and try the bathing on baby food. Thank you
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  8. nicoble

    nicoble Member 5 Year Member

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    my tort isn't crazy about dandelion or red leaf - only eats kale if there isn't anything else lol ... romaine and cactus ( find a Mexican/ latin store and ask for "nopales"- they are inexpensive and last in the fridge for months ) are his favorite ...depending on what he might have been used to I would also get Mazuri LS pellets and possibly even grassland pellets ... my tort loves those but only soaked - at this point forget about " good" food - you never know what torts were raised on - if you find something he likes - even if it isn't super nutritious it is a starting point and you can mix other things in ... I wouldn't feed fruit or cucumber ... try squash maybe ... mine also will eat flowers in small amounts - like African violet or Pansy. I would not force-feed unless you have lots of experience tube feeding as ... there is a good change you can use internal damage or aspirate the animal ...
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  9. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    What caused this problem in the first place. A two year old tortoise doesn't get sick for no reason. The cause of the problem needs to be discovered and corrected. This is usually temperatures, lighting, enclosure size, or diet. Most often temperatures.

    What are this tortoises four temps? Warm side, cool side, basking area and overnight low? What heating and lighting equipment are you using to achieve these temps? What size enclosure and can we get a pic?

    When they don't eat there is a reason. Forcing food into them when their GI tract isn't ready for food will not help anything. Correcting the problem will usually get a tortoise back on track, if it isn't already too far gone.
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  10. Heckhaven

    Heckhaven Member

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    Tort's, like us and any living thing, can go a good while without food, But they (and us) need to be hydrated. Dehydration will shut down the Digestion system & and other body systems. If you force food and he is de-hydrated - it will do more harm than good. I know nothing about Reptoboost -but if you can't find it quickly - We use Pedialyte on all our intakes - Mammals, Raptors, Reptiles, etc.. Pedialyte is used for kids and can be found most any food or drug store. Used for hydration. Use an eyedropper to put a squirt in mouth as often as you can. And, most Antibiotics will dehydrate.
  11. Mum2Shelly

    Mum2Shelly New Member

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    After discussing with people at reptile store, We think the problem was probably caused by a change to his lighting, we have now reverted back to the lighting he’s used to but that didn’t resolve the problem and hence the Vet trip.
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  12. Maro2Bear

    Maro2Bear Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Please try and upload a picture of your tort’s enclosure.

    I don’t see anywhere where you detail the heating situation or lighting?

    I’m guessing, enclosure was kept too cold (and possibly lights not on long enough). Anyhow, upload a pix.
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  13. engrken

    engrken New Member

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    Russian torties are ready to hibernate about now which may be a factor. Ours began eating very little about a month ago but the warm weather on the central coast of California has him confused so he gets up every three days or so.

    Ken S.
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  14. Mum2Shelly

    Mum2Shelly New Member

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    Well Sheldon completed the course of antibiotics over 2 weeks ago now and has shown absolutely no sign of improvement. He’s not moving around much, not opening eyes, not eating or drinking. We,re still giving him daily baths, we’ve tried baby food in the water and reptoboost. I feel like we,re just watching him die, it’s not nice at all feeling helpless.

    For the people asking about his living conditions, I’ve already checked all these things on previous post and with the reptile store and they all said the habitat is fine. Temp under heat lamp is 34, cooler end 20, he’s in a table top in Daughters bedroom so overnight temp no lower than 18 degrees.

    I can’t bear the idea that he may be in any kind of pain and am now starting the think another vet trip may be needed but Is there anything else we can try?
  15. Sterant

    Sterant Well-Known Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    What is the antibiotic you are administering and is it injectable or oral?
  16. Mum2Shelly

    Mum2Shelly New Member

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    He had blood sample taken and results suggested an infection so we,ve been administering antibiotics via injections every 3 days (10 in total). He did briefly pick up and started moving around more after about 3rd or 4th injection but didn’t maintain that and now he seems to be back to square 1
  17. ZEROPILOT

    ZEROPILOT Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club Tortoise Club

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    I don't recall many (Any?) posts about a pet store employee that ever gave good advice.
    Not that one wouldn't exist....
    But I would listen to these actual keepers and discount anything someone at the pet shop suggested.
    This forum represents the latest, best information from first hand knowledge by people with no financial interest in you.
  18. MPappagallo

    MPappagallo Well-Known Member

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    If you have access to hibicus flowers, try giving him some of those. My little Russian is a bit of a picky eater....but he goes after those like he is starving. If you don't have access to them, check with herb stores, etc to see if you can get dried ones....or even hibiscus powder. You can mix the hibiscus powder with water and sprinkle it on his food to see if he will eat something. Hibiscus should not be his whole diet, but if it gets him to start eating a bit, he might gain some of his strength and weight back again. Best of luck to you.
  19. Mum2Shelly

    Mum2Shelly New Member

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    The guy at the reptile store didn’t actually try to sell me anything, just offered some advice which turned out to be the same advice that I was offered from keepers on this site so hopefully I got a good one.
  20. Mum2Shelly

    Mum2Shelly New Member

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    Thank you, I will certainly look into that now
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