Sick Baby Greek, Please Help!

Smiller515

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Feb 11, 2016
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Buffalo, New York
Hi Everyone, A week ago I wrote about my sick baby tortoise, Zeus. I was able to get him into the vet and he has stayed there for a week and has made it through and doing better, but it is a slow process.

He is opening his eyes and moving around more and I was able to take him home last night after a week. Vet says he was dehydrated and needed calcium and vitamins.

She believes he was shipped too young and when it was too cold. He has signs of a respiratory infection and she gave him some antibiotics and injections of calcium and vitamins daily and his shell has gotten stronger. She's been tube feeding him and he has been refusing to eat on his own and still has not pooped in a week. Any suggestions for me at home to help keep him on the mend and to get him back to eating and pooping. I accept that this will be a long process as he is still just about 4 months old and will need to fight through this. I have him on paper towels in a large plastic storage bin, and a mercury vapor bulb for head and uvb. Keeping humidity lower as the vet did (20-30%) and temps from 93-78 as she said to keep him warmer.

The vet had a heat pad, a heat light, and UVB strip, but I found the heating pad made my enclosure way too hot and it was hard to control the temps.

I've noticed my tortoise won't open his eyes much now under the uvb but he will when I hold him away from the direct light. Should I switch to two different bulbs for heat and uvb? Could it be te Mercury bulb that is causing problems? I'm a tortoise newbie and doing all that I possibly can to keep this little guy going.

As for feeding I've tried soaking in baby food and vitas ok and nothing is working. Please help!
 

SarahChelonoidis

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How close is the bulb to your tortoise? Even if the temperature is right, it is possible for the light to be too bright. A UVB sensitive meter and a thermometer together are really the only way to get the height of a bulb perfect. Are you in a climate where you can take your tortoise out for real sun for half an hour a day or so?
 

Yvonne G

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Set up the small hospital tank with an overall temperature of 80-85F degrees. Soak the baby daily in half and half Gerber strained carrots and warm water. Leave him in the soak for at least a half hour, and longer is even better. I like to use a small enough container so I can place the container back into the habitat to keep it warm during the soak.

In a small, hospital tank there isn't much room for "furniture" but if you can place some fake plants around inside it helps to diffuse the strong light and gives the baby a more secure feeling.
 

Smiller515

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Buffalo, New York
Thank you both for your replies.the bulb is 14" away from his enclosure. Basking area is at 90 and he seems to be staying there. I have a heat pad back in so he can be under the light on or off of it and still has room on the other side with no heat pad away from light.

I unfortunately live in buffalo so it is too cold to get him natural sunlight right now. This is the set up I have right now.
 

Yvonne G

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That's a nice big space for a healthy youngster, however, it's way too big for a sick one. I really doubt that big enclosure is warm enough for a sick baby. Also, partially covering it is good, but fully covering it would be much better. Cut a hole in the lid and set the light right down on the hole, then place the lid on the tub to cover the whole thing. You need to give that little guy some hiding places so he doesn't feel so out in the open. Baby tortoises are prey and like to hide most of the time. It could be stressful for him to be always out in the open.

Get yourself a point and shoot, infra red thermometer and check out the temperature all over the whole floor.
 

Smiller515

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Feb 11, 2016
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Buffalo, New York
Thank you for your help Yvonne, I will get the point and shoot thermometer today. I had him in something half the size just earlier today before my post, but it was heating up way too much and reading 95 and he was doing a lot of pumping and putting his head in his shell. When I moved the lamp away a little he came back out. Now he seems more comfortable in the big one and he's only staying in the area near the heat. I will get some more plants to put in as well and see if that helps. The vet had him in this size as well, so I tried to replicate.

I will also change the cover. The ambient temperature in my house is upwards of 75 with heat. I appreciate your help and will try your advice it's just so confusing trying to get it all right.
 

Smiller515

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Great news! Do you have a temp gun? Or digital thermometer/hygrometer with probes to measure the actual temps at the substrate level?

I just purchased a temp gun, but I have always had two thermometer/hygrometers in the bottom of the enclosure, but not digital. He was active for about 20 minutes today eyes open and cruising around and ate 2 gulps carrot baby food, 6 bites of strawberry and 3 bites of lettuce for me. He self regulates between the heating pad and just under the light, and is drinking during soaks. I can tell he's still weak but I've seen seen so much just improvement just today. Eyes are open as he moves around. I have him on towels instead of substrate right now just because of the possible respiratory infection. I feel like he's gonna make it with him making such a good recovery but I don't know what to expect. It's been just over a week since he got really sick and be seems to be doing so much better. Am I on the right track or should I change anything else?
 
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