Sick Sulcata

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BentleyScott

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4107074402_d96f601068_o.jpg Hello! I am brand new to this forum and am in need of some advice regarding my sick sulcata, Bentley Scott. Bentley is being treated by a experienced herp vet for what we believe is an URI. His runny nose and congestion started in late September. We took him to the vet right away and he was prescribed baytril, orally. His symptoms cleared up, but then returned a few weeks later. He is now getting a fortaz injection every three days and he's not getting sicker, but his congestion and runny nose have not improved much and he is still sneezing and clearing his throat. He is still EXTREMELY active and eating like a horse (no changes in his eating or activity level), but I'm still concerned because he's definitely not well. We are scheduled to see another specialist (a more experienced herp vet) next week. Any advice about his health or care would be very appreciated. Below is some info that may be helpful...

We got Bentley three years ago from a pet store. We took him to the vet and he was treated for pinworms, but was in good health otherwise, except for minimal pyrmading. We were told he was 5 years old when we got him and if that was true, he would be 8 now. He weighs 21 pounds and is an only pet (except for an african bullfrog that lives in an aquarium).

We live in Maryland and Bentley lives inside with us. When we are at work, he is in a 6 foot round stock tank with timothy hay as a substrate, water, and his 100 watt powersun lamp (and recently added zoomed basking bulb). When we are home, he has free roam of our turtle-proofed house, but he's usually in the same room we are in. We keep our house at 75 degrees and Bentley's tub has a basking area of 98 degrees (increased yesterday from a basking area of 82 degrees). I'm worried I'm going to overheat him, even though he has the ability to move away from the heat.

Bentley loves and eats a lot of timothy hay and orchard grass and has access to it when he is inside and outside of his tub. He also eats watercress, dandelion, kale, redleaf lettuce, peppers, cactus (when Wegmans stocks it), and VERY small amounts of fruit as a treat. He gets a cuttlefish bone every other week and eats the entire bone in one day. He gets rep-cal with vit d and herptivite sprinkled on his food 2-3 times a week. He drinks water every morning when I put him in his tub. We soak him once or twice a week (more now because he's on antiobiotics).

At night, Bentley sleeps beside our bed, in a cat bed with a heating pad. He sleeps the entire night in his bed and wakes up in the morning when he has to go to the bathroom (he's very regular). The temperature in the house is also 75 degrees at night.

Please let me know what other info would be helpful. Thank you for your time and help!

Becky
 
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CtTortoiseMom

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Hi & welcome! Nothing really jumps out at me except the Timothy hay as a substrate. I dont think it is the best option because it molds easy an can be a fire hazard. A lot of people on here like coco coir or cypress mulch and there are other's too I just cannot recall them. Also, what heat source does the tort have when the basking bulb's are off? I think 75 is too low of a temp for a sick tort. My enclosures are around 85 all of the time. I am so sorry you are going though this and hope Bentley has a speedy recovery!
 

Yvonne G

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Welcome to the Forum, Becky!!

Yes, what jumps out at me is the temperature...well, that and the fact that this tortoise needs to be in his own habitat plus outside during good weather; but that's something to address in another thread.

A sick tortoise needs to be kept warmer than normal. Bentley should be kept inside his stock tank with the whole floor of the tank at around 85F degrees. You may have to cover part of it to keep the cooler house air out. So, directly under the lights would be around 100F degrees, with the rest of the tank about 80-85F degrees.

I know what I'm about to say kind of goes against the popular feeling on sick tortoises, but I usually leave them alone if they are eating and otherwise acting normal. Other than raising the temperature, I don't do anything else. The only time I go for the antibiotics is if the runny nose changes to thick mucous and the appetite diminishes.

Good luck with getting Bentley well, and please think about setting him up outside where he can get real sunshine.
 

BentleyScott

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Thank you all for the feedback and advice! Is coco coir like ZooMed's Eco Earth (coconut husk fiber)? I will work on replacing his hay and increasing the heat in his stock tank immediately. Any advice on additional foods to add to his regular diet? I give him canned pumpkin every other month. How often should I give him cuttlefish bones? He spends a lot of time outside in the summer months, but he's stuck inside with us all winter because it's too snowy and cold here. Thank you again!
 

Thalatte

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Leave a cuttle bone in his set up at all times and he will eat it when he needs it.
Eco earth is coco coir just different brand name.
 

Tony the tank

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I agree with emysemys..as long as he's eating Raise the temp and leave him alone.... It may take a while but he will fight it off..
 

Laura

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what are you going to do in a few years when he is bigger?
I agree he needs to be kept warmer to kick this 'cold', and its great that he eats the hay,, but dont use it as the substrate.. moldy.. and that can cause respiritory issues too.
and you MUST post pictures.. :) expecially of him sleeping in a dog bed next to yours!
 

theelectraco

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Could the variation in temps from your home and his enclosure be one of the problems? Going back and fourth from his enclosure to your home and his temps going up and down doesnt sound good to me. Also you mentioned the home temp being 75, is that on the actual floor or just the ambient room temp?


Could the variation in temps from your home and his enclosure be one of the problems? Going back and fourth from his enclosure to your home and his temps going up and down doesnt sound good to me. Also you mentioned the home temp being 75, is that on the actual floor or just the ambient room temp?
 

sibi

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There is just one other thing you can try. Put him in the bathroom with you when you take a shower. The vapors (steam) from the hot water should fill the bathroom. Let Bentley breath in the vapors. This may help to clear his nose and lungs. But you need to make sure he doesn't go out of the bathroom in the colder house. Put him in this enclosure with higher temps.
 

cecelaboosh

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BentleyScott said:
Hello! I am brand new to this forum and am in need of some advice regarding my sick sulcata, Bentley Scott. Bentley is being treated by a experienced herp vet for what we believe is an URI. His runny nose and congestion started in late September. We took him to the vet right away and he was prescribed baytril, orally. His symptoms cleared up, but then returned a few weeks later. He is now getting a fortaz injection every three days and he's not getting sicker, but his congestion and runny nose have not improved much and he is still sneezing and clearing his throat. He is still EXTREMELY active and eating like a horse (no changes in his eating or activity level), but I'm still concerned because he's definitely not well. We are scheduled to see another specialist (a more experienced herp vet) next week. Any advice about his health or care would be very appreciated. Below is some info that may be helpful...

We got Bentley three years ago from a pet store. We took him to the vet and he was treated for pinworms, but was in good health otherwise, except for minimal pyrmading. We were told he was 5 years old when we got him and if that was true, he would be 8 now. He weighs 21 pounds and is an only pet (except for an african bullfrog that lives in an aquarium).

We live in Maryland and Bentley lives inside with us. When we are at work, he is in a 6 foot round stock tank with timothy hay as a substrate, water, and his 100 watt powersun lamp (and recently added zoomed basking bulb). When we are home, he has free roam of our turtle-proofed house, but he's usually in the same room we are in. We keep our house at 75 degrees and Bentley's tub has a basking area of 98 degrees (increased yesterday from a basking area of 82 degrees). I'm worried I'm going to overheat him, even though he has the ability to move away from the heat.

Bentley loves and eats a lot of timothy hay and orchard grass and has access to it when he is inside and outside of his tub. He also eats watercress, dandelion, kale, redleaf lettuce, peppers, cactus (when Wegmans stocks it), and VERY small amounts of fruit as a treat. He gets a cuttlefish bone every other week and eats the entire bone in one day. He gets rep-cal with vit d and herptivite sprinkled on his food 2-3 times a week. He drinks water every morning when I put him in his tub. We soak him once or twice a week (more now because he's on antiobiotics).

At night, Bentley sleeps beside our bed, in a cat bed with a heating pad. He sleeps the entire night in his bed and wakes up in the morning when he has to go to the bathroom (he's very regular). The temperature in the house is also 75 degrees at night.

Please let me know what other info would be helpful. Thank you for your time and help!

Becky

How much baytril did your vet prescribe
 

BentleyScott

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Wanted to share an update on Bentley...on Monday we went to an exotic vet who has experience with turtles and tortoises. Three hours and $600 later, Bentley had a very thorough exam, I got several good recommendations for diet, vitamins, ways to increase temperatures, etc, Bentley had blood drawn and had throat swabs taken. The bloodwork came back normal, but he tested positive for mycoplasma. We're now trying to figure out what meds to treat him with because baytril (orally) for 4 weeks and fortaz (injections) for 2 weeks were unsuccessful. He is still eating very well and is active. His nose has stopped running, but he is still congested. The doctor recommended that we switch his vitamin from Herptivite to Reptivite because Reptivite has vitamin A. We will continue to use the Repcal for calcium and he eats a cuttlefish bone once a week. We have successfully increased the temperature in his tub and I will now take him in the bathroom with me when I shower so he can benefit from the warm/moist air (thanks for this recommendation). I have switched his hay substrate to ecoearth, which I hate. I changed his hay daily and it was easy to tell when it was soiled, but his poop hides in the ecoearth and he seems to be eating it when he eats his hay. I'm now trying to figure out how to post pictures of Bentley because he is the most beautiful tortoise you have ever seen! Any tips for uploading pictures would be appreciated too. Thank you all for everything!
 
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