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Swollen Baby Sulcata Tortoise

Breezyface

New Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2018
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Tucson
Hello, I am the mother of two beautiful baby Sulcata toirtoises, Marco and Polo. My boyfriend and I have had them for a year now and we quickly noticed that Polo was growing much bigger than Marco. We took them to the vet, concerned about the size difference, and we were shown that Marco has a small displacement of his lower jaw and also that his hind legs near his shell appeared swollen(like full of liquid). We did blood work and they took a stool sample and we were told everything appears normal from the tests. The vet told us the swelling was probably a result from not eating enough due to the jaw displacement. We have been feeding him finely cut kale mixed with Oxbow Critical Care and keeping a close eye on him and he has been doing very well and growing more. In the last few days we noticed that he looks more swollen, especially around his neck. All four of his legs near his shell are puffy as well. It appears as if he has a hard time swallowing because of it. In the last couple days he has not been as eager to eat and today he has not eaten anything and just runs away when we put him in front of food. We bought some wheat grass and tried feeding him some but he won’t even take a bite. We love him so much and are so scared to lose him. Please help!!!!

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Maro2Bear

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5 Year Member
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May 29, 2014
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8,276
Location (City and/or State)
Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
Greetings and Welcome to the Forum.

Are these two Sullys being kept together, or do you have separate enclosures? If kept together, I’m sure the dominant one is bullying the smaller one.

Are you soaking your torts daily in nice warm water for a good period of time?

Enclosure space(s) - heat, humidity, good substrate and lighting?

This Care Sheet should help you if you have not yet read - https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-raise-a-healthy-sulcata-or-leopard-version-2-0.79895/
 

Cheryl Hills

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Jan 1, 2016
Messages
2,327
Location (City and/or State)
Youngstown, Ohio
Ok, to start with. Please read the salcata baby care sheet in the salcata section. You have some changes to make. Just from looking at the pictures, I can tell your substrate is way to dry. Babies need a moist substrate and 80 to 100 percent humidity. Let’s start with pictures of your enclosure, what lights you use, and your temps. This could be a result of the baby being raised too dry.
 

Breezyface

New Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2018
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
Tucson
Both the tortoises love in the enclosure and one is thriving and the other is not. I have learned a lot on the last few days doing research and we will definitely be making some changes to diet but the larger Sulcata has never acted aggressively or bullied the smaller one. Took the little guy to the vet today and they said they suspect he has liver disease and some sort of infection. We have meds prescribed and the vet also gave him vitamin shots. Will keep you updated, thanks for the input.
 

Yvonne G

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Jan 23, 2008
Messages
83,102
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
You normally don't actually SEE the dominant tortoise bullying the submissive tortoise. They speak a silent language. It's done by body language, etc. The larger one follows the smaller one, he sleeps pushed up against the smaller one, he sits on the food. Trust us, we've been doing this a long time. Pairs don't get along and it's stressful on both of them to have to share a territory.

I'd be willing to bet that if you set the swollen baby up in his own enclosure he'll slowly start to improve.
 
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JoesMum

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Joined
Oct 26, 2011
Messages
20,146
Location (City and/or State)
Kent, South East England
If one appears sick they need separating to ensure the other stats healthy.

After that, don’t reintroduce them. Mental bullying is as described by Yvonne and Sulcatas are one of the worst species for it. They are very territorial and don’t want or need company.
 

TammyJ

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Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
2,819
Location (City and/or State)
Jamaica
Both the tortoises love in the enclosure and one is thriving and the other is not. I have learned a lot on the last few days doing research and we will definitely be making some changes to diet but the larger Sulcata has never acted aggressively or bullied the smaller one. Took the little guy to the vet today and they said they suspect he has liver disease and some sort of infection. We have meds prescribed and the vet also gave him vitamin shots. Will keep you updated, thanks for the input.
How is the little one doing? If the vet thought he had "some sort of infection" then you should have been told to immediately separate them and keep it that way. I am hoping whatever "meds" he got, and the vitamin injections (sometimes not a good idea!), may help, but I honestly am not optimistic considering how sick he looked. Please let us know!
 

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