The dreaded mouth rot!

Fay444

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Hi all I’m new to this site and looking for some help and advice!!
So we have a tortoise well actually he’s my mums! and he’s approximately 50-60 years old! He’s hibernated every winter, however about 3 years ago when he woke he had mouth rot, which has sadly been a reaccuring problem since he’d never had these problems before!!
This year as the weather went cooler he started with it on the roof of his mouth! He was taken to the vets and was given antibiotics, he was bathed everyday in a salt solution as advised by the vet and bought inside! However the rot has cleaned from the roof of his mouth but has started at the sides :-( he won’t eat but is fairly active and worried that he’ll be losing weight. Once the rot has cleared from the sides of his mouth do we try and hibernate him?
If anyone has any advice that would be fantastic!! Don’t know why it keeps coming back? Vet said about worming him? And why in the last 3 years has this happened when he’s been fine and healthy for so many years!! Apologies for the long post!
TIA Fay x
 

JoesMum

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Hello and welcome from, Kent UK. We went 40 years before veterinary intervention with outr Greek and I can honestly say that it's luck of the draw whether things go wrong or not.

I am so sorry to hear of this. It isn't a condition I have experience with. Can I ask whereabouts you are located as we may be able to find you some local expertise
 

Fay444

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Hello and welcome from, Kent UK. We went 40 years before veterinary intervention with outr Greek and I can honestly say that it's luck of the draw whether things go wrong or not.

I am so sorry to hear of this. It isn't a condition I have experience with. Can I ask whereabouts you are located as we may be able to find you some local expertise

Hi I’m in the East Midlands x
 

Yvonne G

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I wouldn't allow him to brumate this year. You've got to get that condition completely cleared up. It's pretty hard to keep a tortoise awake that knows he should be brumating. But you really need to. When a tortoise is brumating, his body slows way down, but if there is any infection going on, the little creature causing the infection doesn't slow down and your tortoise's condition could end up much worse than it is. Here's what the Tortoise Trust recommends:

Stomatitis: If caught early, swab mouth twice daily with diluted Nolvasan or povidone-iodine (Betadine liquid). Severe infections need urgent veterinary treatment. Regular beak maintenance is important to prevent stomatitis. Some forms are caused by a herpes-group virus. Mixed colonies are much more at risk than small same-species groups maintained in isolation. Treatment is prolonged and often the prognosis is poor.

Here's what Dr. Margaret Wissman says about it:

The causes of infectious stomatitis are many, but the underlying common denominator is usually related to stress, which causes the immune system to function improperly. When this happens, the reptile becomes susceptible to many different disease-causing organisms. These organisms, most frequently bacteria but viruses or fungi in some cases, can begin reproducing unchecked, resulting in serious infection.

In some cases, tumors appear in the tissues surrounding the mouth. If a tumor ulcerates, it may look like infectious stomatitis. For this reason, it is always important for a veterinarian to biopsy the affected tissues in order to procure a diagnosis, especially in cases where ordinary treatment does not resolve the clinical signs.

Herp veterinarians first diagnose infectious stomatitis by taking a thorough history. They will want to know the temperature ranges in the animal’s habitat, the humidity levels, the herp’s actual diet and its behavior in the enclosure. Bacterial culture and sensitivity tests can help to identify what, if any, bacteria are involved. Fungal isolation can identify any fungi involved in the disease process. Gram’s stains of infected areas can show what types of organisms are involved. Cytology can uncover inflammatory cells present in the area. X-rays of the head and perhaps the entire body can also help a vet determine what structures and organ systems are involved, including bones. Blood tests including a complete blood count and plasma chemistry panel can help assess how well a herp is dealing with the problem, and how well its organs are functioning. Biopsy of the affected tissues is often recommended.

Treatment depends on which organisms are involved with the disease and the severity of the infection. Oral cleaning with specific medications may be necessary, but it is important to avoid additional tissue damage by overzealous cleaning of affected tissues. If systemic antibiotics or antifungal agents are needed, either injections or oral medications may be administered.

If the herp is not eating during this time, force-feedings may be required. Only herp vets should perform this activity, or it should be done under their direction. Support care should be provided as needed.

No matter what the treatment, owners must commit to making any necessary husbandry and nutrition changes, or their sick pets won’t respond and heal optimally. If damage is extensive, the tissue may be permanently deformed, which can predispose the herp to repeated events in the future.
 

Fay444

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Thank you for all the information!!
Next advise then is how to keep him over winter? He is currently in an indoor cage just at room temperature no additional heating? With the hope that once it’s cleared up he can go down late! However if u recommend him not hibernating how do you warm him enough so that he eats etc..... Tia Fay x
 

Yvonne G

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Depending upon his size, you'll need the appropriate size container so he can have room to walk around and exercise. Then you give him a shelter at one end, and a CHE or RHP* for night time heat with a UVB light for daytime light. I like to keep the RHP on all the time because I use the tube type fluorescent UVB light and they don't give off enough heat to keep the enclosure warm enough.

You may also need to figure out a way to cover the enclosure to keep the cooler household air out and the warm air in. With GOOD UVB and a bright light that is on for 14 hours a day, he won't think it's autumn/winter, or time to brumate.






*
Ceramic Heat Emitter
Radiant Heat Panel
 

Fay444

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Thank you very much for all the information! Are you able to post a picture of you set up!! Fred is quite large his she’ll is 12 and a half inches! X
 

JoesMum

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Thank you very much for all the information! Are you able to post a picture of you set up!! Fred is quite large his she’ll is 12 and a half inches! X

I just got off a plane from the USA. I am
posting so this thread is top of the pile for me to comment on - probably tomorrow. I had to keep Joe up one winter and can explain my setup
 

JoesMum

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Thank you very much for all the information! Are you able to post a picture of you set up!! Fred is quite large his she’ll is 12 and a half inches! X

I just got off a plane from the USA. I am
posting so this thread is top of the pile for me to comment on - probably tomorrow. I had to keep Joe up one winter and can explain my setup
 

JoesMum

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Hi Fay

My brain and body aren't exactly co-operating with each other right now, but I will try to type something that makes sense.

I agree with Yvonne that a sick tort, or one recovering from sickness shouldn't be allowed to hibernate.

Joe was 10.5 inches and the winter I wasn't allowed to hibernate him was difficult for both of us.

You need a large, very large, enclosure indoors with a basking lamp and it mustn't get too cold in there.

We turned over our dining room to Joe. I bought a large sheet of pond liner which I cut in two. One half was used to protect the dining room carpet.

We got hold of a very large bookcase - it was actually part of a shelving system measuring 2 x 2.1 metres - that we laid on its back on the floor and then lined with the other half of the pond liner.

If your tort requires hospital cleanliness then lining with newspaper is the way to go. Otherwise get coco coir bricks that you soften by moistening in water and use the coco coir as substrate.

You will need to provide shelter - I bought a Poundland washing up bowl and attacked it with a stanley knife to cut a doorway.

Your tortoise must be able to bask at 35-37C. This requires a basking lamp fixture that you can hang from a lampstand. Don't risk a clamp fixture; they are not secure and the falling lamp could start a fire. The basking lamp must be on 12-14 hours a day. I used a paving lab under the lampstand to stop it tipping over - Joe liked the hot paving slqb for sleeping on too. There's a picture of the lamp in this thread as I used it for Joe's earm up during the transition to/from hibernation.

Your tort will also require UVB. I bought a fluorescent tube type UVB bulb from one of the pet stores (my vet said 5% was plenty) and a fluorescent tube lamp holder to fit the bulb from B&Q (because it was cheaper). I mounted the light fitting on a plank of wood and propped it on crates stood either side of the bookcase.

I used timers with both lamps so I didn't have to switch them on and off every day. It meant I could go out or have a lie in without worrying.

Use a piece of flat rock, slate or even the back (wrong side) of an old floor tile as a plate. Use a terracotta plant saucer for water.

Maintaining an appropriate ambient temperature by day won't be a problem if your central heating is on all day. I put an electric radiator which had a thermostat in the room too and left that switched on 24/7. It only cut in when needed so wasn't as expenses to run as it sounds... as long as you keep the room door closed.

It is fair to say that Joe loathed being inside. Closing the curtains at night kept the light levels down and him quieter, but he could often be heard crashing round when I was trying to sleep :(

My in-laws are from the East Midlands - scattered between Milton Keynes and Northampton so I know my vet isn't on your doorstep. He is however a tort specialist and keeps them himself. You may be able to persuade yours to have a chat with him ... Mark Rowland at Trinity Vet Centre in Maidstone http://trinityvetcentre.com
 

Fay444

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Nov 11, 2018
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Location (City and/or State)
England
Wow thank you for taking the time to post me how you kept your tortoise indoors! I’ll pass this info onto my mum! X
I hope your feeling a little less tired after your trip! Thanks again x
 
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