Tort doesn’t feel good

Melissacoop

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I came home today and my little guy was tucked in his hide not asking to come out. We have a schedule and every day mid day when we come home he comes outside for about 2-3 hours in his patio area for grazing and exercise. He’s very people oriented and comes to our feet and hangs out. We keep our underside patio tort friendly and he has his grazing area of grass, weeds, aloe and then we usually feed him hibiscus almost every day too. Today I had to retrieve him from his hide and when I put him down in the sun he just stayed tucked up.
upon investigation the only observations I have is he did not poop this morning in his enclosure. My husband said he fed him an entire paddle of cactus two days ago and then a half the next day. I’m thinking he has a stomach upset but I don’t even know if they have stomachs like other animals.
I have been soaking him now for about 20 minutes and will continue to do so for awhile longer. He’s not showing any signs of a respiratory infection unless it’s just brewing. He nibbled a little bit this morning but didn’t eat the food I left for him when we went to work. Any thoughts? How much cactus is too much?
He is 1 1/2 roughly and 1.5 pounds and 9x9.
Thoughts?
 

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Tom

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Sometimes they just do this. Warm soaking is always a good way to go.

I feed buckets full of opuntia pads to everything all summer long. Even tiny hatchlings, babies and juveniles. I don't think you can do too much.

I've been in FL a couple of times in the last few months, You've had some cool nights. Does this guy have night heat?

Also, its not good for them to be on concrete. When they are small, you can get away with it, but as the tortoise gains size and weight, the abrasive concrete will wear through his feet and he'll be walking on bloody stumps. Not kidding. I've seen it happen many times. A small part of the enclosure can have some concrete, but most of it should be dirt or grass.
 

Melissacoop

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Thank you Tom for your advice. He does have night heat. He’s in the house in his enclosure. CHE on thermostat set to 80. Current basking temp is 102.5 and his hide I pulled him out of is 95. I’ve been soaking for 45 minutes and no bowel movement thus far. He does have a grassy area on the patio too but I will limit the time on the concrete as you said. We’ve been planning to expand his area to be in the actual yard. When he was younger you advised me to bring him in as I was keeping him on the covered patio. Do you think he’s big enough to be under the covered patio in his enclosure now? I wouldn’t be able to have a closed chamber as it would get too hot. He’s about growing out of his indoor closed chamber so we can expand that one longer or move him outside. Even if he comes outside I’m not ready to put him in the yard. I would put his enclosure on the patio and take him out for roaming as I do now.
 

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Melissacoop

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@Tom
I’m really worried about my little guy. He is just not moving. Just laying around with his eyes closed. I can’t for the life of me think what could have caused this. Maybe a blockage?
 

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Krista S

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I’m sorry he’s not feeling well. I don’t have the experience to offer any advice, but wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you and hoping he’ll snap out of it quickly. Sending positive vibes your way.
 

Melissacoop

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I’m sorry he’s not feeling well. I don’t have the experience to offer any advice, but wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you and hoping he’ll snap out of it quickly. Sending positive vibes your way.
Thank you Krista. I’m so worried. If he’s not better in the morning I will be finding an emergency clinic. Hopefully he will still be alive. 🥲
 

Krista S

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Thank you Krista. I’m so worried. If he’s not better in the morning I will be finding an emergency clinic. Hopefully he will still be alive. 🥲
Please keep us posted. One thing I thought of is to make sure wherever he’s sitting in his enclosure, that he doesn’t over heat. If he’s not under a heat source it should be ok, but if he is sitting directly under the heat source keep a close eye on his temp. If he’s been directly under a heat source for awhile now, maybe another soak would be good. I know it’s not easy, but try to not stress too much yet.
 

Tom

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@Tom
I’m really worried about my little guy. He is just not moving. Just laying around with his eyes closed. I can’t for the life of me think what could have caused this. Maybe a blockage?
Is it possible he got into something poisonous?
 

Melissacoop

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Is it possible he got into something poisonous?
That did cross my mind. I’ve been wracking my brain. I did ask my husband if he sprayed anything on the patio or fertilized the cactus he ate a few days ago but we aren’t aware of anything. We are out there with him since we have a tv and living area out there so he’s not really unattended except if we go inside for a short time. He was normal yesterday. I did give him one of Will’s gel kit “muffins’ I made. Probably been in the refrigerator for three weeks or so but it’s not moldy or anything. I wouldn’t think they would go bad. I bought bok choy at the grocery store and gave him a piece of that two days ago and alittle yesterday. I don’t think I washed it tho 😞
I did notice it looked like he was gulping or doing some swallowing while he was soaking. But he only did it a few times. I also remember that two days when I was soaking him he let out some kind of squeal. I have no idea if it was a cough, sneeze or what. It was loud and made me jump as I was sitting right next to him but was looking at my phone so I didn’t see what he did.
 

Melissacoop

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Please keep us posted. One thing I thought of is to make sure wherever he’s sitting in his enclosure, that he doesn’t over heat. If he’s not under a heat source it should be ok, but if he is sitting directly under the heat source keep a close eye on his temp. If he’s been directly under a heat source for awhile now, maybe another soak would be good. I know it’s not easy, but try to not stress too much yet.
Thanks Krista. Too late on the stressing. I’ve been crying for past hour. 🥲
 

Tom

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That did cross my mind. I’ve been wracking my brain. I did ask my husband if he sprayed anything on the patio or fertilized the cactus he ate a few days ago but we aren’t aware of anything. We are out there with him since we have a tv and living area out there so he’s not really unattended except if we go inside for a short time. He was normal yesterday. I did give him one of Will’s gel kit “muffins’ I made. Probably been in the refrigerator for three weeks or so but it’s not moldy or anything. I wouldn’t think they would go bad. I bought bok choy at the grocery store and gave him a piece of that two days ago and alittle yesterday. I don’t think I washed it tho 😞
I did notice it looked like he was gulping or doing some swallowing while he was soaking. But he only did it a few times. I also remember that two days when I was soaking him he let out some kind of squeal. I have no idea if it was a cough, sneeze or what. It was loud and made me jump as I was sitting right next to him but was looking at my phone so I didn’t see what he did.
How is he today? Long warm soaks today. Get him warm and active. Sounds like a possible blockage from the noise he made. Activity and soaking will help that pass, if that is the case.
 

Melissacoop

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How is he today? Long warm soaks today. Get him warm and active. Sounds like a possible blockage from the noise he made. Activity and soaking will help that pass, if that is the case.
He passed a huge bowel movement in his soak this morning! He is peeking his head out a little bit and at least his eyes are open. I did sift through the stool and there wasn’t anything in there except my hair. He does tend to poop out my hair often which had me worried too.
I did make an appointment at the emergency vet today before I did the soak and poop. Do you think I should hold off?? It is a reptile vet but of course I’m skeptical. They wouldn’t be able to do bloodwork today but could give some fluids. Do you think that would be more harm than good?
 

Melissacoop

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@Melissacoop Hoping your little guy is showing signs of improvement this morning. Please update when you can.
I think he is. He had a huge bowel movement and is at least peeking his head out. Thank you. What a miserable night of not sleeping!!
Still not walking around though. I’m trying to decide if I should take to the vet today or just keep soaking.
 

Krista S

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I think he is. He had a huge bowel movement and is at least peeking his head out. Thank you. What a miserable night of not sleeping!!
Still not walking around though. I’m trying to decide if I should take to the vet today or just keep soaking.
Well let’s hope it was a stomach upset and that he’s turned the corner now. I would be a wreck too and wouldn’t have been able to sleep. I‘ll leave the vet thing up to the more experienced members. There’s pros and cons. I know travelling in a vehicle alone is very stressful for more torts and it would be a shame to agitate him more than necessary right now if it no longer feels like an emergency. Trust your gut though. If you have a good vet for your tortoise that you trust wholeheartedly can they maybe give an opinion over the phone to determine if the trip is worth it?
 

Lyn W

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If you are soaking him often I wouldn't think he'd need fluids and don't let the vet give him vitamin shots which can do more harm than good.

Is it possible he's got something stuck when eating?
Hair can be a real problem for them so try to keep him away from that.

Have you tried a Gerber baby food carrot soak?
 
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Lyn W

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Thank you Tom for your advice. He does have night heat. He’s in the house in his enclosure. CHE on thermostat set to 80. Current basking temp is 102.5 and his hide I pulled him out of is 95. I’ve been soaking for 45 minutes and no bowel movement thus far. He does have a grassy area on the patio too but I will limit the time on the concrete as you said. We’ve been planning to expand his area to be in the actual yard. When he was younger you advised me to bring him in as I was keeping him on the covered patio. Do you think he’s big enough to be under the covered patio in his enclosure now? I wouldn’t be able to have a closed chamber as it would get too hot. He’s about growing out of his indoor closed chamber so we can expand that one longer or move him outside. Even if he comes outside I’m not ready to put him in the yard. I would put his enclosure on the patio and take him out for roaming as I do now.
If you don't want to restrict his space, you could cover the concrete with some rubber matting - rolls of it or the interlocking smaller sections.
 
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