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Help - poorly tortoise


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#1 Guest_helencth_*

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 10:56 AM

I've just been to feed my tortoise and he is barely moving and eyes are shut. I get a reaction when I touch his feet or head but he still won't open his eyes. His eyes looks a little bit sticky and there may possibly be a bit of a noise occassionally with his breathing. This has happened overnight cos he was fine yesterday. Any ideas? what should I do?


love many, trust a few but always paddle your own canoe

#2 Guest_loopeylass_*

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 04:03 PM

Hi how long have you had your tort for? I am no expert but maybe try giving him a warm bath to see if that stimulates him, hopefully someone with more knowledge will be here soon. If bath does not help maybe a trip to a vet would put your mind at rest sorry i cant help more but i am sure someone will soon

i hope things work out ok

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#3 Guest_lepinsky_*

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 04:45 PM

Loopey's suggestion of a warm bath is a good one (warm water up to where top and bottom shell meet, for 15 or 20 minutes). Can you tell us how you are keeping your tort (type of enclosure, temperatures at hot and cool end, how old he is, diet, etc)? It all helps us to try and find out what is wrong. But I'd say that if your temperatures are right and he doesn't improve soon, do make an appointment with a good tort vet. Do you have one near you?

Nina

#4 Guest_helencth_*

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 04:50 PM

Loopey's suggestion of a warm bath is a good one (warm water up to where top and bottom shell meet, for 15 or 20 minutes). Can you tell us how you are keeping your tort (type of enclosure, temperatures at hot and cool end, how old he is, diet, etc)? It all helps us to try and find out what is wrong. But I'd say that if your temperatures are right and he doesn't improve soon, do make an appointment with a good tort vet. Do you have one near you?

Nina


He is kept in a viv (as talked into by pet shop) which I know is wrong I am in the process of sorting a table top out for him. Temperature set at 30 oc. He is three years old and I feed him on fresh fruit and veg - carrot, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, apple, cabbage, celery

love many, trust a few but always paddle your own canoe

#5 Guest_lepinsky_*

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 05:35 PM

[updated:LAST EDITED ON 13-01-07 AT 05:39 PM (GMT)]

He is kept in a viv (as talked into by pet shop) which I know is wrong I am in the process of sorting a table top out for him. Temperature set at 30 oc. He is three years old and I feed him on fresh fruit and veg - carrot, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, apple, cabbage, celery



Hi Helencth,

It sounds like you really love your little tortoise and are worried about him, and well done for trying to get the right information. I'm afraid that like many other people you have been sold the wrong equipment and been given very bad advice by a pet shop. You need to alter your torts environment and his diet as soon as possible. You need to get your tortoise out of that vivarium as soon as possible, and you can do something very quickly by turning the vivarium on its back (so the glass is on the top), and take the glass out and open any vents. There is a thread on this forum called Converting a Vivarium - have a look at it, as it might help you.

I'm now going to cut and paste some general advice from a posting I did on another thread. I hope it will help you (some of the things I say you might already know - so please forgive me for repeating it, but your little tort is not well and this is the quickest way to get some information to you. I also apologize for the length of this message.

Your tortoise will need a nice airy tortoise table (it doesn't have to be expensive - you can get an old set of bookshelves, turn it on its back, and take the shelves out). He will also need a good source of heat and ordinary light and a source of UVB light. This last is very important because it enables them to synthesize calcium. Some people use an ordinary household 60W or 100W spotlight for the light and heat and a UVB fluorescent tube for the UVB, and other people use a special combined heat and UVB light called a mercury vapour bulb. Tortoises need to thermoregulate (adjust their body temperature), so you need a temperature in a hot spot at one end of the enclosure of about 85 or 90 degrees, and a cooler end (where you can put a little hide for him to sleep) of about 70 degrees, and in your house he won't need any lights or heat at night. One of the reasons that vivariums are not good is because of their enclosed nature you cannot get a good temperature variation in there for them, and they really need this. Another disadvantage of the enclosed vivarium is that humidity can build up and cause mould to grow.

What substrate do you have him on? The best substrate to keep your tortoise on is either a 50/50 combination of topsoil (you can buy sterilized topsoil at garden centres) and playsand, or hemp (brand name aubiose) which is available from horsefeed suppliers.
Indoor enclosures can be very drying, and tortoises can easily get dehydrated, so he will need a shallow bowl of water in his enclosure, and you should also bathe him several times a week. Just take something like a washing up bowl, put some nice, warm water in it so that the water comes up to his chin (or where the top shell meets the bottom shell) and leave him to soak for 15 to 20 minutes. The added benefit of this is that most tortoises will wee and poo in their bath, so there is less to clean in their enclosure.

The reasons that pet shops sell vivariums, heat pads, and tortoise food pellets (amongst other things) is complete ignorance on the care needed for the animals they sell, and also that the sale of these items brings profit to the shop, and profit is what it's all about. If you were sold food pellets they are very bad - just bin them. They have a high protein content, and tortoises need a high fibre, low protein diet. The best diet for tortoises is a varied diet of weeds. Dandelions can still be found, and they are one of the best foods for tortoises. But no one food is enough on its own - he should have a varied diet. Tortoises also like plantain, sowthistle, clover, pansies, lavatera,and many other plants. You can find good plant lists and good instructions for keeping tortoises on these sites:
http://www.thetortoisehouse.com/
http://www.tlady.cla...Guide/index.htm
and the general care instructions on these sites are good too.
and also check out the care sheets at the top of the page on this site. Never give your tortoise ANY fruit (and tomato counts as a fruit), as their digestive systems aren't designed to take this. Carrots are OK once in a while. Iceburg lettuces have no nutrition at all, but romaine lettuce is OK. Cucumber also has no nutrition, but it's good once in a while in the summer to keep him hydrated. Cabbage - and other members of the cabbage family are not good for tortoises as they are high in oxalic acid which prevents the uptake of calcium, which they need for good bone development. In the winter it can be difficult to find weeds, and for a short-term method you can feed a salad mix called Florette Crispy that is sold in supermarkets. But you can also grow your own weeds by buying seeds especially formuated for tortoises from:
http://www.tlady.cla...t/herbiseed.htm

Tortoises also need a lot of calcium, so you should dust his food (if you wet it first the dust will stick better) with calcium carbonate, available as something called limestone flour, at every meal. And twice a week you should also add a pinch of a good vitamin supplement like Nutrobal (available from pet shops). You can also buy limestone flour and nutrobal (and hemp) from the online Shelled Warriors Shop at
http://shelledwarrio....com/index.html
An easy thing to do is to get a salt shaker and put seven parts of limestone flour and two or three parts of Nutrobal in it, mix it up, and then shake it on his food each day.

I am very sorry that this has been such a long post, but I think you need to make the changes to your little tort as soon as possible. We have had lots of people on this forum recently with problems the same as you - were incorrectly sold a vivarium and given the wrong instructions for feeding and care - and they have ended up with sick tortoises. If you make the changes I have recommended you have every chance of ensuring that your tortoise will recover and lead a happy life.

Just one more thing. If you got your tortoise from a petshop, then it is almost certain that he was wild caught, or bred in somewhere like Slovenia from eggs taken from the wild and then brought to this country under very stressful conditions, and there is a good chance he is carrying a heavy load of worms or other parasites. This is easily treated, but you will need to take a fresh sample of his poo to a vet and ask them to test it for worms.

Good luck with your little tortoise and let us know how you get on. There are lots of people here who will be more than ready to give you advice and support.

Nina

#6 Guest_helencth_*

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 06:07 PM

Thank you so much for your advice - will go and do what I can now! I wish I had found this forum before I bought him

:(

#7 Guest_lepinsky_*

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 07:01 PM

[updated:LAST EDITED ON 13-01-07 AT 07:13 PM (GMT)]

Thank you so much for your advice - will go and do what I can now! I wish I had found this forum before I bought him

:(


Well, we're here to support you, and you're not alone in buying a tortoise from a petshop and being given the wrong advice about nearly everything - there are lots in the same position as you (just look at some of the recent threads). Let us know how you get on, but in the meantime here's a notice that members of this forum might be interested in.

A new group has started up to try and improve the conditions for tortoises in the UK. Please try out this site. It's backed by the
TT, BCG, Hampshire Tortoise Society, Shelled Warriors
Tortoisefriends & Tortsmad. It is campaigning for a ban on the
capture and importation of tortoises into the UK for the pet trade
and to stop unscrupulous dealers and the trafficking of tortoises.
The group is initially compiling the most comprehensive list of
Genuine UK Tortoise Breeders in order to offer an alternative to
purchasing imported tortoises, many of which are of dubious origin.
Part of our website currently under construction (please look at it - it shows how many of our little petshop tortoises were brought into this country):-

http://www.tortoise-...ffic/index.html

Please join here:-

http://pets.groups.y...rotectionGroup/
Nina

#8 Guest_helencth_*

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 09:14 AM

Speedy died last night (or I assume he's dead, he's as stiff as a board with no reaction to being touched). Do you think I have any come back with the shop but advising me wrong seeing that I've only had him a month? I'm gutted:'(

#9 Guest_helencth_*

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 04:46 PM

Thank you for replying, I was beginning to think no one would!
I have only had him a month, he is three years old. I have bathed his eyes with warm water which seemed to help them open a little bit and did give him a bath which did bring him a little further out of his shell but still with eyes shut.


love many, trust a few but always paddle your own canoe

#10 Guest_annette_harris_*

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 05:07 PM

Hi

Hope your tort is a little better, its awful when you worry about them. Dont feed your tort tomato or fruit as their little digestive systems arent up to them. If you cant find many weeds this time of year, try a bag of florette lettuce leaves. You can buy it from a local supermarket. Watercress is also good (not salad cress tho) Carrot should only be fed very occasionally also.

Let us know how hes doing and what the vet says.

Annette :(

#11 Guest_nick owen_*

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 10:52 AM

Speedy died last night (or I assume he's dead, he's as stiff as a board with no reaction to being touched). Do you think I have any come back with the shop but advising me wrong seeing that I've only had him a month? I'm gutted:'(


VERY SORRY to hear about Speedy. I'm afraid you probably don't have any come back. From reading threads on hear, the second your out of the shop your on your own and I suspect there's next to no chance of getting money back etc. They'll just tell you they give the same 'expert' advice with all their tort sales and they have no complaints bla bla bla... Give it a go though if u want, u never know...

Sorry again to hear about Speedy. :(

Nick

#12 Guest_lepinsky_*

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 11:26 AM

I'm so sorry to hear about Speedy! You must be devastated. Nick might be right about the shop, but I think you should try. The thing to do is to wrap Speedy up and put him in the fridge today, and then tomorrow see if you can take him to a vet for an examination to see why he has died (do you have a good tortoise vet near you?). Tortoises take a long time to show any illness, and as you have only had him a month it is almost certain that he was ill before he came to you. If the petshop sold you an ill animal (which they almost certainly did) then they are resposible. You can tell the petshop that according to the Tortoise Trust (the most authoritative body in the UK) that the equipment they sold you (the vivarium) is unsuitable fort for tortoises (and I can give you a link to the Tortoise Trust website that explains why), and the diet they recommended (veg and fruit) is also wrong. You could also tell them that you will contact the relevant authorities with this information (RSPCA, local council authorities, etc.)

The main thing is do NOT take another tortoise from them as compensation, as it will almost certainly be ill as well. I know you must be feeling dreadful now, but if you do decide that you want another tortoise, we can almost certainly find you one from a reputable breeder. Not only will the tortoise be healthy, and not have suffered the stress of being imported under dreadful conditions from somewhere like Slovenia, but you will know who the parents were, and you will be given all the relevant information about care, etc. Plus it will be cheaper than a petshop.

Take care,
Nina


Nina

#13 Guest_helencth_*

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 03:49 PM

Thank you for being so understanding. I just wish I had researched it all more before buying - i was just so desperate for one:(

I will get another one but sort myself a tort table first and will probably buy one from the tortoise shop in Hull as seen on this site as Hull isn't too far away from me.

#14 Guest_arnhib_*

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 03:50 PM

I am sick to the stomach of hearing about these poor little torts that are being brought into the country and being sold by pet shops.
Most on this forum have found out to your cost either by heartbreak or excessive money for vets, is nothing short of criminal
But my first thoughts are for those poor little animals that suffer so much because of this trade, some are lucky enough to have owners that come to sites like this and find out how to help or take care of them properly, but imagine the little ones that are bought by people that haven't got a clue, and not on the internet, what happens to those little ones.
You will never stop the person walking into a pet shop seeing the tortoise on display and falling in love and then impulse buy.
It doesn't bear thinking about, there are plenty of good breeders in the UK that could supply the demand and also give the proper care and advice, we could well do without any being imported to suffer and probably die.
I ask you all to join this group so that it can be stopped as soon as possible.
http://pets.groups.y...nGroup/messages
One voice alone doesn't get heard but a lot together will sort this out, Our little shelled friends can't speak so speak for them
Arnie

#15 Guest_lepinsky_*

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 05:24 PM

Well said, Arnie. I know you speak for all of us - experienced keepers and new keepers alike. It is absolutely heartbreaking to read the stories on this forum and others about the suffering that these little imported tortoises -- and their owners -- have to endure.

The website for the new group is still under construction, but there is a set of photographs set to music up there which eloquently says it all(it might take a few minutes to load, but it's worth the wait).

http://www.tortoise-...ffic/index.html

When you see photos like this you wonder how any tortoises at all manage to survive their long trip to the UK.

Nina

#16 Guest_rockette_*

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 11:57 PM

I've just been reading through these messages. It's so sad. I am really sorry that you have lost your tortoise. Something MUST be done to stop these tortoises being brought into the country this way. Hope everyone takes the time to have a look at the websites that have been mentioned and maybe as a group we can do something about it!

Pam

#17 Guest_rockette_*

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 12:03 AM

PS. Really GREAT to have you back on the forum Arnie!

Pam

#18 Guest_annette_harris_*

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 04:00 PM

Hi

Poor speedy, how awful. Im so sorry for the loss of him. You must feel awful. The bloody pet shop needs shooting!!!! It makes me so mad that poor torts are being sold by people who have no care for them and just want to make money. My tort came with a weeks guarantee (sounds like a fridge or a cooker??!!) so if anything happened in them days i could get my money back but not sure what a pet shop would do.
Let us know what the vet says and the horrid pet shop.
Keep strong

Annette :)

#19 Guest_Libbys_*

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 04:06 PM

keep him well hydrated with plenty of baths he may have a cold to is there any discharge coming form his nose?
fill water up to under part of his shell and make sure it is luke warm dry him and place under his light?
he may even wash his eyes try it if not he has a cold check lighting and heating temp in set up if still persists take him to the vets




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