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Harriet Has Stopped Eating And Is Losing Weight


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#1 Harriet

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 07:13 PM

Hi there,

 

Harriet has stopped eating for the past ten days and obviously is beginning to lose weigh which is rather worrying this year she has been table bound and bathed at least once and since she has stopped eating twice a day with no sign of her wanting to feed.

 

Any ideas on what can be going wrong at first I though she may be preparing for hibernation but it is rather early, the only other thing is we've been in France for the summer and my daughter has been looking after her with much of her normal schedule and I wondered if it was this change around that has upset her?

 

Anyway any thoughts I'm off to the vets with our dog tomorrow so will talk to them.

 

Some useful info she can out of the fridge this year on the 30.03.13 weighing 179grms she has then gone up to 258grms by the 28.08.13 and has now gone down to 243grms I wonder if she has gorged to much and is just stopping eating for a while.  Foods, she's a lover of dandelions and other plants and she has the odd correct lettuce leaf, so we haven't changed her diet.

 

Anyway any ideas would be helpful.

 

Many thanks, Tim.



#2 Freddy

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 08:44 PM

Hi Tim,
What are the temps like were you keep Harriet. Are you providing enough heat and light during the day. Tortoises also need to be able to dig down at night to thermoregulate. Temps usually drop from September onwards, especially at night and it can take a tortoise a while to get going the next day. All these things can affect appetite. If Harriet has begun to slow down in preparation for hibernation it could be difficult to reverse this trend and you may have to consider hibernating her early to stop her losing too much weight.
Kind Regards
Freddy

#3 Beermat89

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 08:55 AM

i find mine wind down for hibernation at diff times,1 of my females is starting to loose her appetite so i just let them wind down naturally so when they are ready i will put them in the fridge 1 by 1,if it means hibernating her early this year then aslong as you give her lots of heat when shes wakes as will be still cold out then there should be no probs

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 10:24 AM

It's very different with horsfields though Matt, they just don't respond like other species. Being geared to both hibernation and aestivation, they are the very devil to stop once they have started. it's easier to let them go down early and then get them going again under lamps later in winter, depending on how long they have been down ;) Keeping them warm in autumn just doesn't seem to work :(



#5 Beermat89

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 10:45 AM

Ohhh sorry i thats she was a hermanns,my mistake :/

#6 Harriet

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 12:30 PM

Hi there,

 

Well she is still refusing food even her favourite which is odd she came out of hibernation quite late this year which makes this type of behaviour a little odd and worrying, she can be under a 100 watt spot with high temps and her enclosed den is 18  plus degrees and the house is currently 20 degrees.  But she keeps heading for her den with a steady temp of 18 degrees.  Of course we've had a sudden temperature drop but this started way before this sudden temperature change.

 

Her weight is currently 239 grams and her length is 101 millimetres she came out of the fridge as I've said in late March at 179 grams so she has eaten well and no her shell is fine and she is now 5 years old not sure if she is the right weight for her size?  Yes I know I've used the Jackson guide which is not the right one but there are some comparison guides of other owners of Horsefield's on the web and she is probably overweight at the moment but she won't be by the time she goes in the fridge.

 

She has normally wound down and gone into the fridge in late November except her first hibernation which meant she went in at the middle of December.

 

So it looks like I should clear the food and start her off on a hibernation preparation, just seems so odd to be doing this so early.

 

Anyway time to get the fridge on.

 

Any other ideas would be helpful but it does seem she is deciding to hibernate early.

 

Many thanks everyone, Tim.



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Posted 07 September 2013 - 03:31 PM

There are no satisfactory charts for horsfields, as they vary so much from the wild ones, which is what they were based on originally. Tortoises that have been reared in captivity most of their lives, in no way resemble the original usually, unfortunately, so the charts are no use at all. Even though shell growth might have been improved over the years, the internal construction can be unhealthy, meaning a that a thickened shell can still be much lighter in weight to a thinner one, due to porosity and vice versa. Confusing yes, but it just shows how hard it is to know. Your best bet is to feel the tortoise and if it feels like a shell it is underweight, if it feels like a rock it's not.

This is the shape of a normal horsfield, which is very unlike most captive ones unfortunately :( 



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Posted 07 September 2013 - 03:37 PM

Hmmm, pics not loading properly again.

DSCN0759zoomah.jpg

 

DSCN1800.jpg

One of my youngsters



#9 Harriet

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 04:15 PM

Hi there,

 

That's our Harriet only slightly cleaner, I'll try and post a picture late.

 

I found this link which gave me a rough idea of where her weight could be, http://www.shelledwa...ead.php?t=37686

 

Anyway guess I'm on countdown to hibernation and she'll be up much earlier next year, I am so please I've kept constant records of her weight and hibernation times I'd have been lost without them, another great idea from the forum.

 

Again many thanks, Tim.



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Posted 07 September 2013 - 09:13 PM

Is that Harriett on your post pic?



#11 Harriet

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 10:15 AM

Hi there,

 

Yes that is her but that was taken two years ago will post a picture shortly.

 

 

Tim.



#12 Harriet

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 10:47 AM

Hi there,

 

Picture of Harriet.

 

Tim.

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 11:01 AM

Yes, if you look at the pic compared with the wild caught one I put on and the juvenile of mine, you can see the difference in growth. Harriett is much taller (for want of a better description) so the charts are going to be way out. Her growth has been very rapid in places and so the shell does not have uniform growth. Her nails also show that she has not been on correct substrate for her species, so you could do with changing a few things to help her nails to get in better shape. Does she have a permanent outdoor enclosure with heating? If so I would be keeping her there and upping the temps over the next month and if she still digs in then do an early hibernation after one month of not eating.



#14 Harriet

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 08:29 PM

Hi there,

 

 

No this year she has not been out in the front garden personal factors with us being in France all summer and my daughter not being able to supervise Harriet if she was outside we have cats in our neighbours and we have seen a rat, gone now so this year she has been in a large table 6' x 3' with topsoil as substrate as advised on here she has been bathed every day here front nails are normal and we've not gone for having here rear nails clipped as it was not advised by our reptile vet.  She does feed from a grit stone slab which might account for her front nails being normal.

 

She is not an outdoor tortoise yet were in the process of trying to figure out how to do this but even so we could not provide heating she would only be out during the summer but wherever she goes in the garden would have to be protected, so we're not sure about her going outside so she could be given the run of the house but at the moment she is two small and accidents could happen so she remains table bound for now.

 

Her shell does not have any deformities again the vet has verified this so I’m not sure what you are seeing.

 

Anyway still not eating so beginning to get her ready for hibernation and will be ready for her coming out either later this year or very early next year, although we are worried.

 

Look forward to any further information.

 

Tim.



#15 Freddy

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 08:47 PM

Hi Tim,
I would still keep temps up just in case her appetite returns. If there is no sign of her eating in the next couple of weeks I would continue on, gradually lowering temps until the end of wind-down. By doing it this way you have nothing to lose.
Best of luck.
Freddy

#16 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 09:25 PM

No reflection on you, I don't know how long you have had her, but she appears to have an abnormally long plastron, periods of erratic growth and something going on with the back nails. Nails like this are often found on tortoises with incorrect substrate, poor mobility - usually dietry related) or with metabolic problems. If the front nails are short and the back nails malformed, it's often because they spend a lot of time digging in corners, meaning that the muscles are being used more at the front of the animal than the back. If I were you I would change your vet to a reptile specialist. Horsfields don't do well in house environments at all, as they are essentially a burrowing species. If you keep her indoors, then you really need to offer her more room and with very deep substrate, so that she can be a horsfield.

Good luck ;)






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