I apologize in advance I'm not sure how much information to give. So please forgive me if I give to much. I have 2yr Old Sulcata tortoise Wilbur that I love VERY MUCH!!! I bought him he was just a few months old. When I bought him he had damage to his right eye. At first the eye bulged out guite a bit but as aged it has gotten better. The eye has no pupil only, a little white spot. When I took him to his first vet apt she shinned a light in it and he did respond, so the Vet said it appeared that he did see some. I asked if she thought if the damage eye could indicate other medical issues but she did not thinks so. But now he is having problems seeing out of his left eye. To give some medical back ground , he had extremely low calcuim levels at 1 yr of age due eating some clover that had been chemically treated with pesticides. I was unaware of that it was being treated chemically. The rental company I was renting from told me they didn't use believe on using chemicals on their yards but that wasn't the case. I picked up Wilbur like normal one day and notice that his shell was softening. The low calcium put allot of strain on his poor body and I felt so guilty!!. He was on 0.05 Calcium Glubionate daily for 3 months. During his healing time he did chip the lowerfrontal part of his mouth causing his jaw alignment to be off. So I had to be put him on pain meds for 2 wks and give him only soft foods. Unfortunately his Vet was not able to correct the alignment so it remains the same today. Whether this has impacted his sight I do not know. But it was a devastating time for myself and poor little Wilbur. The reason for my concern is that recently there has been changes in his sight. When I feed him I have to put his food directly in front of him and then tell him it's time to eat. Sometimes he will look at his food with he left and arches he head to the far right, then looks at it out of the corner of his. Shadows and certain light more movements will seem to startle him. He does use he right eye to see but in order to see his food it has to be right in front of him. He does respond to bright color but not to shining objects. Whites, greens and purples are the colors he responds the most to. Also I don't know if it means anything but he gets the hiccups when he scard or upset. If you need any pictures I'd be happy to send them to you. His diet by the way is fresh organic clover (I learned my lesson the HARD way!) , fresh organic dandelions, Zoo Med Grassland Tortoise Food and as treat once in a while he gets fresh organic romaine lettuce. His house is between 80-85 degrees, his bedding is timothy hay and I bathe him every 2 days which he loves. Also he is only 6" and weighes 16oz and his back is not completely smooth this is also worrisome them middle seems higher then the rest of his back. His Vet says his size is because he was so sick there for a while and will be small and she has no concern about his shell. But from the research I've done he should be much bigger and his shell should be completely smooth! Please help my poor baby Wilbur he's had such a rough beginning!!!! I want to do right by him, by giving him a long healthy and happy life!!Sincerely,Shana H.
Are you feeding any timothy hay or orchard grasses? Any weeds other than what you mentioned?
Do you any other calcium supplements?
Is the Vet you are seeing a Herp Vet or a Herp Vet who specializes in tortoises?
Have you considered seeing a Veterinary Opthalmologist?
The Tortoise food I give him is Timothy Hay, Oat and Alfalfa that you mix in water. Since his the injury to his jaw he wont eat the dry hay. As far as weeds no. Those are the only ones I knew where safe for him. And he does get a powdered Calcium Carbonate on his food.
His Vet does not specialize in tortoises, so she gets most of her information from the internet or other Veterinarians. I live in the small town of Medford Oregon so there are no Vets any were close that specialize in tortoises and there are no Opthalmologists.
As for as making sure he getting proper humidity during the winter and he is indoors what do you recommend?
The shell issues you are facing is called Pyramiding and that comes from the calcium deficiency, improper diet as well as other issues discussed in the link I am supplying. This goes over Pyramiding of the shell and the reasons we see it: http://www.azeah.com/Care-Sheets.asp?id=201
This is a link for Herp Vets in OR: http://www.anapsid.org/vets/oregon.html
This is a list of Tortoise vets in OR:
CLINIC'S NAME: Oak Hills Veterinary Clinic
VET'S NAME: XXXXX XXXXXmer, DVM
ADDRESS:XXXXX NW, Salem
PHONE NUMBER:(NNN) NNN-NNNN/p>
CLINIC'S NAME: Raleigh Hills Veterinary Clinic
VET'S NAME: Dr. Sierbinski, DVM
ADDRESS: 4905 SW 77th Ave., Portland
My Concern is the diet if not changed and some help from a Vet familiar with tortoises the medical issues will continue to get worse. If you can get Wilbur into one of these Vets they can put a feeding tube in Wilber to try and get him back on a proper diet.
A Herp Vet may be able to repair the jaw and beak to help Wilbur. For now I would put Wilbur on Critcal Care for Herbivores: http://www.oxbowanimalhealth.com/vets/products/critical_care
The Critical Care is a full recovery diet and should help balance out some of the dietary issues.
This is a Care sheet that goes over lighting, humidity, diet, supplements, etc: http://www.sulcata-station.org/pdf/sscaresheetrev.pdf
I feel if Wilbur can see a Herp Vet, we have a better chance that will give him a better chance at healing. I know there is no Herp Vets in your area, but if you can make the trip to the closest one on one of the lists I have given you, they will be able to help Wilbur. As far as the eyes, he may never regain the sight, but if he can see shadows that should help. His other senses, will become more acute and will help him.
Please feel free to follow up with me if you have other questions. Joan
I'm a little confused. I'm feeding him exactly what the web site you sent me says to feed him. I give him Clover, dandelion and Zoo Med Grassland Tortoise food with his Calcium. I do have some of the Calcium Glubionate that has not expired if you think I should restart him on this again. But if I following what I should be feeding him it makes me wondering if there is another cause? Could lack of humidity cause this. Or improper lighting. I do have two UV lights on him and heat lamps.. He has his own room in the winter where he is free to play. And know that the pyramiding has started will it eventually level out? Thanks.
As I said it is a possibility that that this has happened because of the calcium, it could be an issue metabolizing the Vitamins and caclium in the body. Without some bloodwork and a check up it is impossible to find the underlying cause, that is why I would love to see him see a Herp Vet who can get to the bottom of the problem. He is very small for his age and if we cannot find the cause of the pyramiding, it may not level out.
I would make sure the the UVB lights are no more than 6 months old because they loose potency. I would also have a shallow dish where Wilbur can soak as needed for his hydration. I would start the calcium Glubionate up because he does need it. We usually keep cuttle bones in the enclosure for a calcium supplement. Joan
Ok, That make since!! Yes he has never had any blood work done. Even when he was sick, they were not able to blood because they could not find a good vein. Eugenes not to far so I'll google one of those Vets to see who is most recommended. I've seen so many horrible pictures of Sulcata tortoises that people have neglected and it breaks my heart! I just want to do best by him. My vet said he was doing just fine. I'm glad I went with my gut instinct that something was wrong. Thank you so much for your help. He means the world to me. All I've wanted to do is protect him from harm and it makes me sick to think that I could be doing something wrong and that it is hurting him. Wilbur thanks you too! I hope you have a good week.
Here's a pic of my poor little Wilbur. Thanks again!!
Not a just picture of him. Had problems getting the picture to fit. But it will work.
By the way he is smart. He knows his name, the word breakfast, no, and recognizes my voice plus he loves music. When I come home for work and he wont play I just put on music and sing(though I have a horrible voice) and that all ways does the trick : ). Had to share to. I love that about him!!
Wilbur looks like a little doll and is lucky to have you! They are smart and wrap our hearts around their shells. I am hoping with the Herp Vet looking him over they can help not only any dietary issues, but may be able to help the jaw issue where he can enjoy doing what tortoises do, grazing and basking.
Please update me after he is seen. I am hoping that the Herp Vet can give you some peace of mind and Wilbur a new lease on life.
You will be surprised as to how many Reptiles I see that have been abused before they get to good homes like you. Please update me after the Vet. Joan
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I have been doing Reptile Rescues for 15+ Years
I really appreciate your help today. I'm hoping next month I can get him in. I've been really sick myself this month and been not able to work for 2 wks. Poor Wilbur is not going to like this trip though! He hates the doctors! Everytime we walk into the Vets office he tucks himself inside and refuses to come out. Poor little guy, he not like a child who you can really comfort. I'll keep you updated with his doctor appt and what his blood work showed. Thanks again for all your help!!!
Wilbur and Shana
Tell Wilbur that the Dr I am sending him to is going to help him feel better and give him a raspberry for me. All my Reptiles love them and look like they are wearing lipstick after they eat them. I am hoping they can even help with the Jaw issues. take care of your self. Looking forward to the update when he sees the specialist. Joan
Thanks you Joan you too!
So Wilbur had blood work and we found out whats wrong. I have been to careful with watching his protein. It turns out that his protein is to low along with his phosphorus. His calcuim was actually a little to high. So I'm we are changing his diet. I order some different grasses for along with some weeds like Henbit, Hollyhock, Globe Mallow and then going to buy a hibiscus plant to feed him the leaves. Once I have those growing we will be stopping his Zoo Med food. Then instead of giving him Romane lettuce or Spinach once a month he will get it as a treat weekly. He is going to need further blood work to make sure his protein and phosphorus levels are were they need to be. Just want to let you know how he is doing. Also he has grown another quater of an inch since I talk to you last. Thanks again for all your help. Have a good week!
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Shana & Wilbur