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Joan, Veterinary Technician
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 18541
Experience:  35+ years experience as veterinary tech and 40+ years experience doing reptile rescues.
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My russian tortoise has puffy eyes and a puffy sack on her

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My russian tortoise has puffy eyes and a puffy sack on her throat


Can you tell me about the set up?

Do you have a UVB light? How old, tube or coil and strength?


Any nasal discharge?

Any yawning?

Is he eating?



Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi: Yes her name is XXXXX XXXXX've had her about 6 years. She and Ivan (another tortoise) are in our florida room in a baby pool. We switched from walnut substrate to the bark substrate (recommended by our pet store) about a year ago.

We do have a UVB light, just changed it about 2 months ago. It is a Infrared Heat Lamp 50W. Also the room is very sunny and warm during the day.


No nasal discharge. No yawning I've noticed. She did eat some, but not as much as usual.


We give them red leaf, romaine, dadeline greens and tortise tidbits. NO supplements.




The bark is not a great substrate, The tortoise needs a substrate they can dig in. I suggest a mix of 60% top soil and 40% play sand that is about 6" deep.


The next issue you have is the tortoises do not have a UVB light. The Infra Red are dangerous and can cause thermal burns. The tortoises need a UVB light like a reptisun 10.0 that puts out artificial sunlight or a Powersun Mercury Vapor Bulb. These two lights work in conjunction with a calcium supplement (I suggest cuttle bones be scattered throughout the enclosure) to prevent Metabolic Bone diease: The Infra red only suppies heat. The UVB should be run 12-14 hours a day.


I suspect that Tudor may be suffering from a Vitamin Deficiency due to diet and improper lighting. This would have to be confirmed by a Herp Vet. I would be happy to try and find one with your location.


The diet should be high fiber for the tortoises which should include dandelioins, escarole, and other curly endives as well as hays and grasses. Oxbow makes a great mix called salad style that can be used in conjunction with the fresh veggies:


I am going to give you two care sheets that go over the care for these tortoises. They will help you straighten out some of the husbandry issues that you are having: or this one:


I do suggest that Tudor be seen to check her out as we see the eye swelling with Hypoviatmintosis A. Joan

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