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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11513
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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Greek Tortoise was diagnosed with an RI and given 7 Baytril

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Greek Tortoise was diagnosed with an RI and given 7 Baytril shots with the last shot being yesterday. No improvement, and as of today he is opening and closing his mouth and seems to be doing worse.

I apologize that no one has responded to your question sooner. Different experts come online at various times. I just came online and saw your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a biologist with a special interest in reptiles. I'm sorry to hear of Alfie's illness.

Unfortunately, once a tortoise has a respiratory infection, it can be very difficult to clear up. One of the most common medical complaints in tortoises of all types is referred to as "Runny Nose Syndrome (RNS)." It is a chronic RI or pneumonia. . After treatment, tends to recur and require more treatment. You can read more about RNS here:

It can take long-term antibiotic administration to get this under control. In addition, some strains of bacteria have developed resistance to Baytril, and a different antibiotic has to be used. Tortoises are sensitive to many medications, but there are others that can be sued safely. The best thing to do would be to take Alfie back to your vet to discuss the options.

To support Alfie at home, there are a few things you can do.Warmer temperatures can give the immune system a boost. The gradient in the enclosure should be 75*F to 85*F, with the basking area warmer yet, at 95*F. Night temperatures can go down to 70* to 75*F. If your UVB light bulb is more than 6 months old, it should be replaced. They are ineffective after 6 months, even though they may look fine. Proper temperatures and lighting are needed to keep the immune system functioning at its best.

If Alfie isn't eating well, he may also be a bit dehydrated. Buy some Pedialyte (yes, the kind for human infants). Prepare a shallow bath consisting of 1/2 water and 1/2 Pedialyte. Soak Alfie for about 20 to 30 minutes twice a day. Reptiles can absorb the electrolytes and fluids through their vents (where droppings pass out), so make the water deep enough to cover the vent. Be sure to supervise closely.

If you have more questions, let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope you'll be able to quickly get help and that Alfie will reach a full recovery.


My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service only after you have all the information you need. Thank you!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks Anna, I did finally get in contact with my vet. He is the only vet in my area for tortoises so I was a bit concerned of his diagnosis. He has another antibiotic waiting for me. I would appreciate if I can provide the name once I have it. I will pick up pedialyte also. At this time I have him in his tortoise crate outside, and the temp inside the crate is between 95 and 100 degrees. He seems to be resting well in the covered area. I have another tortoise that is older and larger. She seems to be pushing him around more than usual, and that is what concerned me the most.

You're welcome. Yes, please do send the name of the new antibiotic - I can check to make sure it's safe for tortoises.

Aggression is common in this species, especially between two males, but it does occur regardless of the sexes. It is generally recommended to keep the tortoises in individual enclosures unless you have a large outdoor home for them. Especially while Alfie is sick, I would keep him away from the bigger tortoise.

I'll keep an eye out for the name of the antibiotic.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Good Morning, Anna. The antibiotic I received is Clindamycinin? I am to give 0.03ml once a day for 7 days.

Thank you. Clindamycin is safe.However, I am concerned that this vet is not being aggressive enough with therapy. It isn't legal to give actual prescribing doses of medications online, but I can tell you that studies done on clindamycin use in sea turtles found oral administration to be ineffective and that chelonians (tortoises and turtles) require much higher doses than do mammals to get good results. You can see the summary of the study here, including the dosages used:

Here you can confirm that oral administration of antibiotics is not very effective against respiratory infections in chelonians (scroll down):

This site gives the usual dosages of medications:

I suggest getting a second opinion. These links will take you to directories of vets who treat tortoises. There may another one you don't know about.

Another option would be to print out the information form the herpmedsurg site (the first one) I gave you first. Take it in for your vet to read and get his/her take on it. He/she may have good reasons for the dose suggested, and if so, that can be explained. I just think for Alfie's sake, it would be best to dig a little deeper into the situation.


My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service only after you have all the information you need. Thank you!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

This is not an oral antibiotic. Both antibiotics were injected intramuscularly. I added another "in" instead of "inj." Thank you for the information. I will definitely look into it. I've already given Alfie two injections; one yesterday and one today. My other tortoise, Zelda, doesn't appear to be at all aggressive towards him today. Alfie, did eat today. It wasn't as much as usual, but he did eat zucchini, yellow squash, green beans, and radish greens. Just one each, but at least I was able to see him eat.

That's a good sign that Alfie wants to eat. The dose is what you may want to discuss further. Whether injected or oral, do take a look at the dosages here:

However, as I said above, your vet may have reasons. But it can't hurt to discuss it, especially if Alfie doesn't improve.

Maybe Zelda was in a bad mood yesterday. I hope the new antibiotic will help Alfie get better.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Good Morning, Anna, I have been giving Alfie his bath soaks of Pedialyte and water. This morning, after his shot, I soaked him and this time a long white slimy substance came out along with a bowel movement. His stool has been fine, and I know that they usually release protein through their urine, but since he hasn't been eating normal, I have not seen urine. Usually, during eating, both of them pee like crazy. Could he be ridding himself of mucous in this manner? He is eating, but not his usual, as he seems ravenous, but then doesn't finish his food.

Good morning,

The white urates that reptiles pass are a normal part of waste elimination. How runny they will be depends on the amount of fluids they consume. I suspect that Alfie was a bit dehydrated from not eating, but the soaks have rehydrated him. It is quite likely that what he passed was watery urates.

Mucous from the lungs can't end up in the digestive system. If it did, it would be digested and look like the rest fo the droppings.If what you saw was mucous, it would mean there is also infection in the digestive system. In that case, he could be getting rid of mucous that way.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Anna, I appreciate all your help in this manner. You have helped a great deal, and I thank you. I will be rating your service, although I feel like I still need your advice through this.

You're welcome. Even after you rate, you can still reply to this question, and I can respond to you, at no additional fee. Just keep the link to the question so you can find it again. Thank you.

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