How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Joan Your Own Question
Joan, Veterinary Technician
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 18348
Experience:  35+ years experience as veterinary tech and 40+ years experience doing reptile rescues.
Type Your Reptile Question Here...
Joan is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

i have a ten lb desert tortoise that is not eating or moving

This answer was rated:

i have a ten lb desert tortoise that is not eating or moving but he will raise his head when i rub the top of his head. it is a lttle white around is nostrils eyes a little swollen and under his chin looks swollen.           I have some injectable penicillin that is horse strenght


My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am a Vet tech with speical interest in reptiles and reptile rescue.

I need to ask a few questions to be able to help Timmy.

Can you tell me if he is open mouth breathing, has a runny nose or eyes?

What type of diet is Timmy on?


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

Do you have a basking light?

Please do not give Pennicillin it is not recommended for tortoises.

State to locate a Tortoise Vet?


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

diet tomatoes mulberry leaves native grasses in texas mustergreens turnip greens green beans
uv light no basking light florescent light 40 watt he goes outside everday for a couple of hours in the summer spring and fall

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Other.
she is takeing to long


I am sorry to be so long. We had a horrible storm that knocked out the power and I could not get back on line.

I am concerned because the type of UVB light should be a Reptisun 10.0 /15 watt UVB florescent tube. This type of light is important for Desert tortoises and Desert Reptiles. It has the maximum output of UVB needed to maintain health. They also needs calcium supplement like a cuttle bone for calcium to work in conjunction with UVB light to prevent Metabolic Bone Disease. It also helps boost the immune system. The UVB bulb needs to be replaced every 6 months. The swelling of the eyes and the swelling of the Gullar(area around the throat) can be signs of a possible Vitamin A deficiency: or a Respiratory infection. When doing the soak I suggest using a 50/50 warm water and Pedialyte soak to help with electrolyte replacement and prevents dehydration. As far as treatment, the Tortoise should be seen hands on by a reptile Vet. You can read more about Desert Tortoises here: I would get a basking light over the tortoise and get the temps up in the mid to upper 80's.

The Penicillin is not something we normally give to tortoises. If you scroll down on this link to tortoises it gives the medications that are used on tortoises and how given: . It is important that your tortoise be seen to determine if the problem is a vitamin deficiency or actually a RI. This is a link for Herp Vets in Texas:


Tortoise specialist:


Certified Reptile Specialist:


Herp Vets in listed in Texas:

Please let me know if you have further questions and I will be happy to continue with you. Joan

Joan and other Reptile Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Brenda,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Timmy. How is everything going?