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Joan, Veterinary Technician
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 18369
Experience:  35+ years experience as veterinary tech and 40+ years experience doing reptile rescues.
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We inherited an approximately 4 year old African Spurred Desert

Customer Question

We inherited an approximately 4 year old African Spurred Desert Tortoise. She seemed to be doing well. We have had her a little over two weeks now and she has only pooped once and isnt as active and her appetite has decreased. She seems to be breathing with movements through legs and neck. Im getting a little worried. Please help. We havent had her that long but we are already very attached.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.
Hello,My name is ***** ***** I have been a Vet tech for 30+ years with special interest in Reptiles and Reptile rescue. I would love to assist.Please tell me about the set up where the tortoise is kept.Diet?Supplements?Substrate?Have you given any soaks?State to locate a Herp Vet?Joan
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi she in an outside tortoise. She lived outside in her previous home as well and they didn't give her anything to eat other than her natural habitat and rarely a strawberry or two. She came to us and was doing great, eating the grass and some leaves and burrowed a spot behind a bush for her home. She has only pooped once in the last two weeks and her appetite is going down and she isn't out and about as much. We don't give her anything either except a couple strawberries to see if she would come out and walk around and she did. She also seems to be breathing differently now with her neck and legs moving with her breaths. Is there anything we can give her to help her poop or figure out what's wrong and suddenly changed?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We haven't soaked her in a baby pool but have hosed her down and she enjoyed that the first time and let out a lot of urates but no poop and last night she didn't like it at all. We do not have a vet and are in Phoenix AZ
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She's just in her burrow now and has been this afternoon, head and front legs out but eyes open.
Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.
She needs all the grass hays and weeds all she can eat. She also needs a Daily soak. If Dehydrated it can cause a problem passing stool. It is possible she has eaten something that is causing a blockage, this is not uncommon with the large tortoises, to pick up rocks and eat them. They do need calcium in the Diet, so we suggest cuttle bones for calcium. You can try giving some Canned Pumpkin not Pie Filling. Give her a couple of tablespoons full. This is a natural high fiber food that may help her pass stool. with the breathing she needs to be checked out by a Herp Vet, It could be a result of the Temps being too warm for her and she is releasing warmth. I will give you a List of Herp vets who can check her out: When it comes to the big tortoises, it is best to have an Exam at least once a year.Joan
Expert:  Joan replied 1 year ago.

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