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Not eating well ,sleeping all the time. Small arizona desert…

Customer Question
Not eating well ,sleeping...

Not eating well ,sleeping all the time

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'm sorry to hear that. What sort of animal are we talking about?

Small arizona desert tortoise.

Veterinarian's Assistant: OK. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Expert will know how to help the desert tortoise. What is the desert tortoise's name and age?

Tortie im not sure how old she is maybe 2-3 years old, fits in the palm of my hand.

Veterinarian's Assistant: What is the desert tortoise's name?

Tortie....

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about the desert tortoise?

Not sure , I found her in my garden , just before a heavy rain, she has nail polish on her shell, I think someone might have put her there.. I was wondering if maybe the uv light is not adequate. She basks for a short time then goes back to her hide and sleeps.

Submitted: 6 months ago.Category: Reptile
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Answered in 39 minutes by:
11/27/2017
Reptile Expert: Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist replied 6 months ago
Anna
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11,893
Experience: Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with over 20 years of experience keeping reptiles. I'm sorry to hear that Tortie is having some problems. Some additional information will help me determine the best steps for you to take.What is the brand of your UVB light? How old is the bulb?What temperatures do you maintain under the basking light and on the coolest part of her enclosure?What do you usually feed her?Have you noticed her yawning a lot? Any discharge from her nose or eyes?Thank you.
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Reptile Expert: Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist replied 6 months ago

It appears you went offline without seeing my requesto for more information. I don't want you to have to wait any longer, so I'm going to go ahead without knowing those things.

You may be right about the UVB light, and pet store staff are often poorly informed on the subject, so I'll give you some information that will help you decide if that is a problem. Full-spectrum, DayGlo, daylight, UV, and UVA are NOT the same thing. The light must specifically state UVB, and for a desert tortoise, you need an output of 10%. I'm putting a lot of emphasis on this because it's crucial to a reptile’s health. Without this light, Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) will develop because they won't be able to produce vitamin D. Vitamin supplements are not a good replacement for the proper lighting. MBD causes a very slow and painful death. UVB bulbs must be replaced every six months as they lose their effectiveness after that, even though they may still look fine. Light that comes through a window isn't sufficient because the glass filters out the UVB rays. If you need to get a new one, I recomemnd the Reptisun 10.0.

Since Tortie hasn't been eating, she is probably a bit dehydrated. I’ll sgive you a first aid measure.Buy some Pedialyte (yes, the kind for human infants). Prepare a shallow bath consisting of 1/2 water and 1/2 Pedialyte. Soak her for about 20 to 30 minutes twice a day. Reptiles can absorb the electrolytes and fluids through their skin and vents (where droppings pass out), so make the water deep enough to cover the vent. Be sure to supervise closely.

Being a bit too chilly can also cause such symptoms, so double check your temperatures. The area directly under the basking light should be at 90*F in the daytime. The coolest part of the habitat should be 70*F. That gives the tortoises a range of temperatures to choose from.

If you see repeated yawning or discharge (or bubbles) from the nose or mouth, Tortie may have a respiratory infection. That has to be treated by a vet. If you need one, here is a directory of reptile vets:

http://www.anapsid.org/vets/index.html#vetlist

If you have more concerns or questions, just let me know. I'm glad to help. I hope Tortie will be fine.

Anna

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