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She's a horsefield tortoise. Her eyes are always shut and…

Hi. She's a...

Hi. She's a horsefield tortoise. Her eyes are always shut and appear quite puffy. She wiĺl move if picked up but seems to eat little. She is bathed 2 or 3 times weekly.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. What is the horse's name?

Tortuga

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Tortuga?

We have had her for about 1 year. The place we got her from was dubious but she seemed ok until the last month.

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Answered in 28 minutes by:
3/24/2018
Anna
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11,925
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 reviewing your question now and will be right back.
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I'm sorry to hear that Tortuga is having this problem. Some additional information will help me determine the best steps for you to take.Is there any discharge from her eyes?Have you seen any bubbles coming from her nose or mouth? Any frequent yawning?What temperatures do you maintain under the basking light and on the cool side of the enclosure?What types of lighting and heating equipment do you have?How is Tortuga housed- tank, tortoise table, outdoors, etc.?Thank you.
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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Hi sorry for the late response.She has no discharge, bubbles or yawning. She is in a tortoise table with tortoise specific bedding suitable for digging. She has a heat pad in her sleep area and a combined UVB heat lamp. Under the lamp it is around 25-28°c and in the cool area between 20-22°c during the day and 18-20°c at night.
Thank you for getting back to me. I see that you are in the UK. I am in the central USA, so we are dealing with a significant time zone difference. That accounts for the delays we're having. I'm working on some information for you now, and will post it as soon as I have it typed up. I appreciate your patience.
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Thank you for waiting.

Because your tortoise has not been eating, she may be somewhat dehydrated, so we'll start with a first aid measure for that. Buy an electrolyte solution. In the UK, it would be a product called Lectaid, which is sold in pet stores. Prepare a shallow bath consisting of 1/2 water and 1/2 Lectaid. Soak your tortoise 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.

Your temperatures are a bit chilly, especially in the basking spot. The gradient in the enclosure should be 21*C to 29*C, with the basking area warmer yet, at 35*C. Night temperatures can go down to 21*C to 23*C. Tortoises need their heat to come from above. The heat pads are mainly made for nocturnal lizards, such as geckos. It would be better to add a second light.

There are a number of potential causes for the eye symptoms you are seeing, but the most common one is eye infection. Others include too much or too little vitamin A, early stage of a respiratory infection, irritation from the UVB light, or conversely insufficient UVB light. If you'll give me the brand name of your UVB light, I can help more with that.

Since an eye infection is most likely, it would be best to see a reptile vet. In the States, we can buy an eye antibiotic without a prescription, but that isn't legal in the UK. The only way to get the medication is with a vet's prescription. This link will take you to a directory of reptile vets:

http://www.britishcheloniagroup.org.uk/vetscorner/vetlist

The soaks and warmer temperatures can give the immune system a boost, but if there's no improvement in her eyes and appetite in the next day or so, I would see a vet.

Please let me know the brand name of the combined light because proper UVB is important. If you have other concerns, just let me know. I'm glad to help. I hope your tortoise will reacha full recovery.

Anna

My goal is to provide you with excellent 5 star 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 after you have all the information you need. I will greatly appreciate a positive rating as that is the only way I am compensated. Thank you!

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Hi. The bulb we currently have is this one
https://www.reptiles.swelluk.com/swell-super-sun-mercury-vapour-lamps/
The 125w version. I am going to put an extra heat lamp on too...this one
www.reptiles.swelluk.com/lucky-reptile-dark-spot-ceramic-heat-emitters/
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Hi AnnaIve checked the temps again today and it is reading 21.7*c and 35*c so it doesn't appear to be stable.I have added a photo of tortuga but I am afraid it isn't very good as I have broken the camera on my phone so the focus doesn't work properly!I am considering changing the set-up slightly and using more of a canopy style light fixture such as the exo-terra compact top 60cm terrarium canopy to give more stability to the environment. With this I was looking at two exo-terra reptile UVB200 25w UVB bulbs and an exo-terra daytime heat lamp either 25w or 40w. What are your thoughts? Obviously we are looking at the dehydration/infection aspect, but I'd rather get things sorted.
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Sorry....I keep adding bits to this!!If you think that the two UVB bulbs is too much then I would be looking at the Exo-terra reptile vision 25w bulb instead.
Hi. The mercury vapor bulbs supply plenty of UVB. It is possible to provide too much. The compact/ spiral types pose the greatest risk of irritation the eyes. I liked your first idea of adding a ceramic heat emitter, but your second idea of the canopy would provide more stability. Tortoise tables do provide the best habitat for tortoises, but their one drawback is that it can be more difficult to stabilize temperatures.If this were my decision, I'd try adding the heat emitter first. If that stabilizes things the problem is solved, and it is less expensive than the canopy.Thank you for the picture of Tortuga. Her poor eyes look bad. I hope you can quickly find a solution.
Anna
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11,925
Experience: Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Thank you anna
You're very welcome.
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