Underweight Spur Thigh

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matthew123uk
Posts: 9
Joined: 01 Oct 2017, 18:19

Underweight Spur Thigh

Post by matthew123uk » 01 Oct 2017, 18:28

Hi guys, I'm wondering if someone could help me. I believe my Esther, my 3 yr old Mediterranean Spur Thigh, may be under weight. Just out of curiosity, we tried using the Jackson Ratio on her, and it says she is severely underweight. She weighs 285g and is around 14cm (measured properly, not using a tape measure over her shell), giving her a ratio of around 1.0. I haven't took her to the vets in the 3 months I have had her as she seems quite active and easily eats around 1-2 shell-size amounts of food (all weeds, such as bindweed, dandelion, English plantain, clover, small amounts of Timothy grass, several different flowers - all safe to moderate foods).

Is she a normal size do you reckon, or could it be something underlying? I'm ordering a worm test kit, but since she eats often, I haven't really thought of it as an issue. She has only put on 1 gram this month however, so I'm starting to think it may be a bad case of protozoans etc.

Thanks :)

Matt

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Nina
Posts: 277
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Underweight Spur Thigh

Post by Nina » 01 Oct 2017, 18:53

Hi Matt,

I wouldn't worry just yet. I don't keep Spur-thighs, but 285 g. for a 3 year old doesn't seem bad to me. It sounds like you are measuring her properly, but do remember that the Jackson ratio was devised to determine whether a tortoise is of sufficient weight to go into hibernation, and it isn't necessarily an indication of whether the tortoise is the right weight. It sounds like you are giving her a good diet, so well done.

We usually aim for an average weight gain of between 1g - 4g per month -- and that is just an average (some months they will gain more and some less), so the fact that she gained 1g this last month shouldn't be cause for worry. Do you have a good reptile vet near you where you could take her for a check-up (it really does need to be a vet with expertise in reptiles, rather than an ordinary vet, and if you don't know of one we have a list of UK vets on our website here: http://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tort ... dEp09FryM8 (and if you can't find one near you, let us know and we'll try to help find one). The vet can also do a worm test for you if you bring a fresh sample of poo with you (you can leave some overnight in a sealed container in the fridge if necessary).

A light load of worms is nothing at all to worry about, and in fact most vets now don't recommend treating a light load, but if she has a heavy load then it should be treated. When tortoises have a heavy load of worms, they often lose their appetite and are lethargic, so it doesn't sound like she is suffering from a heavy load, but you can never tell and it is wise to test if you have suspicions. Protozoa are another matter, and the vet can test for those too.

Let us know how you get on, and please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any more questions or we can be of help in any other way.


Nina

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lin
Posts: 196
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Underweight Spur Thigh

Post by lin » 01 Oct 2017, 21:34

Hi Matt
I agree with Nina. There really isnt a set weight for a tortoise no matter the age and like us they will put on and drop weight when they like. As long as they dont loose to much week after week when you should then start to investigate what could be wrong but a little loss would be nothing to worry about while they are also putting on weight.
It would be a good idea to get a worm count done and if needs be the vet will treat.

Lin

matthew123uk
Posts: 9
Joined: 01 Oct 2017, 18:19

Re: Underweight Spur Thigh

Post by matthew123uk » 02 Oct 2017, 21:03

Thanks a lot Nina and Lin. My nearest Herp vet is around an hour and a half drive away. I really appreciate your help. She's still eating plenty today, but I think part of my worry is influenced by how lazy she is getting, with its going into winter. She's been relatively active today and had been climbing all over. I've ordered a worm test so once that gets here I'll collect kha sample and send it off. Thanks again for your reassurance. As my pet for life, I just didn't want her to suffer haha.

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lin
Posts: 196
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Underweight Spur Thigh

Post by lin » 02 Oct 2017, 21:28

The worm count will put your mind to rest even more Matt. I forgot to add our observation link. Its here but you can also find it under the care heading above and then in the weighing and measuring page.
http://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tort ... Zg6UK2ZO3I

Lin

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Nina
Posts: 277
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Underweight Spur Thigh

Post by Nina » 02 Oct 2017, 22:29

It's great to hear that Esther has been active today. LOL -- you should see my two Horsfields. As of last week they won't wake up in the mornings, and will sleep all day if I let them. It's just the time of year when hibernation instinct kicks in, and I have to wake them up each morning and put them under the lights. They will eat well after they warm up there, but then they go straight back to bed. It's the same every year. I find that after two or three weeks of this they then start waking up by themselves. It's too early for me to put them into their hibernation, so I'll start winding them down at the beginning of November.

I think Esther might must be feeling that pull towards hibernating. Will you be hibernating her this year? If you want to then we can send you lots of good information about how to prepare her for hibernation and the actual hibernation.

Do either download and print out the Observation booklet (or we will have printed copies available in a few weeks), as Lin suggests, so that you can keep accurate records. If you do go to the vet, I'd be very interested to hear what he has to say about her weight.

Take care and let us know how you get on.

Cheers,
Nina

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