Advice about puffy and closed eyes

Use this forum to discuss general questions about any aspects of tortoise care.
RachelP
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Re: Advice about puffy and closed eyes

Post by RachelP » 19 Jun 2019, 20:31

Hi. I’ve been reading all of the above and it sounds very similar to my tortoise (baz) at the moment. Started off with puffy eyes which were treated with drops and antibiotics but also gone off his food. He had a feeding tube in just over a week ago which was successful and he ate very little afterwards which was a progress in a way. However he has proceeded not to eat and it’s now been just over a week and half since his feeding tube. I’ve been bathing him every other day. He tends to want to sleep a lot and doesn’t move much. As though he’s given up in a way. The vets have advised blood tests but someone else also says he’s suffered enough.
I’ve literally just bathed him now and he was moving about more than usual. How has your tortoise recovered?
Can anyone give any further advise?
Thanks in advance
Rachel

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Nina
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Re: Advice about puffy and closed eyes

Post by Nina » 19 Jun 2019, 20:57

Hi Rachel and thanks for contacting us.

I'm so sorry to hear about Baz and his health problems, and it does sound as if he has gone through a lot. Do you mind if I ask a couple of questions, as it will help us to know what sort of advice to give you.
1. Is your vet a reptile/exotics vet, or is he or she an ordinary vet?
2. When treating Baz for the puffy eyes, do you know if the vet gave Baz a Vitamin A injection?
3. Did the vet advise you to keep the heat on 24/7 while Baz was receiving antibiotics?
4. Could you send us a photo of your set up and also provide information about the temperature directly under the heat source? You need to take the temperature at the height of Baz's shell, directly under the bulb or lamp (a thermometer on a nearby wall will not give you an accurate reading).
There are various causes of puffy eyes, ranging from infections to a piece of dust or grit in the eye, but being lethargic, having no appetite and having puffy eyes does indicate that he is very unwell. Please don't give up though -- you have spent a lot of time (and money) trying to bring him back to health and you obviously care for him and want the best for him and I hope we can help you.

If you can provide answers to my questions that would be great and hopefully we can point you in the right direction.

Nina

RachelP
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Re: Advice about puffy and closed eyes

Post by RachelP » 20 Jun 2019, 12:55

Hi Nina. Thanks for your response.
Responses as follows:
1. The vet I used is an ordinary vet. He is a specialised with eyes (from experience with my dog) and he provided some drops and antibiotic injection. Baz did perk up after this in himself but still didn’t eat. The drops were given for just over a week and swelling did go down and it was clear he was blinking but I still couldn’t see his full eye as before. I did find him upside down so believe grit got into his eye.
The same vet also fed baz via a feeding tube which was successful.
2. There was no vitamin a injection as far as I am aware but he does have the calcium powder on his food but obviously not taking any of this in at present.
3. A basking bulb is on throughout the day and then an Infrared night light during the night hours.
4. I will need to get these when I get home after work later today. He is however in a nice sized area with a separate house he can go into.

I have been advised by Ark Vets in sheffield to use Reptoboost which I am getting today.

After reading reviews and looking at foods they should eat, I believe we may have been feeding him some wrong bits :( we are changing the food we give immediately in the hope this can help too. I personally can not afford the fees for the blood tests so I am a bit lost at the moment as what is best to do. I don’t want to give up but also don’t want him to suffer anymore from starving
Thanks in advance. Rachel

RachelP
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Re: Advice about puffy and closed eyes

Post by RachelP » 20 Jun 2019, 12:59

These are the photos I have of his home but these were taken before it was all set up
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RachelP
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Re: Advice about puffy and closed eyes

Post by RachelP » 20 Jun 2019, 21:12

This is his current set up and the temp
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Nina
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Re: Advice about puffy and closed eyes

Post by Nina » 20 Jun 2019, 22:56

Hi Rachel, and thanks for answering my questions. It is always best to use a reptile vet as ordinary vets have very little training in reptiles, but it sounds like your vet has done OK. It is good that there was no vitamin A injection. The reason I asked is that non-reptile vets see puffy eyes and sometimes think this is a symptom of vitamin A deficiency and administer an injection, but that can cause an overdose of vitamin A in tortoises and can do more harm than good (vitamin a deficiency is very rare in tortoises). So that is fine.

Re the lights. You really don't need an infrared light on at night. It will do no harm, but it isn't necessary. However while he is unwell, or if he is on antibiotics then it probably isn't doing any harm to have it a bit warmer at night (but when he is well i would get rid of it, as tortoises do appreciate a drop in temperature at night, just as they would have in the wild).

Your thermometer on the wall of the table will not be giving you an accurate temperature reading. To give you an idea of the problem, we once had someone who had a tortoise in a vivarium (which obviously is not a good thing), and the tortoise was lethargic and not eating. We asked what the temperature was below the heat source and she said it was 30C -- which is the right temperature. We couldn't figure out what the problem was until she sent us a photo of her set-up and she had a thermometer like yours, mounted on a wall about four inches away from where the circle of light fell from the lamp, and it was reading 30C. We asked her to take it off the wall and hold it under the lamp, at the height of the tortoise's shell, and it read 45C, which is lethal.

You ideally want a temperature of about 30C directly under the lamp and a reading of about 20C at the cooler end, and there is no need for heat at night, as long as the temperature doesn't drop below about 13C or 14C (which is not common in modern houses). So what you need is one of those digital fridge thermometers with a display unit that can go outside your table and a probe at the end of a long wire that can be hung down into the table, near the circle of light. You can then raise or lower the lamp to get the desired temperature (and on a warm day you might need to raise the lamp and on a cold day you might need to lower it). This is the sort of thing I mean https://tinyurl.com/y4ybqyty and they usually have a max/min facility on them so you can see how hot or cold it got since you last re-set it. You can get them in lots of places and can find them cheaper too.

Thank you very much for sending the photos of your tortoise table. It looks absolutely fine. The temperature will be important though, so it would be good to have an accurate reading. I can think of two samll improvements:
1. You really need a reflector guard on that uvb strip light to protect your eyes. You can buy them at most pet shops, and they are just aluminium and clip onto the tube and cover the top of it. UVB rays are dangerous for your eyesight so the guard will protect your eyes when you look down into the table, and will also project more of the rays down into the table for the benefit of the tortoise. They look like this: https://www.ebay.co.uk/i/131335164121?chn=ps and you can buy them at most pet shops that sell the uvb tubes (or you can fashion one out of aluminium foil if you need to).

The substrate you are using is fine, but i would change the material you are using inside his house. It looks like aubiose or straw and both of these do have the potential to scratch a tortoise's eyes (although that rarely happens). I used to use something similar, but when it was pointed out that the soil substrate is easier to clean, and if the aubiose/straw type substrate gets wet it can harbour mould, and isn't really natural for them, I changed to using the same soil-based substrate throughout the table and it has worked fine.

Those are just small changes and not connected with your tortoise's problem, but i'm hoping that if we can get the temperatures right it might help. I'm not sure what else to do because it sounds like you are providing him with a good home and good husbandry.

I hope that if anyone else has any ideas they will come in and post something.

Nina

RachelP
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Re: Advice about puffy and closed eyes

Post by RachelP » 21 Jun 2019, 07:15

Thanks for your comments Nina they are all noted. I actually bought some Reptoboost last night to try help give Baz that ‘extra kick’ start. He’s still clearly unwell and I am consulting a more local (and definitely sounded cheaper) vet today after a recommendation from a reptile rescue centre.
After speaking to the gentleman in the reptile shop he also believed the heat wasn’t right and told me to higher the bulb away from the set up. He was kind enough to say he’d take a look at Baz so he knew more of what I was meaning about his condition, although he isn’t a vet himself which I knew. They have tortoises in store. He also mentioned tortoises going off their food during mating season which is usually around this time of year and told me to look this up.
Re the bulb at night - I always ensure the uv bulb is off due to it obviously being night. Is this correct?
Thanks again,
Rachel

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Nina
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Re: Advice about puffy and closed eyes

Post by Nina » 21 Jun 2019, 09:45

Hi Rachel,

Reptiboost is good, and I would definitely recommend using it. It is really important that you consult a vet who has qualifications to treat exotics, so I hope that the vet you are seeing today does have that expertise. Have you checked out our list of recommended reptile vets (they are listed by county)? https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tor ... QySrI97m9s Iif you can't find a vet on that list we might be able to help you if you can tell us roughtly where you live.

I'm afraid that I wouldn't rely too much on what the owner of the reptile shop has told you. First of all, just highering the bulb doesn't necessarily give you the right temperature -- it all depends on what the temperature is in the table and if the room is warm because it's a warm day then the temperature in the table will be warmer, but if it is a cool day then it will be cooler. I'm afraid that just because people sell a certain type of animal that doesn't meant that they have expert knowledge. And his advice about tortoises going off their food during mating season is bizaarre. How old is Baz? He looks small and not nearly big enough to be able or inclined to mate. I have not heard that about tortoises losing their appetite (although some other reptiles do), although I expect that it is possible because male tortoises are very preoccupied when mating, but they do tend to want to mate all the time and not just 'in season'. I would absolutely discard that theory as being a cause of Baz's lack of appetite.

Yes it is right to turn the bulb off at night. It is only when a tortoise is taking antibiotics that you want heat at night, because that will enable the antibiotics to work.

One of the most common causes of lethargy and lack of appetite is a parasite infection (worms is the most likely). Did the vet do a test for worms when you visited him? If you take a relatively fresh sample of poo (you can keep it in a sealed container overnight in the fridge if necessary) then it is easy to do a test and also easy to get rid of the worms if they are present. I would definitely ask about that on your visit today.

Fingers are crossed for an easy solution that finds Baz back to full health really quickly, and please let us know how you get on today.

Nina




RachelP wrote:
> Thanks for your comments Nina they are all noted. I actually bought some
> Reptoboost last night to try help give Baz that ‘extra kick’ start. He’s
> still clearly unwell and I am consulting a more local (and definitely
> sounded cheaper) vet today after a recommendation from a reptile rescue
> centre.
> After speaking to the gentleman in the reptile shop he also believed the
> heat wasn’t right and told me to higher the bulb away from the set up. He
> was kind enough to say he’d take a look at Baz so he knew more of what I
> was meaning about his condition, although he isn’t a vet himself which I
> knew. They have tortoises in store. He also mentioned tortoises going off
> their food during mating season which is usually around this time of year
> and told me to look this up.
> Re the bulb at night - I always ensure the uv bulb is off due to it
> obviously being night. Is this correct?
> Thanks again,
> Rachel

RachelP
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Re: Advice about puffy and closed eyes

Post by RachelP » 21 Jun 2019, 12:20

Hi Nina,
I have had a look at the list and the one I have contacted is listed on there. I am waiting for a call back at the moment.
We believe Baz may actually be a female as well.
I have had baz around 18 months now so think he will be around 3 years old.
The shop owner is the only person who has mentioned worms to me if I’m honest. Although it may be difficult to get a sample due to baz not eating I will see what the vet says about then when they call me back.
I will keep you posted Nina and thanks again

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Nina
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Re: Advice about puffy and closed eyes

Post by Nina » 21 Jun 2019, 13:01

That sounds great, Rachel, and I do hope it goes well today.

Yes it will be difficult to get a sample if he isn't eating, but sometimes they can do a little swab through the cloaca.

Three years old is probably too young to sex him/her as they usually need to be five or six years old, but sometimes you can tell. If you can send us a photo of his underside, clearly showing the tail, we might be able to hazard a guess.
Fingers crossed for the phone call and visit to the vet!

Nina

RachelP
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Re: Advice about puffy and closed eyes

Post by RachelP » 23 Jun 2019, 13:24

Hi Nina,
Little update, I had baz to the vets yesterday and she had some bloods taken :( waiting on the results coming through. I did wonder though, from this could it result in her leg being dead/numb. She’s dragging it around but u didn’t ask which leg they had taken the blood from and they are closed so I am unable to ask.
Thanks in advance, Rachel

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Nina
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Re: Advice about puffy and closed eyes

Post by Nina » 23 Jun 2019, 19:18

Oh dear, Rachel, I feel so sorry for you and Baz. It is definitely not right that she is dragging a leg around and that it seems numb. I would ring the practice tomorrow, ask to speak to the vet you saw, and tell them that she is dragging one of her legs. Is it one leg or both, and is it a front or rear leg? This has been so stressful for you and for Baz and I just wish that I could be of more help. If you ever want to chat on the phone I'd be happy to ring you, but I'm not sure that I have any more ideas on what to do.

Nina

RachelP
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Re: Advice about puffy and closed eyes

Post by RachelP » 23 Jun 2019, 19:55

Hi Nina.
I tried to call them earlier but they were closed. Definitely making a call tomorrow. I wondered if it was from the needle as I know the feeling I get after an injection and bloods. It’s a front left leg.
I appreciate all the advice you have given me it’s really grateful. It’s just a waiting game for the results at the moment. I shall let you know the outcome
Thanks again, Rachel

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Nina
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Re: Advice about puffy and closed eyes

Post by Nina » 24 Jun 2019, 08:50

I'm thinking now that maybe the numb leg could be a result of the injection (although I've never heard that before). The reason I asked which leg it was is that sometimes if both rear legs are dragging then it is a sign of serious kidney problems. Fingers crossed that you have some answers and a good result from the vet today.

Nina

RachelP
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Re: Advice about puffy and closed eyes

Post by RachelP » 27 Jun 2019, 20:10

Hi Nina,
Sorry to say we’ve had to have baz put to sleep tonight after the results from blood tests. She had a severe lack of protein and severely dehydrated. This was obvious due to not drinking or eating for such a long time. She also had an infection in her system. There was treatment available but obviously at a large cost but it wasn’t guaranteed that it would work :(
She can come home tomorrow from the vets to be buried in our garden.
Just wanted to say a massive thank you for your help and advice it has been greatly appreciated
Thanks, Rachel

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Nina
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Re: Advice about puffy and closed eyes

Post by Nina » 27 Jun 2019, 21:12

Oh Rachel, I am so sorry -- and you must be devastated! You've done everything you possibly could, and at least she isn't suffering any more. Sometimes there really isn't anything you can do to help an animal, and I think it was an act of kindness to have her put to sleep as she had put up a good fight, but the odds of recovery were really stacked against her. It is really lovely that she will be buried in your garden, and thank you for letting us know what happened, as I know it must be difficult for you. If you ever decide to get another tortoise, let us know, and we will give you all the help we can.

Nina

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lin
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Re: Advice about puffy and closed eyes

Post by lin » 27 Jun 2019, 23:13

Oh Rachel.
I am so sorry to hear this sad news and thank you for keeping us posted.
Baz was a little fighter and it is so nice that he will forever be near you.
RIP little Baz - x

Lin

Heather
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Re: Advice about puffy and closed eyes

Post by Heather » 13 Aug 2019, 14:41

You appear to have a troll posting, ladies!

Heather

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lin
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Re: Advice about puffy and closed eyes

Post by lin » 13 Aug 2019, 15:08

I agree Heather.
Thanks for the heads up.
Lin
x

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Nina
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Re: Advice about puffy and closed eyes

Post by Nina » 13 Aug 2019, 17:21

Yes, we do. I'll delete the posts and ban him.

Nina

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