Weight loss

This forum covers all aspects of tortoise diet and nutrition, including mineral and vitamin supplementation and foods appropriate for different species.
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Summerills
Posts: 41
Joined: 28 May 2020, 17:04

Weight loss

Post by Summerills » 20 Sep 2020, 13:36

Hi
More diet related questions about Fergus I’m afraid.

I have weighed him again today having not done it for a couple of months and he has lost weight since coming to us- down to 29g (30g after a bath) from 34g when he arrived- his highest weight was 35g a month after he arrived.

He’s such a tiny thing that this feels like a big loss. He’s pretty active, more so this week as he’s spent more time outside thanks to some sunnier weather. His urates are creamy so I’m not concerned about dehydration.
He’s really not a big eater will eat maybe a small dandelion leaf a day, but is incredibly fussy!! I planted a tray of tortoise friendly seeds from Chiltern seeds but he won’t eat any of what’s growing. There isn’t one thing that he will reliably eat- not even the pellets the seller advised us he’s had since birth.
I mentioned in a previous post that is as concerned about him not getting enough vitamins- I changed the Nutrobal for Repti Calcium with D3 but he still won’t touch it.
I’m starting to wonder if it’s time for a vet trip but thought I’d ask on here one more time first!!

I have attached some pictures in case you spot anything significant that I wouldn’t have noticed!

Summerills
Posts: 41
Joined: 28 May 2020, 17:04

Re: Weight loss

Post by Summerills » 20 Sep 2020, 13:37

Sorry- photos didn’t load first time
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Summerills
Posts: 41
Joined: 28 May 2020, 17:04

Re: Weight loss

Post by Summerills » 20 Sep 2020, 13:38

And one on my hand for scale
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Nina
Posts: 1525
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Weight loss

Post by Nina » 20 Sep 2020, 19:02

I can see why it is worrying you. It's amazing how much weighing just before a poo or just after a poo can make a difference (at least a gram or two), but the fact that he hasn't really gained any weight since he has been with you is concerning, so let's review everything and see what we can do to maybe tweak the set-up.

I've just looked back at the photo of your set-up in an older thread, and you made him a really lovely table, so I don't think thre is any problem there. What is the temperature directly under the heat source, at the height of his shell? Measuring temperature a few inches away on a thermometer mounted on a wall will give you an artificially low reading. You want it to be around 30C directly under the lamp. Are the lights in his table nice and bright? Could you add another lamp just to make it a bit brighter (but you don't want it to get too warm either)?

If he doesn't have food that he particularly likes then it is difficult to know how to get him to eat more. Most tortoises like cucumber (which does them no harm but isn't particularly nutritious). If you rub some cucumber or squeeze some cucumber juice over his food, that might tempt him. If he does like cucumber then you could cut some up into teeny tiny pieces and mix it with his good food, also cut in teeny tiny pieces and wet thoroughly, so that everything sticks together, and in that way you when he goes for some cucumber he will get the good stuff. Also, if you always wet his food then the Calcium/vitamin powder will stick to it -- but go lightly on that for now in case it is putting hiim off.

A trip to the vet might be in order, especially as this is the time of year when all tortoises are going off their food anyway, because they are getting into hibernation mode, and you really don't want to hibernate him this year if he hasn't put on any weight at all. I can't remember wherre you live, but is there a vet near you who specialises in reptiles? That is really important, and have a look at our list of recommended vets (if you can't find anyone near you let us know and we'll have a look): https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tor ... 2eSBovTW9s If you find one, make sure to ask if the reptile/exotics vet is still with the practice, because vets do come and go.

I hope some of that helps, and please let us know how it is going. He's such a lovely little tortoise and you are a really good keeper, and I'm sure that we can get him on the road to gaining some weight.

Nina

Summerills
Posts: 41
Joined: 28 May 2020, 17:04

Re: Weight loss

Post by Summerills » 21 Sep 2020, 21:11

Hi Nina
He did eat a little more today and then buried himself really deep in his soil. He’s done that a couple of time this week. Could he be trying to hibernate? If so how do I stop him? Is it as obvious as keep waking him up?!

Temperature under his lamp is bang on 30. I check it once a week and adjust the lamp height accordingly. However he’s been outside a lot more and it’s definitely not as warm out there. Should I keep in him?

Nic

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Nina
Posts: 1525
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Weight loss

Post by Nina » 21 Sep 2020, 22:17

Hi Nic,

Waking him is part of it, but there is more you can do (although it can be really difficult with some tortoises). Here's a link to our article on overwintering your tortoise. Have a read and see if there is anything that you think you can do to help him. I don't think that going outside is going to be too much of an option soon, as tomorrow is supposed to be the last day that we'll have nice warm temperatures -- but if it is nice and warm then do put him out, even if only for a short time.
https://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/tor ... 2kXPIvTW9s

I would check the temperature in his table more frequently than once a week. I think you need to check it every day, and maybe at different times of the day, because the temperature of the room where the table is can make a big difference to the temperature in the table. I find that I am often having to raise my lamp to lower the temperature in the table if the room is hot and lower the lamp to increase the temperature if the room is cold. I use one of those digital fridge thermometers with a Max/Min facility on it, and that enables you to see what the highest and lowest temperatures were in the table since you last re-set the function, so you can get a rough picture of what it was like when you weren't there. If you don't have a link to one of those, let me know and i'll post one.

Nina

Summerills
Posts: 41
Joined: 28 May 2020, 17:04

Re: Weight loss

Post by Summerills » 22 Sep 2020, 07:24

Thanks Nina
I will up his baths to daily. I was only doing it twice a week as he really hates it and I was concerned it was stressing him out, but at least that’ll keep him awake. I had also noticed that whilst he used to sleep in the corner near his lamp, he has moved to cooler areas but is up and about for normal chunks of the day, just less time basking. I’ll move him about a bit more- he’ll love that!

Going to keep an eye on his weight weekly and try and catch a poo to send for worm count too.

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Nina
Posts: 1525
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Weight loss

Post by Nina » 22 Sep 2020, 11:37

Hi Nic,

I think I was in the middle of writing a response but forgot to send. Anyway, you can have a poo test done at a vet (can't remember now if you have a good one), or VetExotics (Reptiland) https://www.vetexotics.co.uk/ offer a 10% discount to people who type in TTT at checkout.

Not sure how their prices equate with what a vet charges, but I think their 'silver' parasite test (which would be sufficient) is about £20. I think they send you a little vessel to put a sample in and send it off, but not sure. Here is a link to their FAQ section: https://www.parasitevet.co.uk/FAQs and you can use their chat online facility too.

Nina

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Nina
Posts: 1525
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Weight loss

Post by Nina » 22 Sep 2020, 13:19

Have just heard back from them. They are currently offering a 10% discount to TTT people, so just type in TTT at checkout. Here is what they said in addition:

There is the option at checkout on postage (sort their own postage and their own pot where we don’t send anything out, and the usual 1st class both ways). Just so you are aware. We are now a registered veterinary practice. There is an online consultation service also available:www.parasitevet.co.uk/consult. If you would like to see an example of the new veterinary reports issued with the results then I can send this to your email.

I asked to see an example of their reports and will try and post one if possible.

Nina

Summerills
Posts: 41
Joined: 28 May 2020, 17:04

Re: Weight loss

Post by Summerills » 22 Sep 2020, 13:55

Thanks Nina I will get on to that.
I noticed today that his “lips” have gone a bit black- you can see it in the picture posted above. I appreciate they are not really lips but he does look like he’s wearing lipstick now! He was always a little darker round his mouth but this does seem a little more pronounced. Is this something to be concerned about? Or just a normal colouring variation. Cant find anything significant on Dr Google!

Summerills
Posts: 41
Joined: 28 May 2020, 17:04

Re: Weight loss

Post by Summerills » 22 Sep 2020, 13:59

Starting to feel like a proper paranoid Mother now!!
Thanks again for support

Brucedg
Posts: 1
Joined: 26 Sep 2020, 08:15

Re: Weight loss

Post by Brucedg » 26 Sep 2020, 08:22

That's is so me. I am always paranoid but whenever that happens, I see a vet just to make sure.

Summerills
Posts: 41
Joined: 28 May 2020, 17:04

Re: Weight loss

Post by Summerills » 26 Sep 2020, 11:28

He has picked right up today, is up and about and eating again! I am not sure how he does it but without changing his face at all he can sometimes look so grumpy, which has been him the last few days, and then today, looks quite pleased with himself!

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Nina
Posts: 1525
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Weight loss

Post by Nina » 27 Sep 2020, 11:09

Hi Nic,

So sorry, but for some reason I'm not receiving all the notifications of posting and missed your last 3!
Re the black lips -- if he has just eaten something moist or had a drink then it does go darker around the mouth -- but in any case I don't think it's a problem. Do you want to send a close-up photo?

I'm so glad that Fergus is perking up and eating again, and hopefully he will start putting on some weight soon. Goodness, they do their best to stress us out, don't they?!

Nina

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