URI Treatment (tortoise expertise NOT required)

Discussion in 'Tortoises' started by Cammy, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. Cammy

    Cammy Administrator Staff Member

    Hello. I have a few questions pertaining to a sick Red Footed Tortoise, but you can probably answer them with just some basic knowledge on reptile illnesses.

    Two weeks ago (at work) we received a red foot with what seemed to be a minor respiratory infection. She was making a very slight clicking sound when breathing and her saliva seemed very viscous when I looked in her mouth. However, she was at least alert and somewhat active. She went to the vet the next day. (The exotics "specialist" is only there on certain days.) She was prescribed baytril to be administered daily. I know baytril is harsh on reptiles' systems, but I assume the vet chose to go ahead and jump to this as something like t-smz would probably not have been very effective at the fairly progressed stage which the infection was already at. I also decided to bump up the heat in her enclosure.

    Those are the only steps we've taken so far. Unfortunately, the condition does not seem to have improved as of yet. Not surprisingly, she also has not eaten since she has been here. (As I said, we are going on two weeks.)

    My first question is about force feeding. Repti-aid was suggested at some point, but I pointed out that this is meant for carnivorous/insectivorous reptiles, and red foots are mostly herbivorous with very little protein demands. The last thing this tortoise needs is a gastric problem on top of all the stress. I found Melissa Kaplan's force feeding formulas for herbivores:

    Soaked alfalfa pellets, pureed squash, pureed fruit, reptile multivitamin, and reptile calcium supplement, thinned with Pedialyte, 1:1 solution of Gatorade and water, or plain water.

    What are your opinions on the usage of Gatorade? On the one hand, it contains electrolytes, which I am an avid supporter of when it comes to treating herps. On the other hand, it contains dyes and sugars...which may not really be necessary obviously. So what would you use? Gatorade or water? Do you think the benefits of added electrolytes outweighs the inclusion of dyes and extra sugars? I already have an opinion but would like some feedback from others as well.

    My next question is about medicinal baths, and you can skip this part if you don't know anything about them. I read in "Reptile Diseases" by Rolf Hackbarth that a "mirfusoft bath" can be used to treat respiratory infections. I'm pretty sure mirfusoft is a German medicine that is the same thing as thyme. That's what I gathered from looking online at least. (The book was originally in German and most of the drug names were left as is.) Anyways, the instructions are, "apply externally 1x daily; to be inhaled; 10mL per liter of lukewarm water." What's this "to be inhaled" mean? Ive never done a medicinal bath except an electrolyte soak before, so I don't really understand...is she supposed to inhale steam from the thyme solution? Because lukewarm water isn't going to accomplish that...would setting a steaming thyme solution NEAR her be better? If anyone knows anything about this, please let me know. I'm considering this as a supplemental treatment to bring up with the vet or my manager since the baytril doesn't seem to be helping...

    I swear, that's it. I'm SO SORRY to ramble on for so long. If you have any advice whatsoever on treating a difficult URI, I would greatly appreciate it, even if it has nothing to do with the treatments listed here. Thank you so much to the few (if any) who will actually read this. I look forward to your insight.
  2. ajlista

    ajlista Well-Known Member

    Well dont be sorry, we are here for this: )
    As for the feeding, slurry? But not with mealworms? Haha i guess like you said, just go online and search herbivore slurry? I dont really know that much about turtles, but if you could find a slurry sort of mix, you could maybe try applying some just to his/her lips and see if she licks it off. Just make sure its all veggies and fruits and stuff, no mealworms, or things like that
    As for the gatorade ive never heard of giving it to a reptile, so i cant help you on that, maybe someone else could give you some advice on that xd
    I believe you could buy suppliments for water?( I might be completely wrong.. haha)
    And as for the bath, to be inhaled, i suppose means just the aroma coming off the liquid? For example, when you throw out garbage, you can like smell the fumes if you know what i mean? And inhale them, but they arent visable,
    I think thats what it means, haha
    As long as her tank is set up fine i wouldnt worry about her surroundings and also is she pooping okay?
    Or can you describe her vivarium?
    Sorry im not much help xD
  3. Cammy

    Cammy Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for the quick reply, Anthony.

    Slurry is what I had in mind too. That's what the force feeding formula is essentially. I believe when you soak the alfalfa pellets well enough, they create a sort of mush. So hopefully that will work with the combination of the other ingredients as well.

    The fumes thing makes sense. I'm just wondering if steam would be more effective than regular fumes. But I also worry that the exposure to high humidity like that might aggravate the uri...

    As for the enclosure, it's not the best, but I'm working on improving it a little. :( Right now she is in a 10 gallon tank, but I'm working on getting her to a wire cage for better ventilation. I think the dust from the bedding (repti bark) combined with the small space is irritating her eyes, as we have to give her special drops twice a day, so I can imagine that's no good for her already irritated respiratory tract. The wire cage was previously occupied, so I couldn't use it before, but hopefully I can rig it up to be suitable for a herp on Thursday. Her cage and water source are all kept very clean, so I don't think hygiene is an issue. Also, she has only urinated except for defecating once when she first came in. She hasn't eaten anything so she doesn't really have anything to come out the other end. :/
  4. Cammy

    Cammy Administrator Staff Member

    Just a quick update for anyone who cares or stumbles across this:

    The redfoot was moved this morning from a 10 gallon glass tank to a wire cage which is 4" longer than a 10 gallon. I'm hoping the better ventilation will help with the eye irritation at the very least, possibly with the uri too; who knows?

    I made a slurry consisting of a soaked tortoise pellet, papaya, herptivite, repcal, and a 1:1 powerade:water mix. I wasn't going to go with the powerade at first, but we are out of Nutrilyte (basically pedialyte for animals) and I wanted some extra electrolytes in there somehow. I forced a little of the slurry down, and she actually willingly ate some from my hand. Hopefully that's a good sign.

    As of today her breathing is the same, but she is very active and alert. Anyways, I'll probably update as we go...because I can.
  5. ajlista

    ajlista Well-Known Member

    Nice sounds like shes doing good!
    Did you guys clean/ or get new substrate?
  6. Cammy

    Cammy Administrator Staff Member

    Yes, I changed the substrate when I moved her tank. We change it once a week as well. She seems to be improving, although I could just be seeing what I want to see. However, she is at least willingly eating the slurry, and she's definitely more active. She's also opening her eyes without needing the eye drops first. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping she pulls through. :)

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