Other Medical Issues

Septicemia
Technical
term for blood infections. Signals include red tinge between scutes or
red streaks on soft tissues. Cannot be treated without determining what
the infectious agent is and using the right antibiotic. Needs to be
seen by a vet.


Heat Emergencies:
Signals-
Tortoise
feels hot to the touch, may be unresponsive or limp, area temps over
100F.


Treatment-

  1. Cool
    tortoise in coolish (not cold) spray or soak.
  2. Make sure it is
    well-hydrated and has access to cooler, shady hiding places.
  3. Monitor
    hydration and condition over the next several days.
  4. Treat for shock
    and dehydration.
    Transport if no improvement.

Cold Emergencies:
Signals-
Tortoise feels
cold, acts sluggish or non-responsive. Temps under about 50F.


Treatment-

  1. Gently
    bring the tortoise up to a normal temp- put it in a warm/humid room
    (bathroom with the tub filled with hot water for humid heat?)
  2. Offer
    a warm soak as described earlier.
  3. Monitor and prepare to treat
    for pneumonia or other complications. See a vet if needed.



Stress:
Stress
in animals is defined by
Dr.
Mader
as the gap between what the animal needs in captivity, and what it
gets. The more energy or effort the animal uses to fill in the gap, the
more stressed it is.


For example, it takes a certain amount of
calcium and other nutrients to build a healthy shell, nerves, and
skeleton. If it needs calcium, it may actually steal it from other
systems, weakening them. Tortoises are also fairly quite, shy animals.
If there is a lot of activity near the habitat or hides, the animals
may not be able to relax and develop stress from that.


Stress is
often part of any problem, and reducing stress is almost always part of
the answer. Keeping a stressed tortoise warm, humid, calm, quiet, and
well-fed goes a long way to helping with almost any issue. (See
Shock and Nursing
Care)

Quarantine:
All
new
tortoises should be quarantined before being introduced to the
others. This simple step can save you heartbreak and expensive vet
bills by preventing an infected animal into your collection.


To
be sure the new tortoise is completely free of disease organisms or
parasites, a few months would be best, but you can reduce this time if
you are buying from a reliable breeder, especially if the rest of your
herd came from there.


When you think about all the pathogens
that a tortoise can carry- protozoans,
Herpesvirus,
Mycoplasma, E. coli, Salmonella, tapeworms, mites, and dozens of other
things, a few months of quarantine is not that big a deal to protect
everyone.


A
true quarantine completely separates the animals so they do not share
water, air, food, etc. You would not carry tools or materials between
them, etc.

Edited 8-16-2012 (C) Mark Adkins

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