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DrRalston
DrRalston, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 2205
Experience:  Over twelve years of internal medicine, surgery, and preventive care.
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We have inherited a tortoise from an uncle I believe its a

Customer Question

We have inherited a tortoise from an uncle I believe its a female herman tortoise. I have her in an averian. When its warm ive been putting it in the garden in a run. A couple of days in a row ive found her on its back I think she tried climbing over her water bowl. Im a little worried as shevseems to have stopped eating and pooping. Should I be worried
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  DrRalston replied 3 years ago.
Hello, I'm Dr Ralston, thanks for your quesiton.

The biggest concern I would have is dehydration. Depending how long she was flipped and how much straining she tried to do to get back over, she could be VERY depleted.

Smaller tortoises can become extremely dehydrated very quickly, sometimes in only 6-8 hours or less depending on heat and humidity levels.

Unfortunately, there is no reliable way of checking the hydration status at home. The best way is with blood testing at the Vets. You need to check kidney levels and uric acid levels.

Dehydration can lead to lack of eating and decreased defecation because the bowels are trying very hard to pull water out of the feces and back into her system. The kidneys are also working overtime.

You may need to take her to a Veterinarian that can give some fluid either IV or subcutaneously.

Sometimes dehydration can be guessed because the skin will be very dry and might be powdery, the eyes may be more sunken than usual, and there might be thick secretions around the mouth, eyes, or nose. You can also pinch the skin in a loose part (neck if possible) and it should roll back very quickly. If dehydrated it might just tent and stay in place.

If you are already hand feeding, you might add in water to the mix and try to get it into your tortoise that way to rehydrate. Pedialyte can also be used to replace fluid and electrolytes. It's hard to know how much, but mix some into the food. Probably about 1/5th of teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon per 1 tablespoon of food. Overall though, it ranges from 25-100 ml/kg in reptiles over a 24 hour period.

The reason I am so strongly implying dehydration is because of the conditions you have explained to me, and being flipped. There could be something completely else wrong in which case blood work at the Veterinarian would still be the best option. I am assuming you might not have an exotics Vet near by and so I am providing this information.