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Dr. Dan M.
Dr. Dan M., Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 1504
Experience:  10 years of experience as a veterinary surgeon
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I have a tortoise he is breathing very heavily, what could

Customer Question

I have a tortoise he is breathing very heavily, what could be the cause, I have had him for 42 years. I didn't know how old he was when I or him
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Dan M. replied 5 years ago.

I am sorry Fred is unwell and can imagine how worried you are.

Tortoises can be affected by many diseases and given he is an older tortoise, this heavy breathing is a concern. So he will definitely need a veterinary examination to explore the possible causes and start treatment where appropriate.

Tortoises have very different anatomy to mammals so this heavy breathing can signify respiratory disease or more significant internal organ problems. It is also possible that Fred has a viral infection which may require anti viral treatments.

However, regardless of the cause it is important he is continuing to eat and drink and pass motions. If this isn't the case then he will deteriorate rapidly.

Your local small animal vets should be comfortable seeing him and performing an examination on him, they may want to treat him for parasites as well as start some antibiotics. It is also very easy to assist feed tortoises so they may dose him with some convalescent food especially for herbivores.

He should be kept warm and have easy access to food and water and it may help giving him a bath in tepid water as this can stimulate the passage of motions.

I am sorry I cannot diagnose is problem but it does sound significant enough to warrant veterinary attention.

Good luck and I hope he is OK

Best wishes

Dan Makin