Tia back to the vet tomorrow- high maintenance tortoise

scats

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After a fantastic winter post surgery, 2 weeks ago Tia decided to stop eating again. Shes trying to bury herself all the time, though if you get her out, she does go off exploring.

I changed the lights and heat lamp in her enclosure, incase they weren’t operating at full capacity and I’ve tried every food combo I can think of. For a couple of days I managed to get her to hand feed a bit, but now shes refusing to do that. I ordered a worm test kit but she wont poo because she hasn’t eaten so I’ve got nothing to send off.

Ive been bathing her every day in reptoboost, but no joy, so we are trundling back to Tarporley tomorrow to see the vet again.

I spent £4k on this tortoise last year so money is no issue where she is concerned. Im going to ask for bloods and an xray just to check for anything nasty.
She had all her reproductive system removed last year so that shouldn’t be the problem.

Good vibes needed please. I got this tortoise thinking she would be a nice low maintenance pet…ha!
 

Quigleyandme

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I don’t know much about the inner workings of tortoises but I know they are wonderful creatures. We lived in the Seychelles for a short period as my dad had the contract to lighter all Costain’s earth moving equipment ashore to build the airport. We had giant tortoises in our compound and they all had their unique personalities. I was very sad when my request to take my favourite one home with us was flatly refused. I’m even sadder that Dad knocked back the option of a 999 year lease on one of the islands in lieu of some payment.
 

Esmae

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I know nothing about tortoises but could it be that it is just blinkin cold right now. I know you have a lamp on her but maybe she is feeling the chill anyway and wants to sleep. Like I say I know nowt but do know that they sleep in the winter.
 

ycbm

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Vibes winging their way to Tarporley, it's not far they should be there on time.
.
 

FinnishLapphund

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Thanks all.
I’m hoping it’s just the weather/weird atmosphere or something. I can’t even begin to explain how attached I am to her, I absolutely love her and the thought of anything happening to her is awful.

She’s seeing one of the vets who operated on her so she’s in good hands.

You have explained how attached you are to Tia, your love for her shines through your posts.

I'm sorry to read she needs to go back to the vets. Hope they can figure out is what wrong, and help her.
And thereby also help you. Personally I think tortoises looks quite cute, but I get stressed enough when one of my pets seems a bit down, and lose their appetite for some hours, maybe a day. But 2 weeks without appetite, and you can't take a poop sample, because she's not pooping since she hasn't eaten. It's amazing what you can manage to put up with when you love them, but I feel like a nervous wreck just reading that.

I think you've mentioned that Tia will eventually start to hibernate. By pure coincidence, YouTube decided to suggest a video to me the other day with someone in USA digging up her 2 tortoises out in her garden after their hibernation, they'd been down there for months! *Shudders* I suppose you just have to trust the process, but still, my nerves says No.

But I'm getting sidetracked. Lots of {{{{{{Vibes}}}}}} to Tia, hope the vets soon have her back to her usual self.
 

scats

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So its looking like a liver problem. Her ultrasound showed an enlarged liver. She had fatty liver last year as a result of not eating so we treated her for it but it looks like the problem might he back. Bloods should either confirm this or not.

There was also some tissue that looks like a gathering of scar tissue from her surgery, but vet was sure this was nothing to worry about. That said, if the bloods dont support the liver diagnosis, then that might be something to look at.

Plan now is get blood results and formulate a plan. She may well need a feeding tube back in if shes going to need regular medication.
 

scats

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Bloods are back and the same liver enzyme as last year is elevated. Unfortunately it doesn’t give much other information. No sign of infection or inflammatory markers.

We’ve decided that they could do with getting a better look at her liver and taking some samples if needed, plus having a feeding tube placed back in so we can get nutrition into her and some liver support. That does mean she’s going back under anaesthetic next Friday to have all this done.
Other than that our options are limited. The longer she doesn’t eat, the worse her liver will get and the weaker she will get. Right now she is, on the surface, a healthy tortoise of a good weight and condition with no signs of dehydration, so should cope fine with another surgery.

Surgery booked for Friday so I’m dropping her off on Thursday evening.
 
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scats

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Poor Tia, you’re lucky to have a good vet behind you who knows what he’s talking about.
The only time I’ve taken mine to the vet they didn’t know what species she was, didn’t fill me with confidence. Yours sounds great.

I’ve travelled out of area to go to this particular vet practice as they have a few vets experienced with tortoises of all breeds. It takes about 45 minutes to get there from mine, so not too bad.
 

SilverLinings

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I am sorry to hear that Tia is unwell again, I hope all goes well for her at the vets and that they find an (easily treatable) answer. She is lucky to have you looking after her, and it is great that you have access to a specialist vet.
 

scats

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I am sorry to hear that Tia is unwell again, I hope all goes well for her at the vets and that they find an (easily treatable) answer. She is lucky to have you looking after her, and it is great that you have access to a specialist vet.

Thank you. I’m getting really quite worried about her now. She just doesn’t want to eat a thing and takes herself back into her bed, like she was doing last summer.

Obviously if they find anything sinister when she is under, we will let her go peacefully. All my research is pointing to a type of fatty liver disease, which is manageable. But we will see.
 

SilverLinings

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Thank you. I’m getting really quite worried about her now. She just doesn’t want to eat a thing and takes herself back into her bed, like she was doing last summer.

Obviously if they find anything sinister when she is under, we will let her go peacefully. All my research is pointing to a type of fatty liver disease, which is manageable. But we will see.
I will be thinking of you and Tia, and have my fingers crossed that you are right and it's a treatable liver disease- it sounds like you've done a lot of research so that is the most likely cause. Poor Tia sounds quite unhappy so I hope she is soon on the mend.
 

scats

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Tia was dropped off at the vets this afternoon (thanks to my Dad for that, as I was working)

The vet noticed she has developed a slight pink tinge to her plastron, which can mean something as simple as a deficiency, or something more sinister like septicaemia.
So she’s definitely in the right place and it’s just cemented that this procedure really is last ditch attempt to work out what’s wrong.
I have said if they find anything sinister during the scope, to ring me while she’s under so I can make a decision there and then, but fingers crossed it doesn’t come to that.
Reptiles are notoriously bad with anaesthetic so there’s that worry too. She came out of it brilliantly last time, but you just never know.

If everyone could please send good vibes, that would be much appreciated. I absolutely love that little tortoise. I feel totally lost without her tonight.
 

scats

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I feel a bit frustrated. I had requested that if anything major or sinister was found, could they ring me while she was on the table so I could make a decision there and then.

I got a phone call to say that Tia was in recovery. When I asked what they found, I was told her liver is so large that it is filling pretty much the whole abdominal cavity. They took some samples and fitted a feeding tube.
I suppose I just think that a liver that compromised is a pretty major thing and perhaps I should have been called mid-surgery. I’m fairly sure I would have asked them to put her to sleep while she was under.

The vet said her prognosis is guarded. They think it’s a form of fatty liver disease, though we won’t know until the results of the samples are back in 10-14 days. Until then, Tia will be tube fed and medicated.

I’m waiting for the vet to ring back because typically they rang when I had a dog due in and I just didn’t get my head in gear to ask enough questions, so I want to speak to her again as I am understandably concerned about Tia’s quality of life and whether a liver that size can ever be managed. I feel uneasy about putting her through this for 10-14 days if chances are we will be putting her to sleep then anyway. I wish they had contacted me while she was under.

So not great news. I’m fairly sure this isn’t going to have a happy ending :(
 

SilverLinings

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I am sorry you haven't had more positive news about Tia, good luck for the conversation with the vet, and sending best wishes for Tia x
 
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