Help with cause of death of our tortoise

With Reptiles sometimes time is of the essence when it comes to their health. You can post your health related questions and answers here.

Help with cause of death of our tortoise

Postby dilbert » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:52 pm

Hi all,

Having been already with two reputable veterinaries specialised in tortoises (see my other two threads within this section), I am now still left with a question.

I hope that someone can give me some clues or hints out of his experience.

I would like to know the cause of the death of our tortoise (Agrionemys [Testudo] horsfieldii) which we had for three years and who was probably four years old.

Here some info:

1)
In November 2009, his weight was 430 grams on average. This weight kept constant until August 2010. Then it declined and on the day of his dead, the 16. September 2010, his weight was 353 grams.

2)
He has eaten all the time. The last intake of a few leaves was two hours before his death.

3)
Since about July 2010, he started to come out of his hide only every second day. This was not a strict rule. Sometimes, he came out every day but never paused more than one day. Once have come out, he was active as normal with at least eating twice and having some walk around.

4)
He died by making about half a dozen loud coughing noises with gaps of about a minute or so.

5)
I will see to post some photos a few hours after his death but he looked fine regarding shell, eyes, nose, etc.
There were no other signs of diseases at all apart from an occasional bleeding, about two or three drops every third day on average from the mysterious hole in the shell (see the other thread please).
After his dead, eyes were clear and half open, the mouth slightly opened.

6)
The last diagnosis made from blood and stool samples end of August revealed "some Coli bacteria" and "a few worms". I distrust those exmainations and I am not sure if those exmaninations have been done at all or have been done properly. (For my reason for that please see another thread, too.)
The results are that vague and general, they may fit on 90% of all tortoises.

One asumption is that he may have died from an excessive amout of worms. The pet shop owner we bought him from, another "reputable one" in the region, but this one I still trust, said that he de-wormed him before selling but later he has not been given any de-wormer anymore.

This is just an idea of mine. I would be happy and grateful if people could add a few other ideas, too.
1.1.0 Eublepharis macularius
0.0.1 Eumeces schneiderii

I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.
Winston Churchill
User avatar
dilbert
SA Reptiles Member
 
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 5:36 am
Location: Yorkshire (UK)

Re: Help with cause of death of our tortoise

Postby Carpetpythons » Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:56 pm

The first thing I thought was worms, most of the horsfields tortoises coming into the UK are wild caught. If it was eating and losing weight at the same time then I would expect it was worms. The only thing with worms are that they need an intermediate host to complete their life cycle! This means that worms can not make more worms without having that intermediate host. It could have had a massive parasite load when you purchased it and follow up worming is necessary to get rid of all the endoparasites. These tortoises are a very hardy species and would not easily contract respiratory disease if a thermal gradient was supplied. It might seem like I am contradicting myself but it has me baffled!
User avatar
Carpetpythons
SA Reptiles Member
 
Posts: 280
Joined: Tue May 05, 2009 10:52 am

Re: Help with cause of death of our tortoise

Postby dilbert » Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:51 pm

Well, I looked this up now. Unfortunately, too late. Basic error was to rely on the vet's advice who never mentioned worms or parasites as a thread and gave some contradictory test results instead.

There is a direct and an indirect worm cycle. So, worms with a direct cycle don't require another host at all.

That is highly likely as we never changed the substrate more then monthly and removed poo only when it was clearly visible as we learned that eating the own poo would be somehow beneficial (what it is presumably apart from the worms issue).

Then, there is the possibility of cats in the garden as a minor possibility of a worm infection (and I couldn't verify this possibility, so far) and finally there are parasites different from worms, some protozoa for example.
1.1.0 Eublepharis macularius
0.0.1 Eumeces schneiderii

I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.
Winston Churchill
User avatar
dilbert
SA Reptiles Member
 
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 5:36 am
Location: Yorkshire (UK)

Re: Help with cause of death of our tortoise

Postby dilbert » Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:12 am

Here are two photos shot about five hours after his death.

[url]http://img844.imageshack.us/i/sunny16sept20102.jpg/][img]http://img844.imag
eshack.us/img844/3264/sunny16sept20102.th.jpg[/img][/url]

[url]http://img844.imageshack.us/i/sunny16sept20102.jpg/][img]http://img844.imag
eshack.us/img844/3264/sunny16sept20102.th.jpg[/img][/url]

:(
1.1.0 Eublepharis macularius
0.0.1 Eumeces schneiderii

I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.
Winston Churchill
User avatar
dilbert
SA Reptiles Member
 
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 5:36 am
Location: Yorkshire (UK)

Re: Help with cause of death of our tortoise

Postby dilbert » Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:29 am

Image

Image
1.1.0 Eublepharis macularius
0.0.1 Eumeces schneiderii

I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.
Winston Churchill
User avatar
dilbert
SA Reptiles Member
 
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 5:36 am
Location: Yorkshire (UK)

Re: Help with cause of death of our tortoise

Postby dilbert » Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:43 am

Image
1.1.0 Eublepharis macularius
0.0.1 Eumeces schneiderii

I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.
Winston Churchill
User avatar
dilbert
SA Reptiles Member
 
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 5:36 am
Location: Yorkshire (UK)


Return to Reptile Hospital

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron