Urgent Care :: Undigested Food, Lack of Appetite, and Throat Swelling

This is not a substitute for qualified and relevant veterinarian care.
Read this before you post a new topic here.

Post Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:48 pm   Undigested Food, Lack of Appetite, and Throat Swelling

Hi all,

My turtle will be 27 at September's end and I've had her all this time, so I'm quite familiar with her personality and behaviour. She's usually very energetic, active, aggressive, and ravenous. She also has eggs again this season and has been passing them, laying about four or five this summer as far as I can tell. The last egg she laid was sometime on Fri. Jul. 6th.

This past Thurs. Jul. 12th, I noticed an odd dropping in her aquarium that morning. Instead of the normal look, parts of it looked like undigested meat (I feed her live feeder goldfish and earth worms as part of her diet). She oft eats her droppings before I can get to them, and it's not uncommon for her to regurgitate them up. She'll swell her throat, and after a second, her eaten poop pops out again, at which point she immediately devours it again. When I noticed this odd dropping on Thursday morn, she was swelling her throat and I didn't think much of it. I went to work and came home to find her basking on her raft, also pretty normal, though her poop was still there, untouched. Not normal for her.

When I began setting up to feed her (I feed her in a separate aquarium to keep her primary living environment cleaner), she wasn't taking any interest at all, which is a bit odd. She knows the set up process and normally gets very excited. I placed her in her little feeding aquarium, and started feeding her, and she wasn't hungry. She did pick at bit at her live food and ultimately ate it, but kept spitting it up.

So something's up, as the day before she was her usual ravenous self.

Yesterday she ate a little of her pellets, and again slowly ate the live food, but had trouble getting it down. She seemed more active as well, which was good.

Today I cleaned her aquarium, doing a full water change, and there was a good bit of what appeared to be undigested worm or fish scattered about. I removed it all both by siphon or by hand. When I went to feed her, she wouldn't touch anything. No live food, nothing. She did poop though, and this time it looked normal. When I put her back in her freshly cleaned aquarium, she started swelling her throat and either trying to expel something, or perhaps trying to swallow something.

She seems to be breathing normally, I've detected no difference there, so I don't think it's a respiratory issue. Since she's been passing her eggs, I don't think she's egg bound. She's still swimming and moving around, as well as climbing off and on her raft (and basking), so I don't think she's had an egg break inside her, but I'm honestly not 100% sure what's wrong.

I'm concerned, but not panicked yet. Right now my game plan is to give it a few more days, and if she's not improving I'll take her to my vet.

I'm posting to see if anyone might be able to help and e-diagnose what's wrong with her. Right now I suspect she either has some kind of blockage, or, given the several pieces of undigested food I found, perhaps ate something that didn't agree with her and she's stomach sick. I do have gravel in her aquarium, but it's all large and not able to fit in her mouth. While not impossible, I don't expect she's eaten any of it.

Thanks. Apologies if the above is a little disjointed.
--
Juxtapose13

"Outstanding. Now all we need is a deck of cards." Cpl. Hicks, Aliens.
User avatar
Juxtapose13
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Dec 28, 2010
Location: Pickering, Ontario, Canada
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:29 am   Re: Undigested Food, Lack of Appetite, and Throat Swelling

Hi all,

Sorry, my original post above is rather disjointed and rambles on. Friday and yesterday were long days and I was mentally exhausted when typing it out. Let me do so again in a more proper and concise fashion:

My turtle took ill on Thursday. I noticed she had done an odd dropping with undigested worm or fish and she seemed to be retching; puffing her throat and trying to expel something. She has eggs again this season and has been passing them, and her energy has been quite frantic as a result and her appetite has been its normal, ravenous self.

Last Thursday night her appetite completely dropped. She's either not eating at all or only picking at her live food, eating some of it but having trouble swallowing it down. Her diet normally consists of pellets, live feeder gold fish, and live earth worms.

Her energy level has severally dropped as well. She's not lethargic, she'll still swim around, come and see me, show a bit of curiosity, etc., but it's significantly more passive and subdued. Thus far there has been no mucus, puss, or blood, and as of yesterday her droppings have returned to normal (which is a good sign). She has occasionally vomited up _very_ small bits of undigested meat though. I've seen this happen twice now (both yesterday). She also seems to have no issue breathing and she is not wheezing.

I'm not 100% sure what's wrong with her, but something is up. Whether she's eaten something that's given her a stomach bug/sick stomach, or whether something more serious is going on, I'm not sure. I'm going to call my vet tomorrow, who's closed today, and I expect an appointment later this week, but until then, does anyone have any suspicions on what this could be, and is there anything additional I should do or keep an eye on? I do have stones in my aquarium, but they're large and she can't eat them, though of course a blockage is possible.

I wasn't going to try feeding her again until she asks for it, since I know turtles can go a long time without food if needed; I don't want to force her.

Thanks.
--
Juxtapose13

"Outstanding. Now all we need is a deck of cards." Cpl. Hicks, Aliens.
User avatar
Juxtapose13
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Dec 28, 2010
Location: Pickering, Ontario, Canada
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 2:49 pm   Re: Undigested Food, Lack of Appetite, and Throat Swelling

It does sound like some blockage, is there anything in the tank that she could have eaten? Considering her age and how well you know her behaviors, I would have her seen by her vet.

Usually where there are eating issues, I stick with a light and simple feeding routine in tank until it's spoted out.
User avatar
steve
Site Admin
 
Posts: 29911
Joined: Apr 11, 2005
Location: New York, NY
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 5:57 pm   Re: Undigested Food, Lack of Appetite, and Throat Swelling

steve wrote:It does sound like some blockage, is there anything in the tank that she could have eaten? Considering her age and how well you know her behaviors, I would have her seen by her vet.

Usually where there are eating issues, I stick with a light and simple feeding routine in tank until it's spoted out.


Thanks for the reply Steve. The only two things I can think of are: she was able to successfully eat one of the stones, despite their size, or perhaps when I feed her a worm on Wednesday night, there was a wood chip I hadn't noticed mixed in with the dirt/worm. I've caught the odd one before.

I'm going to be calling my vet tomorrow to set up an appointment. I suspect it'll be for Thursday, though if they can swing a Tuesday appointment I'll do that.
--
Juxtapose13

"Outstanding. Now all we need is a deck of cards." Cpl. Hicks, Aliens.
User avatar
Juxtapose13
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Dec 28, 2010
Location: Pickering, Ontario, Canada
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 3:46 am   Re: Undigested Food, Lack of Appetite, and Throat Swelling

I don't think a small wood chip would be the cause. Hopefully it can be sorted out quickly.
User avatar
steve
Site Admin
 
Posts: 29911
Joined: Apr 11, 2005
Location: New York, NY
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:02 pm   Re: Undigested Food, Lack of Appetite, and Throat Swelling

Hopefully. I have an appointment with the vet tomorrow at 1:00 pm, so I'll let you know!
--
Juxtapose13

"Outstanding. Now all we need is a deck of cards." Cpl. Hicks, Aliens.
User avatar
Juxtapose13
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Dec 28, 2010
Location: Pickering, Ontario, Canada
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 2:13 pm   Re: Undigested Food, Lack of Appetite, and Throat Swelling

Alright, report back with good news!
User avatar
steve
Site Admin
 
Posts: 29911
Joined: Apr 11, 2005
Location: New York, NY
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 5:50 pm   Re: Undigested Food, Lack of Appetite, and Throat Swelling

Sorry for the delay in replying.

So my turtle has indeed eaten a stone, and it appears stuck in her stomach. The vet has told me she may still pass it on her own, or not. If not, the options are surgery or that she'll pass. Surgery here is quite expensive, though I'd do it for my turtle. My concern is the first question I asked my vet is what the prognosis is for recovering from such a surgery, and he told me poor. So at this point, I don't want to put her through something so traumatic that will likely kill her anyway.

The vet wanted to wait a week anyway and see how she does. If she's not eating, I'm to let her sit in low sodium beef broth and tomato juice (not together) so she'll ultimately drink some of it; strictly to try and keep her energy up.

Since there are no laxatives for turtles, I can also try a few drops of vegetable oil (he gave me a syringe) on the underside of her beak while she's upside down. This might "lube" up her system. The danger is if she spits it out at the same time as breathing, it'll go into her lungs. Putting her upside down should help prevent this, he said, but it's not a guarantee.

When I brought her home from the vet I removed all remaining stones, and her appetite did return for a few days. She ate live food and a few pellets, and thus far has kept them down.

Otherwise now, it's a waiting game, and all I can do is care for her as best as I can. I have to update my vet on Tuesday and we'll go from there. I'll likely want to do one additional X-ray to see if the stone has moved at all. If it has, there's hope, if not, then I'll need to see, sadly.
--
Juxtapose13

"Outstanding. Now all we need is a deck of cards." Cpl. Hicks, Aliens.
User avatar
Juxtapose13
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Dec 28, 2010
Location: Pickering, Ontario, Canada
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 3:22 am   Re: Undigested Food, Lack of Appetite, and Throat Swelling

Thanks for the update. Real sorry to hear about the situation. Mineral oil has also been mentioned as a laxative for turtles, but I'm not sure of the success rate.
User avatar
steve
Site Admin
 
Posts: 29911
Joined: Apr 11, 2005
Location: New York, NY
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 3:29 pm   Re: Undigested Food, Lack of Appetite, and Throat Swelling

Thanks Steve. Yeah, the vet originally said mineral oil, but I asked if vegetable oil would also serve, and he said it's the same deal.
--
Juxtapose13

"Outstanding. Now all we need is a deck of cards." Cpl. Hicks, Aliens.
User avatar
Juxtapose13
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Dec 28, 2010
Location: Pickering, Ontario, Canada
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 10:26 pm   Re: Undigested Food, Lack of Appetite, and Throat Swelling

Just remembered that warm water soaks has also been previously mentioned to help with constipation. Maybe add in some Pedialyte so she can get some electrolytes as well.
User avatar
steve
Site Admin
 
Posts: 29911
Joined: Apr 11, 2005
Location: New York, NY
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:11 pm   Re: Undigested Food, Lack of Appetite, and Throat Swelling

Hey all,

I just wanted to update, and let you all know my turtle passed the stone last night!

She's doing well, no blood or anything and she's not showing any signs of discomfort or pain. 4.5 months, but she passed it!
--
Juxtapose13

"Outstanding. Now all we need is a deck of cards." Cpl. Hicks, Aliens.
User avatar
Juxtapose13
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Dec 28, 2010
Location: Pickering, Ontario, Canada
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:38 am   Re: Undigested Food, Lack of Appetite, and Throat Swelling

Wow, glad to hear it. Hopefully you spoil her with some treats :)
User avatar
steve
Site Admin
 
Posts: 29911
Joined: Apr 11, 2005
Location: New York, NY
Gender: Male


Return to Urgent Care

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests