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Shell Damage on rescued Russian Tortoise?

Shell Damage on rescued Russian Tortoise? Topic: Shell Damage on rescued Russian Tortoise?
June 20, 2019 / By Sharalyn
Question: I rescued a Russian Tortoise from some people today that no longer wanted it and was noticing it has miner shell damage but nothing bad. there are miner shell chippings in his shell by his back leg but it is very miner. Is there anything that can be done to get his shell to go back to normal or will that part not grow back?
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Best Answers: Shell Damage on rescued Russian Tortoise?

Orlenda Orlenda | 4 days ago
I'm linking an article for you from the tortoise trust website - that's where the real serious professionals go for their info, if you can get past some of the technical terms (better yet get to know and understand them) there is a reference page for vets as well that addresses this issue. http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/sh... hard to tell from your post if the chippings are on the outer edge of the scute or actually in the center of a marginal scute, if on the outer edge chances are this is due to outside damage/breakage, if an actual pitting type chip MBD is suspect. As to an actual answer/plan for your question: Depends on a number of factors, cause, underlying health and nutrition, age of the damage and most important of all avoidance of secondary damage. Kudos to you in taking over for this tortoise, you've clearly done the most important aspect already - improved quality of care/devotion by keeper. Next up, inspect for infection If the chipped/pitted areas are hard to the touch, no foul odor and contain no debris then most likely they are not actively infected, probably old shell damage which means you can move on to supportive care, if any of those symptoms are present a vet visit is needed as the infection can spread. Supportive care for all shell issues: Keeping the appropriate conditions for this tortoise is the most important and helpful thing you can do Check out this site http://www.russiantortoise.org MBD - Metabolic Bone Disease often first shows symptoms in shell issues in tortoises, ensuring that this tortoise gets all of the nutrition, supplements and extra calcium it needs are your best means of reversing the shell damage to the extent possible - the links I posted will give you more info on the best ways to do this. Lastly - to the well meaning person who suggested vitashell (this applies to any of the so called shell conditioning ointments as well) NO! here's a copy of my reply to someone who recently posted asking about another brand of 'shell conditioner' So I looked up the product as I haven't used it myself before. It seems to be a take off from the Tetrafauna Vitashell that Experienced keepers like myself have argued against for years. Here's a list of ingredients from their product profile: Active Ingredients: Alpha Hydroxy Acid, Panthenol, Apricot Kernel Oil, Lecithin, Glycery Stearate, Sunflower Seed Oil, Jojoba Oil, Allantoin, Aloe Vera gel, Sorbic Acid. Sounds like it would be a great moisturizer for a mammal. There is a misconception that turtles have dry skin or shells that require moisture in the form of lotions or creams and this is not so. Turtles like other reptiles shed their skin and even the scutes from their shells in layers over time. Using these types of products may make things look better to you for a short while but they are bad for the turtle. The oil and moisture ingredients that supposedly 'save' the shell can actually occlude the skin and shell, clogging things up and lead to bacterial or more likely fungal infections and rot. The constant shedding process is natural in reptiles, including turtles, and this type of product can interfere with that and cause long term health problems. If you are concerned for the shell health of a turtle the best thing you can do for it is to optimize it's diet and provide it with a good quality habitat. If you meet all of the turtles needs in captive care you will find that those products no longer seem worthwhile and are completely unnecessary. There are some archived discussions on shell products like these that you may be interested in at www.turtleforum.com - some keepers detail some of the problems associated with such use on a variety of turtles. While russians and other tortoises do not shed scutes in the fashion of aquatic turtles, the information still applies - perhaps even more so - occlusive ointments aren't appropriate with the possible exception of certain RX medications which aren't applied to the entire shell and which are applied and removed differently - just say no to cosmetics on turtles/tortoises :) Once again kudos to you on the rescue, those 2 sites should get you all of the correct info you need to care for this tort well for years to come.
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Orlenda Originally Answered: Shell Damage on rescued Russian Tortoise?
I'm linking an article for you from the tortoise trust website - that's where the real serious professionals go for their info, if you can get past some of the technical terms (better yet get to know and understand them) there is a reference page for vets as well that addresses this issue. http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/sh... hard to tell from your post if the chippings are on the outer edge of the scute or actually in the center of a marginal scute, if on the outer edge chances are this is due to outside damage/breakage, if an actual pitting type chip MBD is suspect. As to an actual answer/plan for your question: Depends on a number of factors, cause, underlying health and nutrition, age of the damage and most important of all avoidance of secondary damage. Kudos to you in taking over for this tortoise, you've clearly done the most important aspect already - improved quality of care/devotion by keeper. Next up, inspect for infection If the chipped/pitted areas are hard to the touch, no foul odor and contain no debris then most likely they are not actively infected, probably old shell damage which means you can move on to supportive care, if any of those symptoms are present a vet visit is needed as the infection can spread. Supportive care for all shell issues: Keeping the appropriate conditions for this tortoise is the most important and helpful thing you can do Check out this site http://www.russiantortoise.org MBD - Metabolic Bone Disease often first shows symptoms in shell issues in tortoises, ensuring that this tortoise gets all of the nutrition, supplements and extra calcium it needs are your best means of reversing the shell damage to the extent possible - the links I posted will give you more info on the best ways to do this. Lastly - to the well meaning person who suggested vitashell (this applies to any of the so called shell conditioning ointments as well) NO! here's a copy of my reply to someone who recently posted asking about another brand of 'shell conditioner' So I looked up the product as I haven't used it myself before. It seems to be a take off from the Tetrafauna Vitashell that Experienced keepers like myself have argued against for years. Here's a list of ingredients from their product profile: Active Ingredients: Alpha Hydroxy Acid, Panthenol, Apricot Kernel Oil, Lecithin, Glycery Stearate, Sunflower Seed Oil, Jojoba Oil, Allantoin, Aloe Vera gel, Sorbic Acid. Sounds like it would be a great moisturizer for a mammal. There is a misconception that turtles have dry skin or shells that require moisture in the form of lotions or creams and this is not so. Turtles like other reptiles shed their skin and even the scutes from their shells in layers over time. Using these types of products may make things look better to you for a short while but they are bad for the turtle. The oil and moisture ingredients that supposedly 'save' the shell can actually occlude the skin and shell, clogging things up and lead to bacterial or more likely fungal infections and rot. The constant shedding process is natural in reptiles, including turtles, and this type of product can interfere with that and cause long term health problems. If you are concerned for the shell health of a turtle the best thing you can do for it is to optimize it's diet and provide it with a good quality habitat. If you meet all of the turtles needs in captive care you will find that those products no longer seem worthwhile and are completely unnecessary. There are some archived discussions on shell products like these that you may be interested in at www.turtleforum.com - some keepers detail some of the problems associated with such use on a variety of turtles. While russians and other tortoises do not shed scutes in the fashion of aquatic turtles, the information still applies - perhaps even more so - occlusive ointments aren't appropriate with the possible exception of certain RX medications which aren't applied to the entire shell and which are applied and removed differently - just say no to cosmetics on turtles/tortoises :) Once again kudos to you on the rescue, those 2 sites should get you all of the correct info you need to care for this tort well for years to come.

Malandra Malandra
My daughter and I rescued a Greek tortoise years ago that had a similar problem. My daughter volunteers at a local reptile rescue center the owner suggested a cream called Vita-Shell that you can get at most pet stores. It worked wonders..the chips never grew back, but they looked a lot better and his shell really brightened up and even got more colorful. We currently have 2 rescued box turtles..one had minor shell damage and the other was fine. I use the Vita -Shell on them and it helps..even for the one with no damage. It's just kind of a preventive and shines their shells.
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Kilie Kilie
Probably not. Just watch it for awhile to make sure the tortoise doesn't seem uncomfortable or in pain.
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Jane Jane
I know this isn't an answer, but I'd love to see a pic. of your cute tortoise! Poor thing. I hope he gets better.
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Jane Originally Answered: My Russian Tortoise keeps trying to escape?
He's not lonely and he's not trying to escape...tortoises simply don't understand the concept of glass! You need to block that front wall, otherwise (as you've seen) he will just spend all his time trying to walk through the glass. This stresses him out immensely. If you block up the glass front he will be a happy tortoise and behave naturally, it's just that at the moment he doesn't understand why he can't walk that way when he really wants to! Also, if it's a glass tank / vivarium you keep him in you may want to reconsider to housing him in a 'tortoise table' or a plastic based rabbit / guinea pig cage. Glass aquariums aren't good at regulating the temperature and can also cause respiratory problems. You can read more about why they aren't good or idea housing on the tortoise trust's website. This is also a great website for finding out which plants are safe and which are toxic to feed to a tortoise. As Russian tortoises should be fed purely on a diet of weeds, this website certainly comes in very useful for me! http://www.thetortoisetable.org.uk/site/... Hope this helps :)

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