Monitoring the Waking of Tortoise from Hibernation

It is important that your Tortoise returns to eating quickly after waking from hibernation. The following guidance notes will hopefully help to limit problems during this time and indicate when Veterinary assistance is required.

  • Provide warm water bathes to promote drinking and urination. They need about 10 minutes in the water time.
  • Most start to eat within 24-48 hours of waking but if not by 7 days then Veterinary attention is required.
  • Weigh your Tortoise when it wakes as this allows an assessment of hibernation weight loss which is around 1-2% per month in hibernation.
  • Weight your Tortoise prior to hibernation as weight should have been maintained if not increased during the summer months.

Veterinary Care of the Anorexic Tortoise

Once at the surgery various tests are available for investigation of the Tortoise:

  • Clinical examination and history
  • Blood tests and faecal examination
  • X-rays
  • Ultrasound

Treatment is directed at treating any underlying disease process found during examination or tests. General supportive measures though include regular bathing to promote drinking along with urination and defecation. If voluntary intake of fluid or food is not occurring then oral fluids via a stomach tube and force feeding is the next stage. If the mouth is
diseased and part of the reason for the anorexia then a feeding tube maybe required as in the picture to the left. It is worth mentioning that treatment duration can extend to many weeks or even months on occasion.