The best offense is a good defense when it comes to caring for your Horsefields health. The fundamental bases to cover are buying captive-bred, adequate heat, hydration and correct variety of food. Horsefield tortoises need a slightly higher temperature to improve recovery from health issues such as shell/skin injuries or viruses, increase the temperature a few degrees in these situation.
Though even the most meticulous owners can run into problems so this chapter will cover the most commonly occurring issues. Find and get acquainted with a veterinarian in your area before any problems arise so that you act fast.
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Always wash your hands with antibacterial soap in warm water before and after handling your tortoise. This benefits both you and your pet.
The beak and nails can grow too long and need to be trimmed. This is usually do to soft substrates so to combat this you can provide a rougher substrate and furnish with rocks for him to crawl on as well as a flat rock to serve his food on. It could also be from too many soft foods or a form of Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) that is an imbalance of calcium and phosphorus in their diet. These approaches can prevent the problem. You can use an emery board or nail file to trim down his beak and nails. The more you consistently hold him the more comfortable he will be to let you trim him. File in the direction that his nails are growing.
Depending on what your pet’s specific cause is, you can put a solid cuttlebone in the housing, serve more chewable greens/plants and harder vegetables like carrots.
In more extreme cases you can use dog or bird nail trimmers. Make sure not to cut too far by holding the nail up to the light to see their vein. Also be cautious of his beak because you can damage it if not cut properly. If the nails or beak are beyond your care, have your veterinarian do the trimming. If it is beyond a simple light sanding down of the beak or nails you should seek a professional veterinarian.
A soft shell happens to newborn tortoises when they do not get the calcium and UVB light needed. This is a serious problem and can set them up for failure for the rest of their life. To fix this, feed an adequate amount of calcium (in supplement form if needed) and the correct UVB lighting. Indoor housing can be cause of insufficient UVB. The best heat and lighting is outdoors so bring your pet outside as much as possible even if you can’t permanently house outside and have the correct UVB lighting for indoors.
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This is when the scutes on the shell form bump like pyramids. It is a controversy over what causes this. Previously, many said it was due to feeding too much protein and overfeeding.
Now, more solid theory’s blame incorrect heat and hydration. Either way, it is from inadequate care from the tortoises owner. The most sensitive time for shell development is early in life within the first few years. One secret is make sure that the eggs are in a moist place, not too dry but not too wet. Pyramiding cannot be fixed but you can prevent it. If you provide all the necessary care this will not happened to your tortoise. The actual pyramiding of the shell (not the nutritional deficiencies) will not harm your tortoise and don’t pose major concerns.
Scutes that are oddly formed or split are a result of incubation temperatures that are too high. Splitting of a scute is more common in females. The good news is that there are no discomfort or health issues associated with this, though it should be avoided and correct incubation settings need to be in place.