It’s official – I’m a paranoid RES owner.
The title should have been: “DUMBORK’S DEATH”, but miraculously, he’s fighting the evil turtle spirits.
Here’s the story:
Two days ago, I noticed that his poop is runny. I tried the jello shots that day, so I thought that his body is not acclimating to the pureed veggies and stuff. I stopped the jello shots temporarily.
-notice the dark splotches on his green mat. that’s the poop.
But after I switched back again to the pellets, his stool is still runny. So I thought, what’s the problem now? I monitored his behavior for 10 minutes.
Next I started noticing his eyes. It became slightly swollen, the irises of two eyes are not the same size, and he keeps scratching and scratching them. I took a video featuring his eyes.
-abnormal behavior – sleeping on the bottom of the tank. he never sleeps there. he’s always on the ramp.
-normal sleeping behavior
But then, last night, after the water change, he started swimming on his side, the left side higher than the right side. Also, he can’t sink to the bottom, he would struggle to dive but then gives up. Again, being a paranoid res owner, I took a video.
-the vet says there’s definitely signs of listing and difficulty to sink to the bottom. he managed okay in the last part.
I also kept updating my sister about his condition (my sister was the original owner, she temporarily gave “custody rights” to me because she’s attending school).
And then things started to get worse.
By 10:15, he went up to the ATBA — AND NEVER CAME DOWN. There is no light (UVB and heat both off), water temp at 83F (without heater). I kept talking to him but he would not change his position. I did not pick him up to be placed back in the tank, because I already know there’s something wrong, and I also know that handling a sick turtle can be very stressful. I texted a vet and asked him if it is normal for a turtle to not sleep in water. I waited for his reply, but none came. It was around 11:30.
I didn’t sleep peacefully. I kept tossing and turning.
By 1 am, I woke up to check on him. HE APPEARED DEAD — not moving, not breathing, his head drooping, on the edge of the ATBA. NO MOVEMENT AT ALL. My mother, who was sleeping beside me, became awake at my anguished cry. “PATAY NA SI DUMBORK!” (Dumbork’s dead). We decided not to open the light and to deal with it in the morning.
Again, I closed my eyes and thought of the different scenarios in the morning; dead, not dead, weak, rotting. If Dumbork’s dead, my first question will be, “how will I tell my sister?”. If he’s weak, another vet visit should be done immediately. I cannot bear the thought of holding his lifeless body in my hands, knowing that one way or another, I was the cause of his death. You see, I never had any pet before. Dumbork was my first.
By 4 am, my mother and I again checked on him. Still no movement, but my mom was convinced that he has moved positions. I told her not to open the lights because I don’t want to face the inevitable. Different scenarios flitted in my mind, but this time I have to face it – scenarios after death. If he’s really dead, I would take him to the vet anyway and request for an autopsy, or at least, a medical examination, to check the causes of death. Next I have to plan the funeral. When, where, and how to bury him. Should I wait for my sister to see him first, or should I just do it and get it over with? Lastly, my heartbreak. Can I deal with this loss? It will be my first time to lose someone I really cared about, someone who already had a place in my heart.
By 5:30 am, I braced myself. At first, I used a flashlight from my phone. I was shocked – ECSTATIC, when his head moved. I was bracing for the worst. But it is not yet the ending.
He cannot open his eyes. I cradled him with both hands and I started shaking. All I can think of is “thank god, thank god”. I called my mom in panic. I set him in a clear plastic container and partly filled it with water. He started to open his right eye. After a few seconds, both his eyes are now open.
I corresponded with a vet, who replied at 5:19am. I became panicky, I’m sure the vet was disrupted in his sleep by the shrill of his phone. I asked questions: what to do? Is it okay to put him in water, should I use the UVB and heat lamp, should I feed him, and how many pellets? The vet was very accommodating. He answered my questions patiently. He instructed me to turn on both lights, put him in a container with shallow water and observe his behavior. I got electrocuted when I tried to open the lights; my hands are shaking so much. At first I was hesitant to feed him, but he gobbled it right up! I was so happy.
I prepped him for the vet visit. The vet hospital will be open at 8am, we were there by 7:30. I placed him in a plastic container with lid and air holes and lined it with newspapers and soft towels. I packed a 1- liter water container (for him to drink), his pellets, extra newspaper, and a timeline of activities/behavior since July.
-vet hospital, University of the Philippines
while waiting, i put him under the rays of the sun.
By 9:00 am, his name was called. We already had a record because we want him to be checked out last Summer, but the wildlife vet, Dr. Lopez, was not there. Fortunately, Dr. Lester arrived and we are his first patients.
-waiting for our turn
We went to the examination room 2 and placed Dumbork on the table. I played the video of Dumbork listing and swimming to the side. I also asked the thing on his shell, whether it is shedding or fungus. I also I also mentioned the irritated eyes. An X-ray of Dumbork is requested, a supine and a lateral. Here is the diagnosis:
-slight pyramiding due to lack of/insufficient vitamin D3
-irritated eyes as the result of RI
-no unprocessed foods in the intestines, constipation as the result of RI
I put some water in the container so that he can drink and rehydrate. After some minutes, I dried him off. We paid the bill (Php 500.00 or 11 US$) for the consultation and x-ray. The vet also prescribed some medicine, a mixture of Baytril and other solutions, but he want to measure it first. I will return to the hospital later.
-waiting for the x-ray result. dumbork’s getting impatient!
This is a terrible ordeal for me. That feeling knowing that your turtle is already dead, when he’s really just sick. Good thing I knew the basic signs of RI and did not leave everything to chance.
Please pray for the recovery of Dumbork. I’d be heartbroken if I lose him.
By the way, just found out that Dumbork is a girl.
x-ray and other documents to follow.
(Proud and Paranoid RES Owner)