Timothy has MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease).... which is a broad spectrum of disorders caused by abnormalities of minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium or vitamin D (via diet & environment) leading to dramatic clinical disorders that are commonly reversible once the underlying defect has been treated. This condition is similar to Osteoporosis in humans. In Timothy's case, his back legs were so weak, that he could barely use them & had extreme difficulty getting around. Most of the time he would not move at all.
We have many tortoises at "Erin's Farm" that have shell abnormalities, but since they have now been eating a more suitable diet & have been exposed to natural sunlight & vitamin D3 for 10-12 hours a day they have improved dramatically.
Timothy however, is the largest African Spur Thigh Tortoise that we have weighing in at over 65lbs. He just didn't have the strength to pull his heavy body around with his weakened legs & back.
My mother, Ellen McCabe Yanz.... who is extremely crafty & talented, felt for Timothy. Her heart broke.. as did everyones, thinking about the enrichment & exploration that he would be missing out on. She immediately measured his shell & within a week had designed and build a "tortie cart" for Timothy.
At first he seemed to be confused as the cart lifted him a few extra inches higher & he just sat in his shell. But soon he began to peek out & explore. Eventually he stretched his weak back legs out farther than he has been able to in years. Now Timothy scoots all over the reptile room! He loves exploring & using his new found mobility.
The Natures Creatures Reptile Vet, Dr. Gordon Smok of Sanford-Brown and U.S.D.A., FL keeps in contact with us about his slow progress. Hopefully by next summer, he'll be scooting around the tortoise paddock just as fast as everyone else!