first thing: I am definitely not a vet or any sort of expert. I do a lot of reading about tortoises and turtles and try and learn from other people. Just ya know, so we all know this. I’m a mailing list with some really knowledgable people and they refer me to some great websites with information distributed by people who run rescues for these animals.
That being said, this happened to Zoya. She was squeaking for two days and I panicked. MAJORLY freaked. Seems she just got some substrate caught in her throat. luckily some good soaks and it was cleared up. I find it odd that your vet said he had a stuffy nose. From what I’ve been told mucus coming from the nose and open mouth breathing or wheezing are signs of respiratory issues, which is a pretty big deal. But again, I’m not a vet.
So, First thing i’d say is make sure your vet has experience with exotics (tortoises in particular). If not, find one. They are out there in every state.
Second, you definitely need a UVB lamp. They are vital to their ability to metabolize calcium. Powersun has the most consistant bulbs according to most of the sites I’ve read. The UVB bulb is a UVB/UVA combo bulb. Its heat and UVB. They are pricey but its really important to have this so their shells don’t start pyramiding.
I checked some sites and just like for Russian torts, the best substrate seems to be a combo of coconut coir (they sell them in bricks for pretty cheap, you ad water and it expands) and Play sand. mix that up and it’ll help keep moisture in and be healthier.
Most important thing I can say? Read the site bellow.
This site http://africantortoise.com/ is run by people that know what they’re talking about. I would absolutely read all the advice here. They have a list of food you can get at the grocery store and stuff you can grow yourself there. I have learned more than I can say from these folks (though for russian tortoises not sulcatas) but can say that their advice has helped me get Zoya on a healthy diet/home/etc.
There’s an article on the site that talks about raising in northern climates. Might have some helpful advice for you. You can find that here: http://africantortoise.com/leopard_tortoise_care_in_the_north.htm