Keeping a turtle as a pet is a big responsibility. Many think that just because the turtle doesn’t seem to be as active as other pets, they should not need that much care. However, this is not the case. A turtle can be very susceptible to disease and sickness, just like any other animal, if not cared for properly. You should also find a qualified reptile veterinarian in your area.
Should you need to get medical attention for your turtle, and should you have a question about suspicious activity or appearance? You must seek the help of a qualified reptile vet; your local pet store may not have enough experience in dealing with reptiles’ health problems. It is best to seek the care and advice of a qualified vet simply because these diseases or problems cannot usually be cared for with over the counter medicines and sometimes will require the turtle to be rehabilitated under the vets care.
One of the most common problems that show up in a vet’s office is malnutrition. Your turtle must receive the nutrients it gets from a balanced diet. For instance, a turtle lacking vitamin A can develop abscessed areas, usually in the ears. If a turtle does not receive enough calcium, it can have an enormous amount of problems. This is why it is crucial to have a proper UV lamp in the tank with an indoor turtle. Also, be sure to replace the bulb after about six months when they lose their effectiveness. You can even get a black sharpy marker and write the date of purchase on the light so that you know when to replace it.
It will help if you take your turtle to the vet for an annual exam. During this exam, your vet can examine the overall health of your turtle and review with you its environment and eating habits. It is not uncommon for a vet to work with you on a change of diet or a little adjustment in their living area. Additionally, your vet may take a stool sample to check for parasites and may give your turtle a de-wormer.
Some symptoms to look out for can include:
Swollen or goopy eyes: This can be a sign of a lack of vitamins found in a balanced diet. This is a severe problem for your turtle and should not be ignored. Antibiotics can only treat these problems, and if you do not treat it, your turtle will die. This will not go away on its own. You should seek the care of a veterinarian at the first sign of this problem.
Fungus: This is sometimes caused when a wound has been left untreated. It will look white or grayish and a little gooey. Most of the time, the fungus can be treated with salt being added to the tank (1/4 cup per 5 gallons), or even an over the counter powder available at some pet stores. If the problem persists, seek the help of a qualified vet. Baby turtles sometimes look like they have a fungus, but they are often the skin shedding. This does often happens in a turtle first year.
Respiratory infection: This is also common for turtles to get if the water is not cleaned or if they are not in a proper environment. The symptoms of respiratory infection are breathing with their mouth open, bubbles coming out of their nose, making a wheezing sound, and often breathing with their necks stretched out. Although this disease is often treatable, gone untreated can lead to more problems and eventually death. Your vet can often give you an antibiotic to provide them with at home, and it should not return if the environment is ideal for the turtle.