Illnesses of Red Eared Sliders

Whether the cost of your Red eared Slider was small or large, you should try to provide the best care that you can give the turtle. When providing it with a suitable aquarium, cleanliness, healthy diet, and a warm stress free environment you can minimize a huge potential of health problems they can develop. As you would with any other pet, find a veterinarian who is qualified to offer care and treatment of a chelonian. From reading literature and from personal experience, here is some of the common illnesses and medications which you can use if your chelonian becomes ill. Feel free to bookmark this page or print some copies for further reference.

Fungal Infections: Red Eared Sliders and other turtles can develop fuzzy gray and white patches that are fungal growths. One of the major causes of this is poor water quality and a improper basking area. Make sure you have a good full spectrum or UVB Light bulb and heat lamp that gives off some good heat. Turtles need this for the prevention of fungal infections. Another important thing is a basking area. Your Red Eared Slider Will need some sort of land mass to completely dry itself to prevent shell problems and respiratory infections.

Treatment: ACRIFLAVAN, is available at most pet stores and will often eradicate fungal infections when it’s added to water. I also recommend Hagen Sulfa bath and Betadine. If you choose to use Betadine, apply a small amount to a toothbrush and scrub the turtles shell. Once the Betadine is covering the infected areas, let it stay on in a dry area for 20 minutes. Repeat this process twice daily for 2 weeks. Make sure you do not get it in the turtles eye’s. If this happens, please rinse the res ASAP.

Obesity: This is very dangerous to turtle and should be monitored very carefully. Obesity in turtles can cause the functions of liver and other organs to become impaired.

Treatment: Correct the diet in both quality and quantity should fix it.

[snip left2][/snip]Swollen Eyelids and skin peeling: Vitamin A deficiency causes swollen eyelids which can result in vision problems as well as flaking of skin, and bloody skin patches. I also noticed that chlorine can also cause swollen eyes. Try to dechloranate the water if you do a water change to prevent this. There are a number of reasons for a turtle’s eyes to swell, some of which aren’t directly related to the eyes. Some of the most common reasons for infections in the eyes are poor water quality, claws from other turtles and vitamin A deficiency. Bacteria is another cause for this these types of eye problems. This is when you need to check on the diet you are feeding your turtle. Even though you may be feeding what they would normally get in the wild, there may still be some problems. Like with all other animals, there are those that have problems ni some ways no matter what. If a vitamin A problem is the cause, then the vet can easily give injections of Injacom, which is Vitamin A & D. After a regiment of Injacom, things should be back to normal in a week or so. If not, then you need to consider other possibilities for the cause. Shedding is a normal part of being a reptile…except for turtles. Turtles will readily shed scutes, but their skin is a bit different. Their skin comes off in such small and fine quantities, it is difficult to see them actually shedding. Most times when a turtle sheds excessively, it is a sign of over-feeding, water temperatures being too warm, poor water quality, a skin condition, or other infection in the body. A normal “shedding” activity for some species of turtles, is to bite at their legs, peeling off small layers of skin.

Respiratory Infections: I’ve ran into many of these problems when I was an inexperienced keeper. Fortunately I was smart enough to go to the vet and read up on these problems. Here are some symptoms I have run into: Clogged and runny nostrils, listing, gasping with the mouth open and wheezing, swollen eyes, excessive mucus in the nose and mouth and bubbling at the nose and mouth. These problems indicate serious respiratory issues. I can explain easier like this. You the keeper catch a cold. Your to lazy to get some drugs so you ignore it. 2 weeks later it turns into pneumonia. You have 2 choices – get meds or die. It’s the same thing with turtles. Antibiotic treatment is mandatory but may differ on which problem it has.

Prolapse: Well this thing scared the hell out of me if you must know. It’s basically the turtle intestine coming out of it’s anus! It usually go’s back right in but you have to be very careful that it does not bite it or other turtles do not bite it. If they do it can cause serious damage. If the prolapse does not go back in, take it to the vet and they can stitch it up so it doesn’t happen again…….Man that freaks me out when it happens.

Aggression: Some turtles are very aggressive and territorial. I introduced a large male slider to my tank with my other male and female and things were fine, I thought. 1 week later the 2 males were fighting constantly. The smaller male took a good bite to the neck and I am still trying to heal the wound. My advice is to separate the 2 ASAP. If you don’t, you might have a dead turtle. Notice the bite wound on my male res. This is a direct result of aggresion. The picture to the right is a wound caused by a submersable heater. I suggest heat guards in turtle aquariums.

Shell Wounds: My female slider took a fall out of the tank and lost a chunk of it’s shell. As you see from the picture, it has healed well and is still healing. You must take the proper steps to prevent shell-rot , shell fungus and other bacteria from taking advantage of this wound. I recommend Herp care skin and shell treatment and very very clean water! You will notice with a wound like this, your red-eared slider will also bask allot. This helps the healing of the shell. DO NOT pick at the shell or brush it with anything! this will cause slower healing.

Ear Abscess: Usually, this is nothing more than a simple trip to the vet, though some have done it at home. The typical reason for this is water quality in aquatics and humidity and temperature conditions in terrestrial species. Most times, the vet will place the turtle under anesthesia and make a simple incision along the lump. Then he/she will remove the hard clump-like material and then flush with a Nolvasan solution. Follow up should be kept separate from other turtles and housed in a tank with clean water for a few days. After that, all should be back to normal.
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