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FAQs About Red Ear Slider (RES) Turtle Disease/Health 10

Related Articles: Treating Common Illnesses of the Red Ear Slider (& other Emydid Turtles) by Darrel Barton,
Turtle eye diseases; Recognising and treating eye diseases in pet turtles by Neale Monks, So your turtle has the Flu? Recognising and treating respiratory infections in pet turtles by Neale Monks,
The Care and Keeping of the Red Eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans by Darrel Barton,
Red Ear Sliders, Turtles, AmphibiansRed Eared Slider CareShell Rot in Turtles,

FAQs on RES Health RES Disease, RES Disease/Health 2, RES Disease 3, RES Health 4, RES Health 5, RES Health 6, RES Health 7, RES Health 8, RES Health 9, RES Health 11, RES Health 12, RES Health 13, & Shell Rot, Turtle Disease 1, Turtle Disease 3, Shell Rot, Turtle Respiratory Disease, Turtle Eye Disease,

FAQs on RES Health by Type: Diagnosis, Environmental, Traumas, Social, Nutritional, Growths/Tumors, Infectious, Parasitic, References,

& Sliders 1, Sliders 2, Red Eared Slider Identification, RES Behavior, RES Compatibility, RES Selection, RES Systems, RES Feeding, RES Reproduction,

Question about Red Eared Slider      10/29/12
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a pair of 13-year old Red Eared Sliders which some friends gave to me recently. The pair are in a large backyard pond, and the male has a fleshy blob of flesh sticking out just in front of his left, rear leg. The lump is about the size of a golf ball. I have included a couple of photos, one of which also shows the female. Any ideas about this lump?
<First off, based on size and looks, I'd say that's a female.>
<Those lumps are usually cysts, which would be hard to the touch but can occasionally be a prolapse of the intestines. At the size indicated, I'd say it's too big for home treatment and this turtle requires a trip to the vet for close-up examination and treatment.> 

Sick baby red eared slider    10/13/12
<Hi Abby, Sue here with you.>
I bought three baby red eared slider almost a month ago and they were all fine up until about a week a half ago I started noticing one of the turtles become increasingly lethargic. She normally was very actively, and very feisty and funny to watch but recently all she does is sit on the basking rock with her eye shut--sometimes for hours. She hardly responds when I nudge her and will only start moving if I put her under water and hold her in my hand until her eyes open- which can take about a minute and a half.
<I agree. From what you describe, she appears to be ill.>
Once both her eye are open she'll start squirming and I'll put her back in the tank where she'll swim around for a while
<Until she’s better, she needs to come out of the water and be put into a warm dry environment. Here’s a link that shows you how to do that; look under the section called “ISOLATION AND DRY-DOCK”. I’d also read the rest of the article as well.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
(I even saw her eat twice in that past 3 days!)
<You don’t mention what you’re feeding them which I’ll get into more below, but frequency wise you should only be feeding them once every couple of days for no more than they can consume in 5 or so minutes. Overfeeding can lead to a variety of illnesses.>
but not long after, she'll return to her basking rock. The tank has an adequate filter, a basking rock, a UVA and UVB rays, and is about 76 degrees. I clean the tank every week.
<I’d suggest changing the water much more frequently than that if you have 3 turtles – how frequently depends on several factors like how powerful your filter is, how large your tank is, whether you feed them in the tank or in a separate bin, how quickly you scoop up uneaten food and waste, etc.>
Yesterday, I separated her from the other two turtles who seem to be perfectly normal. As I was separating her, I realized she has developed white bumps next to her mouth, a tiny dot on her arm, and on her foot- all on the right side. It looks like a fungus to me, but I have no idea.
<Could be; there’s another section in that link I gave you above called “Fungal Infections” that you can read over. Fungus is often a result of improper basking or water conditions. Besides what I mentioned above regarding the water changes, also see further below for some of the other questions I raised about your habitat.>
<Generally speaking, if you notice the spots have an odor or you're able to rub them off, then it’s likely a fungus. If you have any doubts about it, and given she's also been lethargic, it would probably not be a bad idea to bring her to a vet who has the advantage of being able to physically examine her – preferably an herp vet or a vet that specializes in reptiles/birds/exotics.>
The temporary tank, does not have a filter (I plan on changing the water daily), but it does have UVA and UVB rays and a rock for her to bask on.
<The temporary tank shouldn’t have any water in it at all. As above, she needs to be dry-docked according to the instruction in that link.>
I will send another email with pictures.
<Abby, the pictures aren’t clear enough to see anything, and even if they were I’d still tell you what I did above as far as the spots you’re seeing.>
<Other than the spots, it seems at the very least your turtle has a Vitamin A deficiency. Closed eyes are a key symptom of that illness. What have you been feeding them for their diet? And how often and how much of it have you been giving them?>
<The link I gave you above also talks about Vitamin A deficiency (see the section, “Swollen or closed eyes”), and offers some suggestions. Here’s also a link to an article that talks about it exclusively:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turteyedisart.htm >
<Nearly all turtle illnesses are a result of something wrong with either their diet or their habitat/care. You described a little about your set-up but didn’t mention other things that can also be associated with the symptoms you’re seeing. For example, things like -- whether you also have a heat lamp in addition to the UVA/UVB lights, what the basking temperature is under those lights (should be around 88-90 degrees F), if and for how many hours a day she was out of the water basking BEFORE she got sick, etc.) So I’m also going to give you this link to our general care guide – read it over to make sure you’re providing her and them everything they need -
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
Thank you!
<You’re welcome, Abby. Follow the Isolation, Vitamin A, Fungus, and other sick care instructions and see if any/all of that helps. If while you’re doing these things you see her spots, appetite or lethargy worsening, or you notice any new symptoms, then the best course of action is to take her to a vet who can physically examine her. >

Teeny Tiny Turtle Trouble - 10/04/2012
Hi WWM! :) [Just call me L ]
<Alright, L, then I'm S. Actually Sabrina, or Sab, will do.>
I know that you probably have loads of articles on this certain subject but I just need to make sure about it and get some advice from you guys.
<We do, actually, and I'll paste in some links in a bit....>
I have two small terrapins, one about 5 cm and another around 4 cm.
<This is very small indeed. Many places in the US, this is smaller than is legally saleable - you'd think it'd go without saying not to stick your pets in your mouth, especially when they carry Salmonella, but I guess it's been done anyway, and so there are laws about it, saving us from ourselves....>
I don't know how old they are though.
<Young, I'm sure, at that size.>
After I got the smaller one, I bought a bigger tank to accommodate both terrapins- I think they're RESs.
<"Bigger" is a relative term.... as is "big".... what is "big" to you may be "small" to your animals. Bear this in mind as you continue to research their husbandry.>
It was fine for a few days until one day when I noticed that the tiniest terrapin was becoming less lively. She slept all the time and I started to worry about her. Then, I started noticing some white cotton-like spread clinging on to her limbs. I was worried and researched on the Net and I found out that it might be a fungal infection.
<Or bacterial.... but bad news, either way. Do also try to be sure that it isn't just normally shedding skin, too; this is described a bit in at least one of the articles I'll link....>
As I couldn't go out to a vet and didn't have any fungal cream, I placed it in a different tank filled with water and salt as suggested by a website.
Apparently the salt would act as an antiseptic. I did this for half an hour for two days, then put it back into the tank after drying her. She still continued to sleep often and the fungal infection was still there... Then recently I decided to put her and the slightly larger one, which was starting to develop the same symptoms of fungal infection,
<Yikes! It's too little, too late now, but I'll say it anyway: quarantining the sick animal is/was an important step that seems to have been skipped. Now you know for the future, though. If a critter is sick, get it into a quarantine system to allow it time to recover, and to prevent the spread of illness to healthy pets, as well as for the obvious purpose of medicating if necessary.>
into the salt water again. Separately, of course. The larger one from the start had no problems, was active and swam all the time. After the salt water he continued to be as lively as ever. For Tiny, after the salt water, she started sleep less. Now, she is awake most of the time in the day.
<An improvement upon her previous behavior?>
She also swims. Although sometimes, she swims with her eyes closed.
<This might be telling.... Something conspicuously absent in your otherwise detailed email is a description of the animals' habitat. The symptoms you describe may be entirely environmental. The habitat must be suitably large and offer ample space for both animals to get completely out of the water to dry off. Their basking area must have the right temperatures and also lighting that provides UVA/UVB, and no glass or lens between the light bulb and the habitat that would block the UVA/UVB rays.
Of the utmost importance is water quality. You must test (or have a fish shop test for you) Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate. Ammonia and Nitrite must be ZERO, Nitrate as low as possible, but at least below 20ppm. Proper filtration is a must - turtles eat (and poop!) a lot!>
I noticed that her limbs were free from infection on the top, but the cotton like stuff still clings to the bottom of the limbs. I observed her for about four to five days and can say that she is alert, responsive and eats, basks lots, swims and sleeps well at night. She seems fairly fine other than the fungus. Is there a way I can treat her without bringing her to the vet and buying fungal cream?
<Well, my gut reaction to this is that if what you're doing hasn't fixed the issue, and the animal is sick, it should see a vet. I, personally, feel pretty strongly about this, especially considering the rise in availability of vets that specialize in reptiles. If, however, this is impossible, or if you don't have a reptile vet in your area, I am hopeful that the following articles will be of further use to you. Once again, do please observe and be sure that the fluffy stuff isn't shed skin (which would look sheet-like, almost) and is normal. Since you describe it as having been there for four or five days, though, I would be less inclined to think it is something normal. Check and correct any environmental issues, and read the following articles for more information:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm  - 
this may be the most helpful, with regards to treatment.... please read thoroughly.
Note that the FAQs contain scads of information, as well. On the following link, scroll to about the bottom, and you'll find lots and lots of FAQs pages on turtles, in addition to the articles linked above.
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm  >
Thank you and sorry for the long message! I look forward to your reply!!
<Best wishes to you and your chelonian pets!>
L ;)
<-Sabrina, sneaking into the webmail and out again....><<Wow! B>>

My red eared slider is very sick, please help.    8/15/12
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I am not sure how old it is, but its shell is almost 2 inches. It has been acting abnormally for about 2 weeks. He is barely active and has only eaten once in about a week, and that was only a mealworm.
<Not a good sign>
His eyes are swollen and he rarely opens them.
<Yes, he's sick>
His color is slightly fading. He occasionally opens his mouth. I originally thought he had a respiratory infection, so I have some Baytril coming in the mail. About an hour ago I went to pick him up and noticed his shell is becoming soft. I have been looking up the symptoms and think he has MBD. I would feed him calcium rich food, but he is not eating and since he is so small I am scared I may hurt him if I try to force feed him. I live in a very small town and have called all the herp vets near by and all of them are out of town for about a week.
<He needs calcium and vitamins injected.  Luckily he doesn't need a "herp vet" for that.  Ask your vet to supply "Calcium Gluconate  50 mg/kg IM every other day for 6 days"  to be injected in the front leg and a general purpose multivitamin at 100 IU/kg subq weekly for 2 weeks >
I have two RES but the other one is perfectly fine. I have them in a 10 gallon tank, about 2/3 the way full of water. I have a running filter and a heater. I read to adjust the heater to 80F to help him heal so I plan on doing that. I have a floating dock for them to bask on and have a lamp about 2 feet above it with a 38 watt light bulb. My mom works at the vet in town but they only treat dogs and cats, so I may be able to receive some help from them but very minimal.
<first, both turtles need to be kept warm and DRY for the time being.  
Read how (and why) to dry-dock a turtle while it's healing here:
 As you'll read, every condition he has is brought on by a combination of environment and diet>
Anything would be appreciated, I am extremely worried about him and do not know what to do. If it would help I could give him a calcium injection. I have the proper needle and calcium pills that I could dilute in water, but I would not do that unless I knew it was safe.
<Ground up pills injected would probably be fatal.  Use Calcium Gluconate as stated.  Your vet will have plenty of it>
The Baytril should be here tomorrow. I am extremely worried about the soft shell and lack of eating and lack of activity.
<DO NOT administer Baytril yet!   It's extremely toxic to the animal and in its weakened state we don't need it yet.   Calcium and vitamins and complete change to a warm and dry environment first!>
<Tell your mom that every dog & cat Veterinarian should have a copy if my friend Doug Mader's book: Reptile Medicine and Surgery, 2nd Edition from Dr. Douglas Mader. ISBN-9780721693279.  Simple references to basic treatments have helped many veterinarians help many patients that are out of their normal field of expertise>
My red eared slider is very sick, please help.    8/15/12

I am not completely sure of my rd
Re: My red eared slider is very sick, please help. - 8/17/12

Thank you very much.
<Yer welcome!>
 I managed to get a vet appt in for tomorrow so I will take him in to get the calcium&vitamins. I went and bought a cuttlebone (and I chipped off the back), and Zilla Calcium Supplemental food spray today. My mom picked up Zilla caloric supplement and appetite stimulant, but I do not plan on using it until I know it is safe and if he does not eat on his own.
Thank you for your help, I will go dry dock them both tonight.
<Good moves.  Once you get him healthy again and  if you feed him Koi pellets and an occasional earthworm, he'll get all the vitamins and minerals he needs.   Cool, clean water, a warm basking area with good UV-B sunlight and all can stay well!>

Sores/Scabs on RES arm  – 8/13/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Thank you so much for your fantastic and informative site.
<You're welcome.   When you win the lottery, please remember the "donate" button on the home page>
My wife and I have written you before regarding our RES' ears not being very red. We were so impressed with your quick response and help.
<That's why we're here.  Well that... and the free food>
Sadly, we now have a more pressing question.  We went on vacation for a week, and left Horace in his tank with an automatic feeder.
<For future reference, that wasn't necessary.  Any trip less than two weeks, just don't feed him>
We came back and he had knocked his ramp down, as well as dislodged his basking platform.
<Turtles can be little wrecking crews.  Things have to be settled and secured.  I use plastic wire ties even on my rock work.>
We don't know how long he was in the water without the ability to bask.  It couldn't have been more than 3 days.  When we came home tonight, we noticed three sores/scabs (not sure which) on his arm.  They are about the size of the head of a q-tip and brown.  This has never happened before!  Could it be caused by the prolonged water exposure?
<No.  Most likely he scratched or injured himself in the scuffle and then the wound succumbed to some sort of infection>
There are no other turtles or animals in his tank.  His water was very clean and clear when we got home, as his filter had been running the whole time.  Perhaps he cut himself when he dislodged his ramp and platform?
What should we do to help him heal? Will this kill him?!?!??
<Not if you treat it>
We have some skin and shell conditioner we put on his wounds to discourage him from biting them.
<Read here and treat.  Dry-dock him for a few days, iodine and hydrogen peroxide and Horace will be just fine. 
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm  >
Sidenote- in the past, we have sometimes seen him biting this same arm on occasion.  We figured he just had an itch as he never broke the skin or even caused redness to appear in this area.  Could these wounds be related to this biting behavior?
<Probably not>
Should he never have been biting his arm in the first place?
<They do lots of things that shouldn't do, but habits are hard to break. 
Our job is to see that his water is clean and cool and his basking place is warm and dry and his food is a balance diet.  Beyond that if he wants to bite himself or sing country music, indulge him>
Thanks again!  Horace is much appreciative!
<No charge!>
All the best,
Ricky and Jacqueline

turtle noises     8/13/12
how are you? i own a male red-eared slider about 6-7 years old, he's been with us for 5 years. He spends a good portion of the day outside of the water (we have built him a slide so he comes and goes out of his water as he pleases) but lately when we put him in the water he makes these strange noises, like he's giving out bubble or sucking in his breath or something like that, its quite difficult to explain.
<Reads like some sort of respiratory infection>
he seems healthy, he's eating normally, and plays with us too, but if we leave him be, he spends mostly all day sleeping and is a bit slow, but that is typical for him because around this time every year he gets lethargic. physically he is all ok, no swollen eyes, no soft shell, he just doesn't like to waste his energy a lot, and is eating a little less than usual but eating. The noises are sort of scary and I'm worried, can you help me as to what it is, is it something i should be worried about and if so, how should i fix it?
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtrespart.htm
and the Related FAQs file linked above. Bob Fenner>
I would appreciate your help a lot
Thank you.
Shamain Nisar

Sores/Scabs on RES arm     8/9/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Thank you so much for your fantastic and informative site.
<You're welcome.   When you win the lottery, please remember the "donate" button on the home page>
My wife and I have written you before regarding our RES' ears not being very red. We were so impressed with your quick response and help.
<That's why we're here.  Well that... and the free food>
Sadly, we now have a more pressing question.  We went on vacation for a week, and left Horace in his tank with an automatic feeder.
<For future reference, that wasn't necessary.  Any trip less than two weeks, just don't feed him>
We came back and he had knocked his ramp down, as well as dislodged his basking platform.
<Turtles can be little wrecking crews.  Things have to be settled and secured.  I use plastic wire ties even on my rock work.>
We don't know how long he was in the water without the ability to bask.  It couldn't have been more than 3 days.  When we came home tonight, we noticed three sores/scabs (not sure which) on his arm.  They are about the size of the head of a q-tip and brown.  This has never happened before!  Could it be caused by the prolonged water exposure?
<No.  Most likely he scratched or injured himself in the scuffle and then the wound succumbed to some sort of infection>
There are no other turtles or animals in his tank.  His water was very clean and clear when we got home, as his filter had been running the whole time.  Perhaps he cut himself when he dislodged his ramp and platform?
What should we do to help him heal? Will this kill him?!?!??
<Not if you treat it>
We have some skin and shell conditioner we put on his wounds to discourage him from biting them.
<Read here and treat.  Dry-dock him for a few days, iodine and hydrogen peroxide and Horace will be just fine. 
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm  >
Sidenote- in the past, we have sometimes seen him biting this same arm on occasion.  We figured he just had an itch as he never broke the skin or even caused redness to appear in this area.  Could these wounds be related to this biting behavior?
<Probably not>
Should he never have been biting his arm in the first place?
<They do lots of things that shouldn't do, but habits are hard to break. 
Our job is to see that his water is clean and cool and his basking place is warm and dry and his food is a balance diet.  Beyond that if he wants to bite himself or sing country music, indulge him>
Thanks again!  Horace is much appreciative!
<No charge!>
All the best,
Ricky and Jacqueline

pink Red Eared Slider!     8/7/12
Hi Guys!!
<Hiya - Darrel here>
If you recall I wrote to you a couple of time before regarding sick RES babies in Russia. Well, those babies with RI have healed fully thanks to your treatment plans!
<Glad to hear it!>
Yesterday I came across a poor little turtle in a new friend's room who had no clue how to handle and build a habitat for RES. he had kept this fellow in a little 10litre tank with no filtration, no lighting! The red-pinkish lines on the edges of his scutes started appearing a month ago he said. The turt is a year and a half old. I've dry docked this tort in a tub in the sun (thankfully its summer in Moscow too) and setup a shade for him to hide.
The temperature is in the range of 25-32. i am going to put him for an hour everyday in a Flucloxacillin bath to help the fungus like  grayish slime off his shell from when he was in the water. Do I need to start Baytril shots for this fellow?
<I wouldn't do that - not at this point>
Or is the pinkish tint from the excessive fungus?? His scutes seem to be lifted off his shell to if you look at him from the back (didn't grab that pic) how long do you suppose this guy would take to heal if dry docked and given the antibiotic baths?
<I don't think that pink tinge is septic, so I wouldn't worry about it. 
Continue the baths for 14 days, the dry-docking for 6 weeks and see that he gets a healthy diet during his daily swim.  Tiny pieces of beef or chicken liver will give him vitamins, essential minerals and oils that will promote healing.>
<If he's active and eating and pooping and basking, you're doing all you need to do!>
Regards and cheers to your good work!

My baby sliders possible shell rot    7/21/12
I've included several pictures of my two female yellow belly sliders….I have not noticed any change in there activity. I clean there tank every 2 days. They have a diet of turtle pellets, lettuce and carrots. i also use a water treatment for the tap water.
I have noticed there bellies have been darkening lately. and one of them came to me with a wart like bump on her shell but it has improved greatly and fresh new shell is now visible.
The darkening on the bottom of the shell is what worries me, I have taken the following steps since i noticed the bottom of the shells.
<Some change in the colour of the shell is normal; as the animals age, their colours will become duller, muddier. So long as the shell smells clean and feels firm, don't worry too much. Use a fingernail to scrape at the suspect area of the shell; healthy shell will resist scraping and feel tough, like horn; soft shell will flake or come away as powder, and there's usually a distinct fungus odour as well.>
1. I have raised the wattage of the lamp to increase the heat, but i also leave a shaded area for them.
<Good. Heat isn't the only thing though; you must provide UV-B light as well. You can buy combination lamps. You don't want an ordinary UV light though, or UV-A, but specifically UV-B.>
2. I leave them in a clean dry tank for at least 2-3 hrs. depending on the weather
<Not really necessary, but if they don't mind it, then go ahead and do this. But otherwise, if the air under the heat lamp is warm, they'll dry off naturally.>
3. I never feed them in there living tank, i use a separate feeding tank.
<A good idea.>
4. I never fill the living tank with water level above the rock level to leave room for basking.
<Also good.>
I admit to having a tank which is too small for their growth, but we are working on upgrading their living quarters shortly.
what can i do to reverse the affects if any and any tips on what needs to be corrected in my turtle keeping?
<Do start by reading here:
Adequate calcium in their diet plus a UV-B light source are the two keys. Vitamin supplements help with the former, and a UV-B lamp supplies the latter. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: My baby sliders possible shell rot   7/22/12
Thank you so much for your prompt response.....I feel a lot better now, I checked but no signs of soft or smelly shells. I will keep an eye on them....Thanks again.
<Glad to help. Prevention is better than cure, so be sure to follow the tips on diet and UV-B. Cheers, Neale.>

Red Eared Slider won't stay in the Water     7/6/12
We have a Red Eared Slider that is about the size of your palm (3-3 1/2").  Unfortunately we went on vacation and left someone to care for him (we think it's a male).  Before we left he was always active and lived mostly in the water, yet would bask appropriately under his UV or Heat Lamp.  His eating habits were better when he was younger...he would take food from out hands...but prior to our leaving his eating wasn't what it used to be.
<Often decreased appetite is the first sign that they’re not feeling well.>
Unfortunately when we returned his water was TERRIBLE...cloudy, algae, old food, etc....I usually change it every two weeks..with proper additives and filter change. 
<What do you mean by additives? As long as your water is safe for you to drink, no sort of additive is needed.>
He is in a 20 Gallon Tank with about 11 Gallons of water has a 50 Gal/hr filter and was fine before we left.  When we returned home he was on his basking rock and not in the water...I figured it was because it was so dirty...I immediately cleaned his tank, replaced the water with clean treated water.
<Re: treating water – as above.>
He won't get in the water...I put him in the tank and he stays on his basking rock with head  legs and tail out like normal. When I try and place him in the water he floats, then swims back to his basking Rock.
Is he sick?...
<Could be – turtles will often spend more time basking when they’re not feeling well. It’s also possible he’s feeling stressed from all the changes that happened over a short period of time. Turtles are creatures of habit and often don’t like ANY change in their care or environment - whether it’s for the better or for the worse!>
<However, you also mentioned his appetite wasn’t the same even before you went away. So it could also be that he’s starting to show some ill effects from a problem either in his care and/or habitat that’s existed for a long time. Because of their slow metabolism, it can often take turtles months, sometimes even longer, before they actually start showing signs of illness. So my first recommendation is to carefully read over our basic care article in this link,
to compare the care you’ve been providing to what’s recommended in the article, and to make whatever changes necessary. In particular, compare your lighting (must specifically be UVB), check your water quality (do some water testing just before you clean the tank), and also make sure that the land and water temperatures are both in the recommended ranges. Also compare the diet you’re feeding him (not only the ‘what’ but also ‘how much’ and ‘how often’) to the recommendations in the article.>
Should I take him to a Vet?......When I put him in a smaller container, with water, to feed him, he is active eats some....but moves around like normal.
It's been 3 days since I cleaned his tank and replaced the water, but he won't stay in the water.
<We’ll try! The fact that he’s still active and eating at least a little are both good signs. What I’d suggest is to err on the side of caution and respond as though he’s not feeling well. Remove him from the water completely for a week or two and place him in a warm dry environment except for a few minutes each day. This link below tells you exactly how to do this – read under ‘Isolation’:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm >
<The ‘isolation’ treatment won’t hurt him at all if he’s not sick; in fact it will even help by giving his body a rest and his immune system a little boost. And he may not mind the warm and dry since that’s what he seems to be seeking out right now anyway. Having said that though, don’t be alarmed if HE’S not crazy about his new temporary quarters! >
<Good luck! Give this a try, read over both links, and write back if you need any clarifications or any new concerns come up. ~ Sue>
Re: Red Eared Slider won't stay in the Water

Sorry – I just noticed the 2nd link I gave you with the instructions for ‘Isolation’ is wrong; here’s the correct link!
Re: Red Eared Slider won't stay in the Water     7/8/12

 Thank you for your response......the additives are to control Algae, his Waste and a Clarifier that has been recommended by Vets and other people with more knowledge than I have all are to try and keep his water clearer. 
<Understood, but … you also have a turtle that’s sick right now (and was showing signs of illness before you went away) despite the advice you’ve been given.  I understand it’s tempting to use these products, but unfortunately when it comes to turtles and water quality, there are no good substitutions, quick fixes, or short cuts for clean, clear water – water additives and filters included.  Once every two week water changes is likely not cutting it for you given that you’ve got him in only 11 gallons of water (the smaller the tank, the quicker the water becomes dirty and the more it needs to be changed).  I’d suggest upping the water changes to at least once a week (if not more).>
<Also water in smaller tanks tends to be more vulnerable to the heat given off by the lamps – which makes the water even more hospitable to algae growth, especially when food and organic matter is left in the water.  Any waste or uneaten food should be promptly removed (netted up or siphoned); don’t allow it to sit and decompose in the water.  Or better yet - feed him in a separate container (plastic bin is fine) filled with a couple of inches of water, and then simply dump it when he’s done.  I’d also try to position your lamps away from the water and directly on the basking area as best you can.>
<All these additional things should be done regardless of additives and filters to maintain good water quality.  And if you’re doing them properly the water WILL be clean and clear -- then you can use the money you would have spent on additives to buy something else - maybe save up for a larger enclosure and more powerful filter which he’ll eventually need anyway.>
I have spent hours trying to make sure he is well taken care of, before we went on vacation he was acting normal eating and active.  There has only once been an issue, and of course he went to the Vet and acted normal.
<Unfortunately smaller tanks are often more, rather than less, work when it comes to turtles.>
I've tried extra heat, but as of today he hasn't eaten in over 5 days.  He has his head out, but he is very slow to move.  He was in the water, but it was probably by accident, because he wasn't swimming, just floating.
<It’s not just extra heat he needs; he needs the Isolation (warm and dry OUT of the aquarium) method that I recommended to you in my 1st reply (refer to the link I sent you in that reply).  It was likely he was in the water not by accident but to try and cool off from the added basking heat you gave him. This is what you want to happen when he’s healthy but NOT when he’s sick. A humid environment where water is present 24/7 (regardless of whether he’s actually in the water or not) can be harmful when a turtle is sick as this is the very environment that bacteria and fungi thrive in – and they’re more than happy to seize the opportunity to take advantage of a debilitated turtle.>
<Once he’s all better, then yes, make whatever necessary changes in your care according to the recommendations  in our Basic Care guide that I linked you to in my 1st reply, including his water and basking temperatures if they’re different than what’s recommended in our guide.  HEALTHY turtles need cool water (68-70 degrees) and warm (88-90 degree), dry land with a heat bulb and a UVB bulb (strip UVB lighting preferable as distribution of UVB rays is better).>
When I add heat if he's hot he will move toward his UV Light
<Again -- check to make sure the bulb is specifically a UVB bulb. He needs UVB now while he's in Isolation and also later when he's feeling better and back in his aquarium.>
.....but eyes are closed, legs out, tail out....will move them slowly if I pick him up, or put him in a smaller container.
<It definitely sounds like he’s gotten worse since you last wrote.  He not only needs the Isolation but additional treatment.  Eyes closed are almost always due to a Vitamin A deficiency.  If he's really moving this little, I'd suggest bringing him to the vet ASAP for vitamin injections (and have her assess if he also needs injectable antibiotics), but in the meantime read here for how to treat Vitamin A deficiency at home:
The only caveat to this link is that we now recommend Isolation and not putting turtles back in the aquarium again until they’re well. >
<Also, the link I sent you in my 1st reply for Isolation has a section on Vitamin A deficiencies and recommends some additional treatments. >
Could he be fighting going into Hibernation......he has never been colder than 74-75 degrees, and has lived in the same habitat for over a year.
<No – he’s sick.>
If he's ill...what could it be...there are no bubbles...according to the Vet that would be a respiratory issue.....he's just not active, eating or acting normal.
I think it's getting worse.
<I agree; he needs proper treatment NOW before he gets any worse:
•  As I recommended in my original note, remove him from the aquarium and follow the Isolation instructions in the prior link I sent you for how to keep him that way.  The enclosure can be as simple as a 12” deep or so plastic storage bin or even a cardboard box.  He WILL need access to water every day to drink and poop, but ONLY for a few minutes.
•  Again, make sure his light is UVB. He needs this now while he’s sick and also when he’s healthy. UVB is what helps turtles properly digest/convert food into the vitamins they need, and is also important for their immune system/functioning.
•  Read and follow the recommendations for treating Vitamin A deficiency that I sent you in this reply, and also in the Isolation link I sent you in my original reply.
•  Consider taking him to a vet for a Vitamin A injection, and possibly also a Vitamin D as well (preferably one who specializes in turtles or at least herps, even birds). While treating orally (by mouth, not eyes – he needs to ingest it) is OK, the most optimum and quickest treatment is by injection (after the injections, though, you should still continue to treat him orally until he’s all better).
•  Once he’s better and eating again, make whatever changes are necessary in his diet (including not only what, but also how much and how often you’re feeding him), and also to his environment (all the things I already mentioned and that are in our basic care guide).  >
<If you read and follow these recommendations promptly, you should start to see him improving in a couple of days.  However, if instead you see him becoming worse during this time, you’ll need to take him back to the vet again, because at that point it’s likely he developed a systemic infection and will require injectable antibiotics. >
<Good luck; let us know how things go. If you do write again, though, please give us more specifics about how you were taking care of him before he got sick. This is because nearly every turtle illness boils down to a problem in their diet or environment.  ~ Sue>
Re: Red Eared Slider won't stay in the Water     7/9/12

Thank you for everything ...unfortunately Mr. T went last night!!!!!
<I’m very sorry for your loss, as I know the rest of our crew is too. Turtles are very stoic when they’re sick which helps protect them in the wild from predators, but that strategy unfortunately doesn’t serve them well as pets. By the time they show symptoms they’ve often been ill for a long time.  Should you ever decide to get another one, hopefully you’ll find the information I sent you useful. Our crew has had years’ of experience keeping turtles, so if you ever come across any advice that conflicts with something you’ve seen on our website, do write us before acting on it, and we’ll be happy to clarify for you. Best wishes to you, Sue >

MBD in RES mild or severe  6/7/2012
Hi there,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have been going through your forum trying to find out what constitutes as mild or severe Metabolic Bone Disease (soft-shell) in turtles. I have a 2 inch red eared slider. Her water temp is currently between 82-84 (brought up from 72 when I realized it was that chilly), she has a UVA/UVB bulb and mostly eats Omega One Juvenile Turtle Pellets with a Calcium level of 2%.
<72 is actually the right temperature for a healthy turtle>
She rarely eats treats except for krill and occasionally a piece of zucchini although I offer her all approved veggies. I bought a new light today (her old one has only been around 3 weeks but may have been older). She also has a soluble calcium 'rock' in her water at all times and a charcoal filter. She also gets water conditioner when I clean the tank (usually throw half the water out weekly).
<The water change is good - the calcium block is really a waste of your money. They don't gnaw on it very often and calcium dissolved in the water does them no good at all>
She has some discoloration on her shell (from green to yellow) and her shell is quite flexible especially on her back end. She is still eating though and moving around. There is no deformation of her limbs or jaw and her shell is not flat. She has a mild ridge on her back shell (visible only looking at her sideways) and has one spot that may be mild pyramiding. She is still active, can haul herself out of the water, walks around my desk without difficulty, and does bask on her floating dock.
<She should be basking under a heat lamp AND a UV-B light source.>
As of today, she has been given Calcium powder supplement for reptiles on her food (34% calcium) and a cuttlebone (her first one). The increase in calcium only started today but I am concerned to know if this is considered a 'mild' case of MBD that will clear up with the appropriate care or if I should take her to a vet for a calcium injection (which may be impossible because I live in an area that has no reptile vets).
<Even SEVERE cases of MDB will clean up with time and proper treatment.  If there had been deformed bones - and you'd see that in her walk or swimming - they don't reshape themselves … but the bone and shell strength will bounce back - you'll start seeing results in a few weeks>
If there are pictures showing the difference between mild and severe MBD and what I should look for, that would also greatly help me.
<It's hard to see in turtles. If she was an iguana I could show you lots of them.>
 I would prefer to wait a few days if it's mild to see if she heals naturally but if this is severe, I will take her immediately. That being said, I'm a university student so any help you can offer would be amazing! 
Sincerely,  Samantha
<Here: read this: it's virtually everything you need to know about correcting her living conditions : http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<This one covers the treatment of most conditions you could run into: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >

Red Eared Slider  care India - 5/8/2012
WWM: Hiya - Darrel here
Glad to see am asking for help almost after a year :D
WWM: Hope everything's been OK
I recently shifted my house along with my turtle in March.
I had to leave him with my friend for 25 days because of official trips. She fed the poor thing fish pellets instead of turtle food !!. So I come back to find his eyes shut and swollen. I have been feeding him pellets since past 1 week and also changing his water daily. He is very lethargic and prefers to keep his eyes shut. His appetite is fine thankfully. In fact he opens his eyes (slightly) only when I give him pellets. After feeding he's active for some time and then he goes lethargic again.
WWM: 25 days is a VERY short period for a turtle to develop those symptoms, Ruchika. There may well have been something going on even before you shifted
This is what I plan to do (wanted opinion/suggestion) 1. Put vitamin A drops (diluted with water) on his eyes daily 2. Soak his pellets in cod liver oil before feeding him (once in two days) 3. Put mild anti biotic in his tank (Telmycin) for 2-3 days Should I do anything else ?? Is all this ok ??
WWM: The first two are fine, but #3 is a waste of your time. What you should do instead is add some small pieces of chicken liver to his diet - that will help get the vitamin A into his system.
WWM: Also, make sure he's getting unfiltered UV-B exposure -- he should bounce back in no time

Big Guy my new Turtle    5/1/12
Hi my name is Kristal,
<Hiya Kristal,  Darrel here>
I have written to you before but I had just gotten another Red Eared Slider Turtle so, I have 3 red Eared Slider Turtles now and they all get along well fine, but my new one named Big Guy hasn't been acting himself lately.
He didn't really bask a lot and he would eat a lot but now he doesn't eat and is always basking in the basking rock and he rarely gets in the water any more.
<There might be something in the water he doesn't like>
I tried giving him his favorite food, I cleaned the tank thoroughly with no chemicals or soap, gave him a whole lot of attention, but he still isn't acting right. I would like for you to please e-mail me back ASAP, because I wouldn't want him to pass away.
<Let's not worry about that just yet>
The water temperature is 76(f) if you need that information.
<The first thing I think is that maybe he just doesn't get along with the other two.  You don't mention the size of the tank, but there are certain sizes of enclosures - that cause problems.  When an enclosure is big enough, they all have their own space.  When it's far too small, they tend to put their territorial instincts on hold … but in that in-between size, it can be stressful, especially for the new guy>
<My first suggestion is to try to change things around.  Move the rocks, maybe the basking area, change the light angles, etc. try to make the tank appear "different" so that it's not the same old tank they first two had before the new guy came.>
<While you’re at it, check for vibrating filters, pumps … anything like that … anything that they might sense that you or I wouldn't notice that just scares him>
<Lower the water temperature.  If you have a water heater, take it out - turtles should have room temperature water.>
<If none of that makes a difference, take the other two out for a day … put then in a high-sided cardboard box for 24 hours and let Bug Guy have the place to himself - see how he reacts to that.>
<Finally, read here about 'dry-docking' him for a couple weeks.  If it turns out that he's feeling a little ill, the dry-warm isolation will help give him a chance to improve.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
Thank You
<Yer welcome>

Help - two (2) RES living in Malaysia. Hlth.    4/14/12
 Dear WWM Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I live in Malaysia with limited vet treating exotic animals. I have been researching online and still could not confirm the problem of my Red Eared Slider turtles. I love and am very proud of them and want them to live as long as possible.
<We and they thank you for your caring>
Just a quick summary of what happened.
What made me extra concerned about their current condition is the death of one of my RES (8-inch) a few weeks ago at the 'vet'.
<Well, that will do it>
I do not trust the vet anymore because they did not even realized my RES was dead until I went to pick it up the next day.  They put my RES into a big tub resided by 30 gold fishes.
<Sick reptiles should never be kept in water.   They are best off in a warm dry place>
My RES had a 'puffy/ saggy' neck.  I didn't bother at first but then, I saw an ulcer growing on the area and later on, the ulcer turned from white to brown and then burst, no longer puffy but saggy skin. The process was not sudden, its neck was puffed since many years ago.
<But it WAS an indication that something was wrong>
It was still eating and running on the last day I had him in the tub. I suspected it drowned and died. When in the goldfish tub, it was struggling to float and I didn't know it couldn't swim.
<I'm completely confused.  The Vet put him in a tub with no basking area when in his care?  Here it sounds like YOU kept him that way>
Its dead body was like a statue, it stood steadily at the bottom of the tub, eyes turned blue, all limbs and head were out from the shell.
<Debilitated from years of improper care and too weak to struggle any longer>
Alrighty, now in the attached picture, you will see arrows pointing at problem areas of my living RES which confused me. I do not know if it is water retention/ edema or obesity. Both turtles have the same problem at both their thigh areas, the female (on top) being more serious.
<I would suggest that you know if you're feeding them more than you should:  They should have a vegetable-based diet (such as Koi Pellets) and all they can eat in 5 minutes, 3-4 times a week.  No more>
I have been keeping the female RES since I was seven (7) years old and I was totally clueless about how to care for the turtles. That probably explains the pyramiding.
<Actually their shells seem flattened.  I'd make sure they're getting enough calcium>
The female RES however survives and is now twenty-two (22) years old, 8-inch, been laying eggs every year the latest being Jan-12 (13 eggs) and Feb-12 (5 eggs). She loves eating and if I feed her only a little food, she will keep checking the butt of the male RES, waiting to eat poo.
<Yes … not very appetizing dinner conversation, however>
They both live outdoor in a big blue tub under the roof without any lamp or filter. Natural sunlight everyday with average temperature of 32-34 degree Celsius all year round. I change their water everyday.
<My only concern is that the water will tend to get too warm under those conditions.  If possible, find a way to shade the water so only the basking area gets sunshine>
Water height is around 3-4 inch.
<That will heat up very quickly>
I used to feed them only turtle pellets, but have recently cut down pellets and introduced vege and fruits. I feed them everyday. I noticed that they bask everyday.
Would you be able to confirm their problem?   Shall I add more water into their tub or dry dock them for a period? Can I feed more to the female RES because she might be pregnant and need to eat more?
<Try giving her (actually both of them) a calcium supplement.>
And also, I believe the bottom turtle is experiencing shell rot. The arrows pointed area has turned whitish. They bask everyday and I have been keeping the water clean now so I am hoping it will heal naturally. Is that possible?
<It's possible, but I'd dry-dock him for a month or so just to be sure.  As soon as his carapace REALLY dries out, you'll be able to spot and treat the fungus if it's there.  You would be shock at the number of times a case of shell rot turns out to be nothing more than water spots from minerals in the water>
It would be so much appreciated to get a reply from you. I let them out for a walk, bath and feed them everyday and my love for them is no lesser than a mother's love. 
Thank you.
<I hope we helped, Yann:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >

Sick terrapin, help!!    3/21/12
Dear crew,
My red eared slider is 7+ years old now. I'm not certain, but since it has long claws and is quite large now (est. 8-9 inches), I'm guessing this suggests its a male?
<I agree. But do also check the tail. Males have very long, thin tails compared to females.>
I live in Singapore and keep it a huge tank in my backyard with no heating or artificial lighting, but it is able to receive sunlight, and I let it out for walks once every few days.
I also change its water once every 3 days, and have been feeding it turtle pellets since I first had it. I have not changed the type of turtle food.
<Also fine.>
My terrapin has been refusing to eat for 5 days now. It has no visible physical problems - no sore eyes or swelling. There is some mucus-like substance on its skin, but not sure if its a problem. It has been 'farting' / 'pee-ing' green water, with no solid stool. What should I do? Is it some kind of bowel problem?
<Difficult to say. Loose, green faeces could simply be from consuming algae or some other plant matter -- this is 100% natural and won't do any harm, assuming of course the green food wasn't poisonous. It's actually a good idea to let turtles and terrapins eat green foods periodically, with many salad foods (such as lettuce) being eminently suitable.>
Please help asap, I am very worried! My terrapin has been with me for a long time and I am very attached to it. Thank you for your assistance!
<Do watch the animal for a while. Don't force it to eat. If its behaviour is normal -- i.e., swimming, basking, sleeping -- then don't worry too much for now. However, if the terrapin isn't behaving normally, or doesn't eat anything for another week or so, then it's time to go visit a vet. Or at the very least, write back to us for more help.>
Yours Sincerely,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Problems with Red Eared Sliders   3/18/12
Dear Crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have two red eared sliders that I just got two weeks ago. I have been trying to be very careful because I am new as a turtle mommy...
<Thanks - we and they appreciate it!>
One is young (pet shop said less than a year) and the other is (again according to the pet shop) maybe two years old. The two year old, Chip, came with a chip in his shell but it seemed to be regrowing and healing.
<The have remarkable regenerative powers>
The baby (Tiny) seemed perfectly healthy. I have a sulfa block in their water to help Chip's shell heal and I have kept their UV light on 12 hours a day.
<The sulfa block is, in my opinion (also known technically as the 'right' or 'correct' opinion) not a wise use of your money.   It doesn’t HURT … but the amount of medication that would get into the water and onto the shell to prevent any form of fungal infection is next to nil.   Sulfa block's dumb cousin, the Calcium Block has the same problem … to get enough calcium in the water to get the calcium into the turtle would mate the water into mud … or … drywall>
Their water is a constant 82-84 degrees F
<That's a little warm.  Water should be room temp (68-73f) and the basking rock around 88-93f so that they have a choice>
And Tiny has been using the basking rock regularly. I feed then the turtle food that the pet shop had been feeding them once a day and then I also give them a treat in the evening (veggies 2 days and then meat one day).
<I feed my water turtles ReptoMin floating food sticks then they are hatchlings and by the time they are about the size of a half dollar coin, I switch them to Koi pellets.   Koi pellets are a well balanced, complete and inexpensive staple food.   Then, once a month or so … I feed an earthworm or two.>
<Beef or chicken liver isn't bad as a treat … but be sure to feed them in a separate shallow container … because any meats will foul your tank water horribly.  No other meats are really acceptable … nor are crickets, meal worms or feeder guppies or goldfish>
 I don't have a filter yet but have been cleaning their tank a minimum of every other day to keep it clean
<You shouldn't have to work that hard, Alita.  If you siphon the bottom and end up changing 10% of the water every week or so, then you should only have to really clean the tank & water once a month of maybe every six weeks>
And I have been using the water treatment that the pet shop told me to use.
<Another thing not to bother with.   Sliders are happy as can be in any water you'd dare drink.   They don't get any particular amount of water through their skin, so normal amounts of chlorine, phosphates and other things that would kill a fish - don't even fazed them>
Yesterday I noticed that both turtles have some small white spots on both the shells and their skin.
<That could be the start of a fungal infection (easily addressed) - but it COULD be just water spots!!!   I've had many a nervous turtle parent bring me what they thought was a sick turtle only to have it come off with just a quick rub.  The key to preventing fungal infections is plenty of basking under warm lamps (with the UV-B of course)>
I also noticed that Chip has a bump on the side of his neck. Normally he will let me pet his neck a little but when I touched the bump he jumped like it was painful. This morning I also noticed that Tiny's shell on the bottom seems to be a little soft. I wanted these turtles forever, they were a gift from my husband and I just love the heck out of them!
<We'd like to help you, too!>
What should I do?  Please get back to me ASAP!
<OK.  FIRST.   A bump on a neck can be an abscess and that should be lanced and treated by a veterinarian.  The only thing is … most veterinarians get 6-8 weeks of reptile medicine in their first year of school and then spend the rest of the time on cats & dogs.   If may take a bit of research to find a vet in your area that actively practices reptile medicine.  On THAT topic, I leave it to you … but here's your backup-up plan.  In your area or likely nearby is a turtle & tortoise club and in that club is someone who is an 'old hand' at common medical treatments and has the equipment to lance an abscess and drain it and then flush it with Betadine from the local drug store.   After that, a month in Dry-Dock and he's likely as good as new.>
<Now here are two brilliantly written 100% accurate article on Red Eared Sliders.  You can trust them implicitly -and any info or advice you get to the contrary is just WRONG.>
<First general care: Compare your care to the article - Especially the correct KIND of UV light  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Now - how to treat common problems.   Generally and easy read that will allay some of your fears … and it describes how to keep a turtle warm and dry while recovering from just about anything: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<Finally … we're here for you:  A wealth of information, open 24 hours and freeway close!>

red eared slider, hlth.    2/8/12
<Hi there, Sue here.>
We have a 2 year old red eared slider. We have had him about 10 months. He has been in good health until the last few days. He stays under his UV and basking lamps all day and will only go into the water to sleep. He has not been eating.
<When was the last time he ate?  What have you been feeding him since you got him?>
We cannot see any signs of fungus, his eyes are good, no cuts etc.
<You mentioned he basks all day now – does he seem lethargic to you?  If you put him on the floor, is he active and running around?  Is he alert when you pick him up, or does he seem *out of it*?>
We keep his tank very clean and have good filtration. Our vet does not treat exotics. We would appreciate any advice you can give us. At your recommendation we are taking him out of his aquarium and placing him in a dry container with his lights.
<Thanks for doing some research on our site before writing in!  It sounds like you’ve read the following link about *Isolation*? –
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<If his only symptoms right now are lack of appetite and basking more than usual, Isolation is where I’d start.  It’s possible he is coming down with something, but first let’s give him a few days of R& R in a warm dry enclosure with a few minutes’ access to some food and water each day, and see if that jump starts his appetite back up.  Just be careful not to *bake* him!  Heating pad (one without the automatic shut-off) should be wrapped in a towel and set to *Low*.  If you're using a light above as a heat source instead, adjust the wattage of the bulb to keep the temperature around 85 or so since you’re taking away his choice to cool off in water anytime he wants.>
<In the meantime, here’s another link to our Basic Care guide:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Read it over completely – in particular compare your water and basking temperatures to what’s recommended (water kept on the cooler side and basking temperature warm enough to do its *job*), as well as his diet (what, how much and how often you’ve been feeding him), and make sure the light you have over his enclosure is UVB specifically.  Most all turtle illnesses are caused by something amiss in either the diet or environment.>
<You’re welcome.  Hopefully this will do the trick!  If not write us back and let us know what’s going on.  If you do write again, though, it would help us to know all the details of your set-up and care.>
The Vinsons

Sick RES – 3/7/12
<Hi Karenlynn, Sue here with you!>
I have two pet res and love them dearly. The turtle I am writing about is not mine, it was brought in as a captive raised, abandoned turtle to the local pet store I frequent. She arrived with swollen, dry looking, wrinkly looking eyes.
<Most probably a Vitamin A deficiency.>
She was also sluggish and lethargic. They treated her with commercial otc turtle eye drops and she improved greatly over the period of about two weeks, becoming more active and eating well.
<Both are encouraging signs!  However, injectable (or even oral) Vitamin A (taken internally) are the most effective ways to treat this.>
Now, over the past week and a half, her beak first became golden in color, as you describe a scute that is about to shed. Today when I went to visit her, her beak looks as if it is peeling off at the edges on both the lower and upper mouth. It appeared she is having difficulty opening her mouth as well.
<Have the edges lifted up enough yet so that you can peek at what condition the beak is underneath?  If not, DON’T force them or try to peel them off.  Until this old (top) layer is ready to separate, it will remain *stuck* to the lower, newer growth underneath so that if you try to peel it off, you risk removing any new growth which you definitely don’t want to do.  Also, how is her shell?  Does she have any soft spots?>
I am desperate to save her and the store will allow me to help her any way I can. They are very compassionate but deal primarily with dogs, cats and fish.  I am quite knowledgeable but this is outside of my comfort zone. I can go take a picture of her tomorrow if you want one.
<You can if you’d like.  However my guess without seeing any photos is that the same thing that was going on with her eyes is also what’s happening with her beak – a fall-out from chronic malnutrition (lack of calcium, Vitamin D, and possibly also lack of UVB if her owner never provided her with it).>
All help and advice is greatly appreciated. I cannot bear to see her suffer!
<I understand and that’s very nice of you; I’d want to do the same also if it was me!  Here are my suggestions-
1) First, until she's all better and we can figure out what's going on with her beak, she should be taken out of the water and placed/kept in a warm, dry enclosure that has a UVB (must be UVB) light overhead.  Water is a turtle’s worst enemy when they’re debilitated.  She should just be given access to water for a few minutes each day to drink, eat, and poop.  For complete instructions about how you or the pet shop can set this up for her, read the section called ISOLATION in the following link-
2) A vet should really be taking a look at her beak to see what’s going on with it. Also because of her unknown history and obvious poor care up to this point, she’d really benefit from having a vet examine her and do at least a basic work-up on her (i.e., check her shell, skin and the inside of her mouth, a stool sample to check for parasites, some basic blood work to look at her vitamin levels, her white blood cell count for signs of systemic infection, maybe also look at her liver function, etc.) .
Ideally the pet store should be doing this, but if not it would certainly help her if you could locate and have her seen by a vet who specializes in turtles/reptiles.  Maybe your regular vet can recommend someone.  If not – I’ve got to believe there must at least be an avian vet in your area who sees birds.  Many vets that see birds are familiar with or have some level of experience with turtles, and in particular, would be a good resource to examine her beak.
3) If she’s still able to eat, I would also be adding a powdered vitamin supplement and some supplemental Vitamin D3 to her food.  Just put some food in a cap, sprinkle a pinch of each into the cap, add some water and mix until the food is softened (this will also make it easier for her to eat the food if she’s having trouble.  I’d also give her some additional sources of Vitamin A.  Some suggestions for this are included in the link I gave you above (look under the section called “Swollen Eyes.”)  She should also have a UVB light over her, and if the pet shop allows you, you could also put her in a small open air container and bring her outside the shop once in a while to get her some real UVB, obviously with close supervision!
 Thank you,
<You’re welcome Karenlynn.  Good luck with her and let us know how things go!  Write us back if any more questions or concerns pop up.>
Re: Sick RES
Thank you so much Sue! I will go tonight or tomorrow and take pictures. Some good news is that today she seemed to be able to open her mouth and did eat a bit. I truly appreciate all of your help!
<No problem, glad to hear she showed some improvement!  Let us know if you need any more assistance with anything; we're happy to help any way we can. ~ Sue >

Turtle with sores on his feet  3/3/12
Hi there, I recently got a red ear slider from an internet site. A few things have been worrying me. First, he won't eat I've only had him for about 2 days but still. And also, he has a sore on his front foot right between his toes & also on the back foot. The water is heated & I also have a heat lamp & UVB lamp. He's a little bit bigger than a quarter so that's
why I'm so concerned. So, if you could get back to me ASAP that would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for your time!
<Hello Claire. Do start by reading these two articles:
Make sure that you're providing ALL the things turtle needs, and keeping OUT all the things that can harm them (sharp rocks for example). Most of the problems you're likely to see are easily prevented. But once your turtle gets sick or damaged, it's crucial to identify the problem quickly and seek appropriate help. If all else fails and you can't identify the
problem from the list on the second article listed above, go see a vet.

Sneezing RES in Russia   3/1/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
Well, my healthiest baby RES is sneezing. He had sneezed a few weeks ago and I didn't pay attention but now every day I catch him sneezing at least twice :( He is 2cm in diameter. Has a basking spot (Exo terra medium sized magnetic floating dock) with 50w Exo terra basking spot lamp at 12cm distance (kept on for 11-12 hours a day) and Exo terra Reptiglo 5.0 at around 15cm (4-5 hours a day). I've bumped up the water temp to 27.5 degree Celsius.
<Too warm.  He's unlikely to bask when he's that warm in the water>
He is eating well-a diet of ReptoMin baby pellets; Sera reptile pellets; Sera reptile mineral pellets; blood worms; occasional shrimp; occasional boiled fish. Right now there is no discharge from the nose or mouth. He has been basking (lately more of it) and eating well too.
<Those are all VERY good signs>
He even started sleeping with half his body on the dock. I would hate to lose him as I've lost two little torts due to lack of knowledge and inadequate habitat. This one was always the healthiest one. I live in Russia so all antibiotics can be purchased over the counter (as far as I know). I can't find a herp since I don't speak the language. I tried keeping him in an elongated luke warm box with warm+cool areas but he seems extremely uneasy and scratches at the edge of the box constantly. It hurts me to seem him like that. Please advise.
<It may be uneasy for him, but we still do what's best>
<The first thing here is not to panic.  A turtle doesn't sneeze the way humans do and when they do expel through their noses, it's not usually due to the kind of cold that we catch.>
<The standard treatment for a suspected respiratory infection is to "dry-dock" the turtle under conditions similar to what you describe.
The fact that he is ACTIVE while you are doing that to him is another REALLY good sign - it means he's healthy and energetic enough to make the effort!>
<What I would do is dry-dock him for two weeks (just as described under isolation treatment. And Meanwhile I'd review this care sheet and check everything in his normal housing against what's here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
Thanks a lot and once again, your site is the best!
<Yer welcome!> 

Re: RES not eating and very sleepy   3/1/12
Hello, I hope you reply soon? I have noticed a new symptom just today.  There is a small and slightly raised pink spot on her neck which I noticed when she was stretched out. As well as this around her neck there seems to be a 'crack'. She is going in the water, and we are putting her in a separate Tupperware for a swim and to try and tempt her to eat. But she still is spending a lot of time basking. Still not eating. I wondered, could the UVA/B light be causing these skin problems?
<That's not likely, Ruth.   The red patch on the skin is sometimes simply an irritation or abrasion from rubbing against the shell above the neck.  We normally see this in obese turtles, but it does happen sometimes on others.>
<The problem, which you've already discovered, is that while the symptoms are there, they're non-specific symptoms -- nothing is dramatic enough to make us go "AHA!" and know what to do next.>
<Ninety degree water is certainly unusual and it presents some big problems.  First, with a "natural" temperature that hot, the turtle will feel no need to bask and the lack of basking reduced the effectiveness of the UV-B radiation.  Also high temps like that will cause an explosion of fungi and bacteria in the water … not usually a problem for a healthy turtle … but when something goes awry and the turtle becomes susceptible, it makes it easy for the fungi or bacteria to take hold>
<All that said, there is nothing specific here, so I'm going to tell you what I’d do if I were there and they were mine:   I'd move them both OUT of an aquatic environment and into a dry environment for now.   Similar to what we call "dry-dock" for a sick turtle -- only something more permanent.  I'd keep them that way, feed them in a separate shallow bucket of water every day for 15 minutes and I'd try to get them at least 15-30 minutes of direct sunlight (unfiltered through glass or window screen) every day … making sure that they're out-door stay had a shaded part they could crawl under.   I'd keep them this way for at least two months.>
<Here's my thinking:  EVERYTHING about the 90 degree water just screams out that there will be problems if the turtle gets sick for other reasons.   What I mean is that the hot water itself is not the problem -- but once there IS a problem, the hot water makes everything worse.  In your part of the world, the steps taken to compensate for the heat is just a part of the keeping process.>
<Also, check your UV lamp - First make sure it truly is a UV-B lamp and not a Plant-Gro or other type of specialty bulb.  Second, make sure it's within its life span - the manufacturers will tell you how many running hours before the UV is reduced to half or even less.  Good luck!> 

Our Red Eared Slider is sick!      2/22/12
<Hi Abi, Sue here.>
We have a RES named Bud (about 3 years old), and he has a respiratory infection. We didn't know it until today, when he stopped moving and was just floating in the water.  I got him out, and we cleaned his tank and put him in a dry one with the heat lamp shining on him.
<That was good you thought to do this.  If the heat lamp is all you have that’s fine, just make sure it’s not too hot (though the temperature should be in the higher (but still) tolerable range for them (around 92-95 degrees).  A heating pad (the cheap drugstore kind without the automatic shut-off) set to *Low* and wrapped in a towel is safer.  See here under *Isolation* for more specific instructions about dry-docking and also further down the page under *Wheezing or bubbly nose*:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
At first, we thought his sluggishness and loss of appetite was due to hibernation, because it's February.
<Indoor turtles don’t hibernate unless your house isn’t heated.>
He had been opening his mouth and sneezing for a while, probably since early January.
<These are in fact signs of a respiratory infection.  Sounds like you didn’t recognize it at the time.  Respiratory infections are particularly hard for turtles to fight off on their own and can worsen fairly rapidly.  An immediate trip to the vet when you see first these signs is the best (and really only) course of action you can take to treat this type of illness.>
This may sound kind of weird, but what I'm wondering is this: how do we know if he's dead? (He was moving just a little when I got him out of the water.) Does he get stiff or something?
<Abi, if you have any doubts at all about whether he’s still alive or not, take him to the vet immediately for injectable antibiotics (assuming he does have a respiratory infection, which from your description sounds likely.  This is the ONLY thing that will save him at this point if he is still alive.  Once at the vet, your vet will be able to confirm whether or not he’s deceased. >
<If he has passed, the crew and I are truly sorry for your loss.  ~Sue>

female with arthritis and keeps tipping upside down   2/21/12
hi there,
<Hi Amanda, Sue here.>
I'm looking for information and advice for my RES. we live in new Zealand and have 2 a male and female. about 6 months ago the females (Tommy) developed a large lump behind her left 'arm' and wouldn't use her arm so we took her to the vet. he said it was nothing to worry about as she could still swim and was eating as usual.
<Well right here we already have a problem.  Whether Tommy could technically swim or not, the fact that she was not using her arm anymore should have prompted the vet to do at least SOME further investigation (i.e. such as a biopsy or blood work).  Also, has her arm been preventing her from being able to climb onto her basking area for the last 6 months?  If so, this should have signaled another potential problem.>
then 3 days ago my husband woke to find Tommy upside down in her tank. he put her on her basking dock and left her there as she was still breathing. when i woke she was back in the tank upside down. we took her to the vet who scanned her and said she has arthritis in her left arm (which still cant be stretched out) but couldn't see any other issues. since then she has been in our how water cupboard as we were advised for keeping her warm,
<Amanda, I’m having a hard time making sense of what you’re writing. When you write us again, please don’t use *txt* language and also to do a spell check and review what you’ve written first before submitting us a query.  We want to help, but to do so effectively, we need to be able to clearly understand the information you're providing us. >
<I’m also not sure what you mean by a *water cupboard*.  However, if what you're saying is that you’re still keeping her in some form of water, you need to remove her from it NOW.  Not only is she at a considerably higher risk of drowning right now, she also needs to be kept warm and DRY, NOT warm and wet, until if/when she fully recovers.  A warm and dry environment (with a UVB light!) will help give her immune system a boost no matter WHAT is going on with her until you can get her the proper treatment she needs. >
<Instructions for how to keep her this way are in the section called *ISOLATION* in the following linked article about turtle diseases.  I’d also highly encourage you to read through the entire article as it discusses various infections, their symptoms and possible treatments:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
she's no longer eating and can only swim in circles and also only walk in circles.
<No longer eating, difficulty staying upright, swimming/walking in circles are all not very encouraging signs to say the least.>
she does however manage to stay upright when i put her into her tank today.  can u please help with what may be wrong and how i can help her?
<First, NO MORE TANK right now!  Immediately read and follow the *Isolation* instructions outlined in the 1st link I gave you. >
<Next, I'd immediately get her seen by ANOTHER vet for a 2nd opinion!  Ideally a herp vet who specializes in turtles.  If not possible, then a vet who sees lots of reptiles or even birds.  Time is not on Tommy’s side right now for any more trial and error.  >
<We unfortunately don’t have the advantage that a vet does of being able to see or examine Tommy from where we are.  However, the behavior you describe is consistent with some sort of systemic infection.  And ANY infection requires prompt treatment by a vet – especially if it’s already been *brewing* for the last 6 months.>
<If it was me, I would first want to get the lump on her arm definitely ruled *in or out* as an abscess.  Abscesses are fairly common with turtles, and under the arm is actually one of the more common places for them to occur.  An untreated abscess can lead to a much more serious systemic infection.  If it does turn out to be an abscess, the only remedy is surgical removal followed by a course of antibiotics.  Her immune system alone will NOT be able to fix this type of problem.  A turtle I rescued once actually DID have an abscess in the exact same spot as yours and she eventually pulled through it just fine.  However she was treated right away while the abscess was still localized. >
<Tommy’s wobbly and erratic swimming behavior is also consistent with a respiratory infection though you didn’t mention any other respiratory like symptoms.  The only treatment with this type of illness is a course of antibiotics which again requires a trip to the vet.  The 1st link I gave you talks a little about respiratory illness, but here is another link that describes it, along with the symptoms, in more detail-
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/turtrespart.htm >
<I do hope you can get Tommy the help she needs in time!  If/when she's all better, here's a link to our basic care guide to make sure you have everything covered -
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Please write us back and give us an update on her, or if you need any clarification at all on any of the articles or any further guidance at all.  We're happy to try to help her get better however we can!  ~Sue>

Re: female with arthritis and keeps tipping upside down   2/28/12

<Hi Amanda!  I ran your situation by another crew member, Darrel, who’s kept and bred turtles for many years and asked him if he’s come across a similar situation to yours.  He said he’s seen arthritis in an X-ray but never a large lump like the one you describe or arthritis in a turtle, so he said it was very strange.  However, it comes down to only one of two possibilities:  either an inflammatory process that’s affecting her mobility and/or causing her pain/stress; or a growth or infection that’s causing the same symptoms and either needs to be treated with antibiotics and/or surgically removed. >
<No matter which, though, I would NOT put Tommy back in the water (as this vet suggested to you) until if and when her mobility is back to normal, and she is behaving and eating normally again.>
<You could try to take her back to the 1st vet and tell her that the lump IS now affecting her ability to eat and swim and see what more she might do for her.  Preferably she (or whatever) vet you take her to is someone who sees/is experienced with turtles, reptiles (or even birds); is someone who is willing/able to do a more complete work-up including blood work (to confirm that there is no infectious process going on); and is someone who would also be comfortable/able to perform minor surgery on her to remove the lump if it does turn out to be a growth or infection.>
<If it turns out to be some chronic inflammatory process and not a growth/infection, then you’ll need to manage her as a *land turtle* going forward because of her risk of drowning.  Believe it or not this can be done successfully even though she is *technically* a semi-aquatic turtle!  She’ll eventually adapt to a dry habitat just fine though you’ll need to take her out for a few (*supervised*) minutes each day to drink, poop, and about 3 times a week or so – to eat.  A plastic storage bin filled with a couple of inches of water will do just fine for this purpose.  If  you see her skin becoming too dried out, just increase her time in the water a bit each day.  Her dry habitat should have both a cool side and a warm side (88-90 degrees F) so she can choose where she wants to be.  A UVB (check to make sure it IS UVB) light should cover the entire enclosure.>
<And if it does turn out to be a chronic inflammatory condition, I’d ask your vet if there are any long term pain medications you can give her so that she's comfortable and motivated enough to eat.>
<Hope this helps – let us know how it goes and write us back if any other questions or concerns come up.  I hope she feels better soon!  ~Sue >

RES Partner died. 2/21/12
<Hi Jackie, Sue here with you.>
One of my turtles passed away last night and I was wondering if it'd be a good idea to get a new one. She never fought with the old one but she did tend to eat most of the food. She's currently about 5 months old so she might not have an issue adapting with a new turtle. I'm currently in collage so There isn't too much space. I'm not sure if that'll be a contributing factor to the decision. Please reply as soon as possible.
<Jackie, I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of your turtle. You didn't give much information to go on to (i.e. how old or how long you had your turtle before he died, a description about the size and make-up of your habitat, what type of care you're providing, etc. However, from what you did write, my answer would be a categorical NO for several reasons!>
<The first (and main reason) is the fact that one of your turtles just died! To me that raises a big red flag that something is not right about either the care or the environment you're providing them - and it should be a red flag for you also! Before rushing out to buy another one, the best way for you to honor the life of your dead turtle is to try to figure out why he died so many years before his time was up (unless he was old when you got him). Turtles are not an expendable commodity. With proper care they can live 40 years or more in captivity! So without question before you buy another one, make absolutely sure that you're providing the one you have left with everything he needs! Start first by reading over this entire care guide, and make whatever changes are necessary in your care and/or his habitat:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Turtles don't need a lot but they MUST at least have the *bare minimum*: a dry basking spot, a UVB light, proper water temperature (68-70 degrees), proper basking temperature (88-90 degrees), and a proper diet. If you compromise on any one of these things, your turtles WILL become sick and die. If you are not or cannot provide them with their basic needs then by all means do not buy another one, and moreover, save the life of your remaining one and give him away to someone who can. >
<And if you already rushed out and bought a 2nd one before trying to determine why your other one just died, I'd return him as soon as possible!>
<Secondly, turtles don't need (or want) companions. They compete with each other for resources. Don't buy another one just so they can grow up together or because you're afraid your one turtle might be lonely. These are myths! Turtles also eventually become VERY large and will require much more later on - and the more you have, the more of your time and effort will be required!>
<Next, you didn't give the dimensions of your enclosure, but if you have them in a dorm room, my guess is your enclosure is very small. As a rule, the smaller the enclosure, the more likely they are to become stressed and have compatibility issues if forced to occupy the same space together. Small enclosures are difficult if not impossible to set up in a way that allows them to each have their own private space to physically and visually get away from each other (as they would be able to do in nature), and at the same time also allow them enough room to swim about freely (as they are also able to do in nature, and which is an important quality of life factor for them). >
<And finally, last (but not least!) I don't know how college life is for you, but I know I barely had time to care for ME when I was in college! :) >
Thank you!
<You're welcome Jackie. I realize this may be hard advice to read, but truly the best advice I can give you is to focus on your studies right now AND to make sure that you're providing the proper care for your remaining turtle. See how this goes first and then wait until you're OUT of college - and see what other changes await you in life - before deciding whether to get any more turtles!>

Red Eared Slider's ears not red?    2/2/12
Hi there!
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My wife and I have a 1.5 yr. old Red Eared Slider about 5-6 inches long.
<Congratulations!  Is it a boy or girl?  Are cigars in order?>

We have him in a 20 gallon tank with a good filtration system and a large basking area, with both heat and UVB lights. He basks a lot, several hours each day, and is also an active swimmer. He feeds well and eats his calcium bones regularly. Lately, we have noticed that his "red ears" are no longer a bright red.
<hmmm '¦>
They are now a grayish color, almost as if the red is covered up by grayish-brown skin. Is this alright or could it be indicative of a health problem?
<Oddly, it could be either>
His shell was also flaking more than usual, so we started using the Tetra Turtle Vita Shell- Shell and Skin Conditioner just this week. We have seen an improvement in his shell (i.e. less flaking), but no change in his ear color. The tips of his "ears," closest to his eyes, are still a bright red, but the part of his ears that is typically covered by his "turtle neck" are discolored. Thanks for your help! Horace Pemberton III appreciates it.
<Well, the good news here is that Horace is not in pain.  Nor is this a critical issue.  But it is a bit strange.   The first thing to think, which you have already thunk - is that he's dirty or that he's having a problem shedding.  To test this, dip a Q-Tip (technically that is a "Q-Tip Brand Cotton Swab on a Stick") in some household vinegar.  White vinegar is best, cider vinegar is OK but do NOT use Balsamic vinegar (unless Horace is one of those snooty, euro-centric health vegan turtles).  Anyway '¦ when you hold him and tuck his little front feet IN '¦ he'll have to stick his neck OUT and then you can swab it.  Expect Horace to be a bit offended and hold this against you for a few weeks.  See if any color (gray) comes off on your swab.>
<If this doesn't do it, check his diet.   Repto-min floating food sticks and/or an un-dyed Koi pellet (I used Kay-Tee brand) in case his skin is coloring due to a dye in the food>
<lastly '¦ fill a shallow bowl with about 2 quarts of lukewarm water and dissolve in 2 tablespoons of salt.  Give Horace a bath like that for 15 minutes twice a week.>
<then write back in about 2 weeks>
All the best,
<Back at ya!>

7 year old Red Eared Slider with pink under tail    2/2/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My daughter's 7 year old Red Eared Slider, Skippy, has had a pink tinge to his skin on the underside of his tail and on his rear claw skin. We spoke with our vet last week and he advised to take Skippy out of his tank every day for 3-4 hours so he could completely dry out. We have done that each day. The pink tinge is also now near his neck on what would be our shoulders. Also, today, he has spent an unusual amount of time on his basking dock, moving very little, mostly staying in the same position other than moving his head in and out of his shell and looking around. He ate his ReptoMin this morning but not all of it. This is all very unusual for him. We have checked his water temp, basking temp, etc. His tank is cleaned once a month and the filter changed.  Any advice would be helpful. We plan to call his vet tomorrow but it would set our daughter's mind at ease if she felt he would be ok.
<Well, the first thing that comes to mind is simple dye coloration.   Is Skippy's basking rock one of those 'red brick-looking' stones you buy?  Or is it an actual red brick?  Anything like that?>
<The next thing is a colored dye in something Skippy eats?  Hopefully not>
<Now from THAT, we get into medical issues.   Pink skin can be a sign of Septicemia, which is bad - but very unusual.  I mean VERY unusual.  We normally see that in turtles that are so sick they've stopped all feeding and movement for a month '¦ not Skippy's case.>
<Does Skippy have a UV-B lamp next to his basking lamp?  When he basks to get warm, he needs to absorb UV-B which comes from a special lamp - not through glass or screen.  Read here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm >
<Also, his water temp should be no higher than room temperature (unless you live North of the Arctic Circle)>
<The thing about turtles like Skippy is that when they get sick or even a bit run down, the natural aquatic environment that is their home can become their enemy:  when they're not feeling well, the warm & moist world gives a leg up to the bugs and germs, so what I suggest is this:  Let's give Skippy  2 week vacation.   Let's keep him somewhere warm and DRY where he's under UV-B 24 hours a day.   Again: read here about warm, dry isolation:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<Once he gets accustomed (a few days) we should see him being bright and alert and actively feeding when you place him in water>

turtle passing blood through vomit    1/5/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a *Red Eared Slider* of 1.6yrz who is approximately of palm size. Recently, he has developed a swelling around his neck and after two days he started passing fresh blood through his vomit.
<this is serious>
i consulted a vet but he was not able to  diagnosed the problem. I think he has a eye infection based on the description in your site his eyes have become puffy and he is being shedding lot of skin in the tank.
<When combined with the other symptoms, the puffy eyes and the shedding indicate that he is in fact quite sick>
Please if there is anything we can do to help save him I would greatly appreciate it.  Thank you so much for your help.
waiting for your reply.
<Well, lets see here.  The main problem is that you have a wide range of symptoms that require different treatment.  The swelling around the neck and vomiting blood are acute symptoms that normally require urgent care, but then - what are we to do?  It's not like we can do a laproscopy to see the digestive tract nor are we likely to do surgery to correct what we might find.>
<This is one of the sad situations where we can treat what we CAN treat and make the pet as comfortable as possible and hope that nature can repair him for us.>
<The first thing is to get him out of the warm, wet environment and someplace warm and dry.  This will make her life easier and less stressful.   Read here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
<If he's eating, find some chicken of beef liver and feed him small pieces of that.  The vitamin A will help the swollen eyes if it's from a vitamin deficiency.  If it's more serious and it's part of an infection in the neck and head, then it won't help '¦ but in any case it won't hurt.>
<If your veterinarian is willing, a course of Baytril injections (diluted in saline) may knock down an underlying infection that is causing the problems.>
<I wish I could tell you more, but in a case with so many symptoms and an inconclusive diagnosis from a veterinarian, all we can do is what we know helps them>

Red Eared Slider question, abnormal foot    1/5/12
Dear WWM crew,
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I've been scanning through your turtle FAQ, couldn't find anything similar though. In recent years my 9 year old Red Eared Slider's been weak, not eating so much and lost weight.
<As they mature they will have less of an appetite - to match they're slower growth rate.  LOSING weight is unusual, unless they were chubby as juveniles, then it does happen>
When I took her to the vet before they couldn't diagnose any concrete disease but that her blood is abnormally thin (as if she had been hit by a car or dropped from very high place and lost a lot of blood, which hasn't happened) which would explain her lack of strength, but they said they couldn't do much about it and that she might pass on soon.
<that seems strange to me.  Animals that lose blood and don't die as a result then replenish that blood.>
However she's still been alive and kicking since then, still weaker then before but maintained an even energy level.
<They are very resilient animals>
Why I'm writing to you know is because the other day I noticed that her rear feet doesn't look as they usually do.  She has had a history of being bitten there by her fellow turtles in the tank so she did have some scar originally but now it looks like in the attached picture on both "heel's".
<It's an interesting picture>
It's as if her skin has been pulled back in the heel and then formed some kind of crater?
<Looks like skin forming around scar tissue from way over here.>
It's a bit hard poking there and when I do, she pulls her legs back in, I'm not sure cause it hurts or just because she's always been a little careful.  Any idea on what it could be?
<Really hard to say from on-line, Sofia.  This sort of thing requires a physical diagnosis, but I sure wouldn't go back the veterinarian that diagnosed "thin blood">
<I think you should look online in your local area for a Turtle and Tortoise Club or Society.  If you can find one, I'm sure you can find a local person who is an 'old hand' at home diagnosis and treatment.   Beyond that, read here -- you COULD treat the heels as if they were physical injuries '¦ dry-dock her, treat with topical antibiotics for a week, etc.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm >
Thanks a lot!
<Yer welcome!>

Please help-Sick Red Eared Slider  -- 1/3/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
This mail comes to you from a place where we do not have Vets who can treat turtles. We have a Red Eared Slider who is my baby. I do not know his age as he was with another family who moved out and gave him to us. He has been with us for 3 yrs. His length is about 8 inches (which may tell you his age).
<That is a fully grown, female turtle>
For the last few days I have noticed the following 3 problems:
1) His skin (around the web and neck area) has turned pink or light red.
2) The shell (where it peaks -right in the center) is going white around the edges.
3) I feel a very faint skin like membrane peeling off from his skin around the neck.

<These are not GOOD things '¦ but then not necessarily signs of serious illness, either>
The major change in recent times has been his food. We used to feed him turtle food pellets, however in the last few weeks it has been unavailable and hence we are feeding him dry shrimp (which may have a lot of salt content).
<High salt content, high fat content - AND certain organic dyes that can cause skin color changes>
He loves it more than the pellets,
<We all like junk food better than healthy food>
However it may not contain the vitamins /calcium that he needs which are normally there in turtle food.
<When normal pellets aren't available, try vegetables like corn, romaine (which she probably won't like), you can also try to find a bit of chicken liver.>
He is kept in a tub where we have made an arrangement where he can climb to a dry area for basking. His water is changed everyday and I give him a bath (just keeping him under flowing water and very gently rubbing the shell to clean any dirt if any) every alternate day. Being winter we keep him in slightly warm water. He basks for nearly 5-6 hrs. Sometimes he stays up on the platform for even 8 hrs coming down from his perch only late in the evening.
<That part sounds fine>
My question is if all the above problems are due to some deficiency or is it some kind of infection.
<It doesn't sound serious enough to be an infection.>
If it's an infection please please guide me how I can treat it at home and get him well as soon as possible. My friends scared me that it is some kind of infection which has spread to his blood and it's very serious. Please tell me it isn't
<A pink or reddish skin tone CAN come from a septic infection and that is VERY serious -- BUT that almost always happens after a serious injury or a prolonged illness - and the coloration is almost always involving ALL the skin, not just the neck area.>
And if it is then pls email me the immediate remedy to cure my baby.
<My guess is that the skin has a tinge due to dyes in the food, the shell is white due to mineral deposits in the water and the skin is otherwise normally shedding>
I await your reply very eagerly.
Thanks and much regards,
<First, Sharda, fix the diet.  No more shrimp.  She likely won't WANT the vegetables, but maybe will eat some sort of meat.  Hopefully the pellets will become available soon.>
<Beyond that, swab the skin with a cotton swab or cloth dipped in ordinary household vinegar.  It's OK to drop right on the skin, try not to drip any in her nose or eyes, but if a bit of that happens don't worry - it might sting a little but it won't hurt her otherwise.>
<Mainly, watch for the normal signs.  Is she active, bright and alert?  If you place her on the floor in your room, does she eventually come out of her shell, look around and then move?>
<If she's active, alert, swimming and basking and she continues to eat a better diet, then the chances are that she's just fine>
Re: Please help-Sick RES    1/5/12

Hi Darrel!
Thank you so much for your reply answering all my queries and most importantly to putting my mind to rest that nothing serious is wrong with my baby..
<Glad I could help!>
Since Ii sent you the mail I changed his diet from dry shrimps to fresh water fish (cat fish from the river). He has been eating it for the last 4 days. The colour of his skin is I think gradually changing. The skin around the neck has got its original color back..Its now the skin around the web which needs to come to normal.
<Most people don't realize that the Great Flamingo is WHITE in color.  They get pink because they eat a shellfish that contains that pink color>
I shall try and swab the white spots on the top of the shell with vinegar. We do have hard water in the tap. We normally use filtered water for him in the tub but it being winter we fill the tub with warm water from the tap which cant be filtered and that's why maybe the shell has the mineral deposits.
<And remember, small amounts of mineral deposits in no way hurt him>
I don't notice the shedding of the skin anymore..so I guess he is done with it.
<It goes in cycles, but now you know what to look for>
By the way from the net i found that he is a male.. As his nails are long and his tail is also long..(unlike a female). Sorry I had not provided you with these details. However i am still unable to ascertain his age.
<His age is really only important to him - for you and I - baby, juvenile, sub-adult, adult and geriatric are all we'd ever need anyway>
After receiving your mail I tried feeding him romaine lettuce but he refuses to eat it ..in fact he took it in his mouth n spat it out ...just like a human baby...so i guess i have to devise ways to mince it with his fish and feed him...
<I don't eat Romaine either>
He is pretty active, swimming, basking, going around the house...we leave him around for about an hour on the floor for some exercise..and he happily roams about and when he is done he comes back to his tub. He loves to sit on my lap n shoulder and pat me on my cheeks with both his front legs. I have read on the net that that's how they try to attract a female..but am happy in the thought that he is showing his affection to me.
<He probably is, they have very individual personalities>
Am really grateful to you for your response.
<Thank you for your kind words>
If you or any of your crew member ever come to India pls let us know and we would be glad to have you over.
<I'll pass that on to Bob, our leader.  He is a world traveler (often barely one step ahead of Interpol) and may very well get to India one day.><<I too thank you for your kind invite. RMF>>
Warm regards,
<Sharda, it was our pleasure to help you!>

Re: Please help-Sick RES     1/24/12
Just writing to tell you that my baby's doing well. Have been feeding him river fish and his color is back to normal. Attached is a pic of him,
<That's a handsome Slider!>
Thanks once again for your help.
<You are most welcome! Tell your friends about us!>


Red Eared Slider Skin Issue -- 12/19/11
Hi there,
<Hey there! Ho there! Hiya - Darrel here>
I had a question about one of my Red Eared Sliders.
I've had them for about 2 1/2 years - rescued them from a dorm bathroom at my undergrad, so they are probably older.
<I wonder how long they'd been living in a bathroom -- and what kind of housekeeping service wouldn't notice a turtle in the bathtub?>
I last saw my turtles in August, so I'm also not sure how long this has been an issue.
<Do they take frequent trips?  Or is this some sort of shared custody thing?  Who feeds them every day?>
I noticed that on one of the turtles, the skin around his hind legs is really reddish. His front legs are a little bit but not nearly as noticeable. His behavior is normal otherwise: he eats his regular amount, swims actively, and fights his sister for the prime sunning rock. Any ideas?
<Well, it depends.   The two usual culprits are excessive amounts of red dye in the food they're eating (they should be eating Koi Pellets or Repto-Min food sticks, neither of which contain any red dye) or stained from the water:  Some people use red bricks or roofing tiles as basking areas and both of those can leach a dye into the water.>
<The reason we look for superficial things here is that a systemic redness of the entire skin surface can also be a sign of sepsis - a systemic infection of the body - and since that's almost impossible to treat by the time it shows, we'd rather look for things we CAN fix.>
<Swab the area with alcohol on a Q-Tip (Q-Tip brand cotton swabs!) and see if the color comes off.  In any case as long as he's eating, active and alert '¦ swims, basks and fights with his sister '¦ I'd just keep an eye out for it getting worse and not worry too much>

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