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FAQs About Red Ear Slider Turtle Disease/Health: Parasites

Related Articles: Treating Common Illnesses of the Red Ear Slider (& other Emydid Turtles) by Darrel Barton, The Care and Keeping of the Red Eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans 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,

Related FAQs:  RES Disease/Health 1, RES Disease/Health 2, RES Disease 3, RES Health 4, RES Health 5, RES Health 6, RES Health 8, RES Health 9, RES Health 10, & 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, References,
& Sliders 1, Sliders 2, Red Eared Slider Identification, RES Behavior, RES Compatibility, RES Selection, RES Systems, RES Feeding, RES Reproduction,



red ear slider with worms?    3/23/14
hello i have a two and a half inch RES and she looks like she might have tapeworms.
<The technical term here is ... EWWWWW!>
I take care of her and feed her freeze dried shrimps and baby pellets.
<Sounds good>
Yesterday i looked at her and there was a few inch string hanging from her anus. i pulled it out with no problem, but I'm just wondering if i NEED to go to the vet or if she even has tapeworms.
<No. Without seeing what you're seeing it's hard to make a diagnosis, but usually they get the worms from contaminated live foods such as feeder goldfish. In your case, take her out of the tank, wash the tank and everything in it with soap and water, refill and get on with your happy lives. You MAY need to repeat that once or twice over the next six weeks, but usually turtles excrete their intestinal parasites and the cycle will break if you keep the tank clean>


Red Eared Slider issue     1/5/13
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I took a good look on the site and could not find an answer to my particular issue so far. I have a RES who I rescued so I am not sure of his age but he is over 4 and under 6 years.
<Thank you for the rescue!>
I noticed tiny white worms in his water
<Parasites.  Often from a misguided attempt to feed the turtle live food, such as feeder guppies>
and gave everything a good cleaning.  Immediately after I noticed him exhibiting a behavior where he seems hungry and eager to eat (as usual he is a piggy) yet instead of going for his pellets wipes repeatedly at his mouth and then abandons the idea of eating. He has done this for a few days now and has not eaten at all, leaving me to retrieve his uneaten pellets and planning for a possible vet visit. Any ideas?
 Is it related to the worms or circumstantial?
<Probably related.   Here's what usually happens.  Whatever chemicals were used to clean and disinfect the tank were not completely rinsed away.  So they little guy is swimming just fine, sees food, opens his mouth - and suddenly gets a mouthful of chemical-water (ick!) and spits everything back out.>
<Here's the easy fix:  Take him out of the tank and place him in a bowl of luke warm tap water about 2 inches deep.   As soon after he settles down, place the pellets in the water and let him eat in that.>
<Meanwhile, drain the water from the tank and refill with new and you'll dilute the bad taste>
Thank you! 

Re: Red Eared Slider issue     1/13/13
Hi Darrel,
Thank you for the response!
<No charge!>
Yes I did feed him feeder fish (thanks PetSmart) so yes I see that's probably where the worms came from. I won't repeat that. He has no taste for fresh food so for now we will stick to his ReptoMin pellets.
<I feed Koi Pellets to all my sliders, Cooters, Softshells and even snappers all the way from hatchlings to adult breeders.   It's essentially the same diet as Repto-min - just less expensive.>
However I only used Dawn soap and boiling water to clean everything and rinsed it very well.
So I would not think it would be a chemical taste in the water.
<I don't know what Dawn tastes like>
I will go try a separate feed bowl and see if he is interested, over the last few days he seems less interested in eating now.
<It's been stressful for him, so I'm not surprised>
If the water change doesn’t work do you have any other ideas? Do you think he needs a parasite medicine?
<No … the worms aren't as much a problem for him as they are for you - they foul the water and you are the one that has to clean it.>
<I found this set of instructions I wrote years ago - if you continue to have problems, do it this way:
Basic sterilization technique
First find a temporary home for the living things {that you care about} in the tank then fill their tank an extra inch higher than normal and add 1/2 cup of bleach for every 5 gallons of actual water (not tank size, but actual water volume).
Next, remove your filter media and throw it away but keep your filters running during this sterilization -- assume that the worms or their eggs are everywhere the water touched or went.
Now, run the entire setup for 24 hours (make sure you have ventilation - chlorine fumes are bad news) and then drain, refill with clean tap water (1 inch higher than normal) and then run for 4 hours
Finally, now you can break down the setup, rinse the rocks, ramps, stones & hoses under running water from the sink … and then -- refill with tap water, run the setup and then reintroduce the pets.
The best thing about chlorine bleach is that it dissipates naturally, so if there is any residual chlorine at all, it will go away on it’s own.>
Thanks so much!
<Yer welcome!>


parasites    2/8/12
<Hiya - Darrel here>
I have a female red eared slider. She is 11yrs. old.
She is very restless , wheezing and I am noticing what I believe to be worms coming out .
<Um … coming out of where?>
On this site I read about using a Piperazine to kill them. I found a product at the local Tractor Supply store called Wazine. Can I use this for the parasites?
<While the products are related, we have no reports of effectiveness in turtles and even if it didn't kill her we have no dosing information for use in reptiles. This is a clear case that would call for a veterinarian to prescribe the proper medicine and course of treatment. In fact, most people never stop to think that even the "right" medicine but not in the right dose or at the right time can be lethal>
Please let me know what to do. Thanks
<First, the wheezing sounds like perhaps she is generally run down and in such a debilitated condition, internal parasites that are normal in small amounts have simply taken over.>
<My first recommendation is a visit to a qualified veterinarian, but failing that, house and treat her as written here under the section Respiratory Infections. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treating%20RES%20Dis%20DarrelB.htm  to be honest I'm MUCH more concerned about the possible respiratory condition than any parasites.>


Red eared slider question 7/25/09
<Hiya - Darrel here>
My red eared slider has a white long stringy thing coming out of her cloaca (anus)
it is white and has come out about two weeks before and then it stopped.
<Do you mean she's pooping white stringy things? Or it's the same white stringy thing that hangs out for a while, then disappears only to return again another day?>
I had recently moved her to a new location and she seem to be stressed so I moved her back, and went back to her normal self.
<New location? Another tank? A different city? What's different about the other location that would be stressful?>
I was wondering what this could be, is this a parasite and how do I help
her,(get rid off this).
<My guess is that it's a worm of some sort. The proper treatment for the turtle is a course of an anti-parasitic such as Metronidazole. but this is NEVER to be done without an veterinary exam. What you can do is mix a shallow bowl full of lukewarm water and 6 Tbs of salt and soak the turtle for 15 minutes daily. Just enough water level to cover the cloaca. This won't stop the life cycle of the worms but often it debilitates them just enough that the turtle's own metabolism can resist them. Also, take this time to completely break down the tank and wash, rinse and sterilize everything.>
<The proper course of action is to remove the turtles to a temporary home and sterilize the tank by adding chlorine bleach. One cup per gallon of water [approx 75ml per liter] (not the size of your tank, but actual volume of water - including filters). Let the setup run for 24 hours, drain & rinse well with fresh water, then break it down and wash with soap (such as dish detergent). Fill again and run the setup for 24 hours, then drain, rinse and refill. This is a long process, but you have to kill the worms and any larva and/or eggs that they've left behind. This is why we run the setup with the filter and gravel and basking areas, etc. - every area the contaminated water could touch.>

Turtle With Possible Parasite Problem    5/2/06 Hi WWM Crew: I have a red eared slider who is having some trouble.  He has developed a puffy lump on the back of his neck.  Although I checked all of the other posts, my situation seems a little different.  It seems that this swelling is moving into one of his legs.  Not as badly, but there is still some minor swelling.  The one on his neck is humongous, and I am afraid that it is going to pop or something.  He is active though, and his eyes are clear.  He has also been basking regularly, but not excessively.  Also, in the past day, his poop looks different.  It looks like little tiny worms, but they are not moving.  Following some of the other advice that I read on your website, I bought the sulfa dip, and I am on the 2nd day of the treatment. I am really, really concerned.  I have combed the internet for answers, and I'm desperate to help him get better. Thank you so much for your time, Helma < Take a fecal sample to a vet to check for parasites. After a proper diagnosis is made they can administer the correct medication. Deworming medication for turtles is different than medication used for treating  other reptiles.-Chuck>Turtle With Possible Parasite Problem II    5/2/06 I think that the worm like things might have come from the Dr. Turtle that has been in the water. < I doubt it. Thousands of these have been sold without any "worms" being observed.-Chuck> Turtle With Possible Parasite Problem III    5/4/06 Hello, I contacted Dr. Turtle and they have said that it was probably debris that got into the sulfa block, and that no parasites could survive the cooking process.  Any other suggestions as to why my turtle has a puffy neck?  It looks like a humongous fluid filled blister. Thanks so much for your time, Helma < Take your turtle to a vet! NOW!  There is nothing we can say or do to make your turtle better.-Chuck>


Turtles With Worms, Algae   4/1/06 I recently purchased two baby RES turtles, Crush and Squirt. I have done much research on taking care of them and so far so good. I have encountered a   few questionable situations. I am hoping you can provide some info to the following concerns: 1. Both sliders are the same size but one seems to be more "afraid" than  the other and frantically makes a mad dash when I walk by. I have  never seen him eat but because of his shyness I don't stick around to  observe. The other baby will sometimes even eat food from my  hand and pop his head out of the water to say hi. I know that it  will take some time for them to get used to their new home,  but comparing their behaviors make me wonder if the scared turtle is  suffering from something. Is this normal behavior or do I need to treat   somehow? I also have an adult RES in a separate tank right next to Crush and   Squirt. Could the view of Sparky be intimidating Squirt and causing this scared behavior? < Slowly approach the tank once each day to feed the turtles. Feed the turtles as much as they will eat at one time a few times a week. In a while they will start to associate you with food and will be very eager to see you.> 2. I clean their tanks regularly and they are equipped with their own heaters, filters, and basking lamp with island. I keep the water temp. at 80   degrees and their basking lamps stay on. I mainly feed them pellets and cooked chicken seems to be the older turtles favorite! I read that older RES should  have more of a veggie diet but he loves chicken. Will feeding him mainly  pellets and meat cause health problems? What more can I do to ensure happy  turtles? < They really need more veggies in the way of kale and spinach. Commercial adult turtle diets have more vegetable matter in it too. Turtles with too much protein start to get deformed shells.> 3. The biggest concern I have comes from a recent experience with the  baby turtle tank involving sudden appearance and rapid multiplication of algae  with white stringy worms. At first I did not notice that they were worms until I concentrated and noticed they were wiggling around. It came as a shock to  me how fast the "worm algae" multiplied and stuck to the glass wall. I  noticed though that the worms were much larger in numbers where the basking lamp   reflected off the water. I cleaned the tank with boiling water and a mild vinegar/water solution. Could these worms get inside my babies and cause  health  problems? What causes this and what can I do to prevent it from  happening again?   Thank You. Sincerely, Amberley < Chances are the worms are feeding off the algae. Treat the tank with Fluke tabs to get rid of the worms. After each feeding vacuum up any waste and excess food. This should help keep the algae down.-Chuck>



Can red ear sliders carry worms? We have two small red ear slider turtles and we put them for a few minutes in a small tank we have with ghosts shrimps that our kids enjoy watching. After the turtles swam a while they were taken out and returned to their "homes." Shortly after I notices a long white thin string looking thing in the aquarium with the shrimps that I took to be turtle poop, even though I thought it was odd. A few days later, it was still in the aquarium and while I watched the shrimp swim after their food, I noticed that the "turtle poop" was moving and coiling up and straightening out. The thing is alive. <I imagine that was quite the eye opener...> It makes my skin crawl. <I know what you mean.> It could only have come from the turtles. All we have in the small tank are 7 ghosts shrimps and this thing was not in there until we put the turtles in there to see if they enjoyed it. <Pretty positive that it's an parasitic worm that was in one of the turtles.> Is this possible and should I worry about my children who handle these turtles? <You should always be careful with your children when handling turtles.  Not only for parasites, but also you should be wary of Salmonella.  While usually we associate worms with pet dogs and cats there are many different types of worms that will infest pet reptiles.  The most dangerous of these are called Pentastomid worms, this is probably not the worm in your tank. Those worms are found in the lungs of the turtle and rarely are seen outside the body.  But, I would like to share some info just to give you a bit of warning! They are found in many different animals from snakes, crocodiles, to turtles and lizards.  The eggs of this worm are microscopic and can be numerous in a tank.  If children should put their hands in the water and then eat something they can ingest the eggs.  This isn't meant to scare you away from keeping turtles, just a fact that parents should know.  To treat for these parasites, allow the turtle to dry out for a couple of hours and then place the turtle in a solution of Piperazine for about thirty minutes.>   The We had 3 and one turtle just died one day and we couldn't figure out why. No noticeable infections or anything. Our other turtle looks perfectly fine but the smaller one seems to have lost it's eye sight somewhat. It's always rubbing at his eyes with it's little hands and we have to guide the food into it's mouth because it has trouble finding it. Please take the time to let me know what you think is going on. Do turtles carry intestinal worms? I appreciate your time and hope to hear from you soon. <I suggest you check out some turtle forums to learn more on turtle care.  A really nice article on turtle health can be found here   http://www.geocities.com/dterrapin/disease/  (though, it's a bit hard to read with the green on black type...)  I have found the info to be quite well written and offers many good links to learn more.> Thank you, Maria G. Gonzalez <By washing after handling a herp and by keeping herp cages clean, any risk of disease will be minimized. -Magnus>

Suggested answer to a recent Daily FAQ post
Hello there, was looking through the Daily FAQ today (2/21.5) and noticed this post/response: Can red ear sliders carry worms? What caught my eye about it was the presence of ghost shrimp in the tank. Just wanted to note a semi-recent topic on the WWM forums: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=3&thread=16157&tstart=15&trange=15 Allivymar had a ghost shrimp with a worm recently and posted photos of the worm, both in and out of the shrimp. I recently encountered one of these as well (I'm DonQuixote on the forums) with a shrimp I purchased recently. The person who sent in the question about the turtles might want to give the photos a look and see if it's similar. If so, the worm might've been in one of the shrimp rather than a turtle. I never even thought to look at ghost shrimp for these things until seeing photos of them both here and on another forum recently. Hope this helps,        Chris Sandusky <Does. Thank you for sending your note. Bob Fenner>
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