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FAQs About Red Ear Slider Turtle Disease/Health: References

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 7, 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, Parasitic,

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

There's some advice on finding a 'herp vet' listed here: http://www.anapsid.org/vets/







ISBN: 978-0721652085 Reptile Medicine and Surgery by Douglas R. Mader

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!>

Help Needed with my Red Eyed Slider Turtle, blood, hlth., Vet.  -- 06/9/10
Hi !!!
<Hi Sameer!! Sue here with you.>
Need help... I have a pair of Red Eyed Turtle-
<they are actually called Red Eared Slider Turtles>
males- aged approximately 3.5 years. I noticed small blood spots around Cadbury's ( my turtle's name) anal area this afternoon. I fed it, and it ate food as usual. I then washed its anal region with Dettol added in water and applied Soframycin skin cream near its bleeding anal region. I will be taking him to the Vet, however I would really appreciate your insights on this. It does have long nails and it has never been sick until today. Please advise.
< My first thought was like yours that your turtle should be seen as soon as possible by a veterinarian. However, in response to your question about offering additional advice, I checked with another colleague to see if there was anything additional he could offer you. He agreed that first and foremost anything involving blood is an indication that the turtle needs to be seen by a veterinarian - preferably a herp veterinarian who specializes in turtles. Nothing we have or can offer will substitute for an experienced, hands on examination. Aside from that, he said that sometimes turtles can ingest small stones from the gravel bed that tear up their insides as they pass. If it's small enough TO pass, then it does little damage and the tears heal. However, if it keeps bleeding, then any form of treatment is merely treating only the symptom ...making it even more incumbent that you seek veterinary help. Meanwhile...keep the area warm and DRY until it heals. 1 turtle tank + a cut is an invitation to infection.>
Thanks & Regards, Sameer
<You're welcome, Sameer. I hope your turtle gets better. Please let us know how it turns out!>
Re: Help Needed with my Red Eyed Slider Turtle -- 06/9/10
Hello Sue and WWM team,
<Hello, Sameer!>
Thanks a lot for replying back and your valuable feedback.
<You're welcome! I'm glad it was of some help.>
Here are few updates:
1) I have been unable to locate a herp Veterinarian around and am still searching for one in my city who specializes in turtles.
<If you find you are unable to locate one in your area through your own search, you may want to check out this link and see if it helps:
This is a respected website, with links on this page to specialized reptile vets all around the world. Hopefully, there will be someone on the list for you that's at least within a reasonable distance from where you live. It's always helpful to have the name and phone number of a good veterinarian handy just in case of an emergency'¦ though it may turn out that you might have to drive several hours to see one (which is even more of a reason to have that information handy when needed so less time you need to spend conducting a search for one when you're in the middle of a crisis)! Check also to see if there are any reptile associations near where you live. If so, this could potentially be another good resource for you.>
2) With regards to the bleeding part, it's not bleeding anymore ( nor was there a blood flow yesterday) but rather there was a blood stain around its anal region which really panicked me.
<I can certainly understand that, I would have reacted the same way. I'm glad to see that you haven't noticed anymore blood stains. Perhaps then it might have been something he swallowed that irritated or scraped the inside of his intestines. Just keep a watch out for any further blood stains '¦which from your very well thought out messages, I can tell you already are!>
3) As mentioned earlier and pointed by you, I am only placing Cadbury in water tank when I have to feed him that's barely 15/20 min.s. And have been washing his tail region with a Dettol added luke warm water, drying his tail and then applying the Soframycin cream ( This cream is usually prescribed by doctors for treating wounds, helps in disinfecting the wound as well) and I hold him in my hand for 20/30 minutes to let the cream marinate in his skin. Did this trice a day yesterday and twice today.
<Sounds like you are taking very good care of Cadbury! He is lucky to have you watching out for him!!>
4) Secondly, he has been behaving very normally as always, begs for food, eats well too, walks every where in the house, sleeps in his regular place ( under my bed) and fights with the Poppins ( my 2nd turtle) when I placed him in tank with him.
<This is more good news! (Except for the fighting, sounds like some discipline is in order!>
These are a few updates for now. I shall anyways be taking him to a Vet, as soon as I find one in my city and let you know the details.
<Please try out the above link and see if that helps. If not, and you're still having difficulty, I'll see if anyone else on the crew might have some recommendations for you.>
Thank you so very much for your time. Have a beautiful day ahead and God Bless you and all you folks who work for the website.
<You're very welcome. And thank you for your kind wishes, same for you and Cadbury. Please let us know if any further concerns arise with him!>
Thanks & Regards,

I think my turtle is sick! 1/15/09 Ok I'm freaking out.....I just noticed that my one of my sliders has developed a bump on the side of his neck and his eye (on the same side where the bump is) is a little pink in the corner. The water is partially changed once a week and I have treated the water with Turtle clean. There are five turtles total in the tank. I have added a ReptoGuard tablet and I want to know if there is anything else I should do? <Without seeing a photo of the turtle, it is difficult to be sure, but this sounds like either a tumour, some type of sub-dermal infection and swelling, or perhaps a nutritional imbalance similar to goiter in humans caused by a poor diet. In any case, your turtle will need to be taken to see a vet. Do understand that you don't have any options here, unless you're happy leaving an animal to suffer. Internal problems generally can't be treated at home. There's some advice on finding a 'herp vet' listed here: http://www.anapsid.org/vets/ Since most problems with turtles are caused by improper care, the easiest way to prevent sickness is to understand the needs of your turtles. Be sure to review Daniel Barton's article, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/RESCareBarton.htm In particular, note the non-negotiable requirements for space, warmth, green foods, and UV-B lighting. Miss out on any of these, and your turtles WILL get sick. Cheers, Neale.>

Turtle twitching/shaking head rapidly 1/7/08 I have a red eared slider that was kind of dumped on me by a friend who was neglecting it, but since then I have taken very good care of him. He is about a year old, maybe a little younger. He has a large tank with a water heater, a swimming area and a dry area with a proper basking lamp, and the temperatures are fine and the water is clean and his diet his healthy. (I've done a lot of research since I first got him). Yesterday I noticed the he was acting VERY strangely. <Oh?> He is basking much more then usual and when he is on his log he seems very agitated. He flicks his arms and legs out quickly and shakes his head back and forth rapidly. <Hmm... not typical for solitary turtles.> It almost looks like he is trying to scratch his face, but he does flick his back legs a lot also. It is very bizarre to watch and it has me really worried! I love the little guy :( He also constantly turns around on the log in between the twitching, and he will often jump into the water only to quickly come back out. <Agree its odd, but unless there are reasons to suspect disease or vitamin deficiency, I'm not sure its indicative of anything (at least, not to me). Let's assume your turtle has access to UV-B light (do check this: not all basking lamps are UV-B, some are UV-A, and some just plain regular light). Let's further assume that it's getting a balanced diet rich in greens and not too rich in anything containing thiaminase (for example, shrimp or fish). The issue here is that thiaminase and lack of UV-B cause vitamin deficiencies, and among the possible problems are damage to the nerves, and this can indeed manifest itself as odd movements such as convulsions. Although not particularly common in turtles because most species are more or less herbivorous, this is a serious problems for things like garter snakes often given a fish-based diet.> When he is in the water he seems fine, and his eyes are as bright and alert as always. He is a very active turtle but I've never seen him do this. It's almost like he is having a seizure. <At least some of these behaviours might be social, for example threat behaviours aimed at you. But I don't really know, and haven't heard of these sorts of problems in turtles that are otherwise healthy and receiving the correct diet.> I would love any advice. I live in a very small town and the vet wasn't much help. Thanks Sam <For now, would observe, taking specific care to notice appetite and any signs of things like eye or respiratory tract infections. Odd swimming behaviour is one sign of respiratory tract infections as fluid in the lungs causes problems with buoyancy, but this won't be apparent on land. (On the other hand, wheezing and mucous production are good signs of an RTI, so be on the alert for them.) If the turtle is female and above a certain size/age, say 10 cm/3 years, then egg binding can cause female turtles to behave erratically. Uncorrected, this can lead to major problems, so do sex your turtle, and be prepared for egg laying if "he" turns out to be a "she". There's a great run down of "odd behaviours" over at the excellent Red Ear Slider web site, here: http://redearslider.com/unusual_behavior.html Do have a look over them, and see if anything sounds familiar. Cheers, Neale.>

Self-Abusing Turtle Bites Himself in Japan Dear WWM , I have a male red eared slider that is about 2 -3 years old in his own tank. Recently (last few weeks) he has started to bite his left front hand/claw keratin bits. One of the pieces of keratin is starting to look a bit inflamed and pale pinkish, not like a normal white keratin piece - like he has had a good gnaw at it. Is this self-biting normal and do you think he has potentially infected his claw/hand by biting it? If it is a potential problem, what can I do to fix it? Thank you for your time. Regards, Farah < At one point in time there was probably some food stuck on his claw and as he attempted to get to it he mistakenly bit himself. Now he probably thinks the reddish coloration is still food. I would clean the tank and keep it that way to help prevent the infection from getting worse. I would add a Dr Turtle sulfa block to treat the bacterial infection. I would then feed the turtle several times a day to prevent him from getting so hungry he will prefer the food instead of his claw. When the claw starts to grow back and turn back to a more normal color I would make sure he is well fed so he doesn't go back to his old bad habits.-Chuck> 
More Turtle Trouble in Japan
Dear Chuck. Thank you for your e-mail. The claw is actually still intact - it's just the keratin piece above it that has got inflamed. Just another quick question if that's OK - we live in Japan and can't get Dr Turtle Sulfa Block's here. Can you point me to a website that sells these and would be prepared to deliver to Japan. If not, what would be a good substitute for Dr Turtle's sulfa block? Thanks again for your time. Regards, Farah < Go to ZooMed.com. They now have a mail order business or may be able to direct you to a shop in Japan. DrsFosterSmith.com would probably be able top help you too. Before I would go to the US for something I think I would go to a pet shop in Japan and try and find Japanese equivalent. Maybe print out the ZooMed Dr. Turtle page from the website and take it with you. If you speak Japanese I am sure they will be able to help you.-Chuck>

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