Other Turtle Discussion :: can a turtle be spayed/neutered?

Non-care related topics here.

Post Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 2:54 am   can a turtle be spayed/neutered?

I'm being serious. Is it possible for a turtle to be spayed, or neutered?

Lets just assume for a few seconds that is it possible, and you had a male and female pair that were both fixed. Would that limit or stop the aggression between them?

I don't necessarily think turtles are like cats and dogs, but I don't see why not having their equipment could cause them any medical problems. (Ultimately, no ovaries means the female turtle would no longer bare unfertilized eggs, right?)

I have noticed too that sometimes with certain animals, that not being spayed or neutered and left that way for many years creates some interesting behaviors, and even health problems in some. Think of how freaked out we get about a female turtle becoming egg-bound! I've seen male cats get so swollen that they can't poop normally, and female dogs become aggressive.
Spike - Egyptian mau mix, 8 years old
Phryne - Japanese bobtail, 9 months old
Hurricane - RES, 8 yo, 6 1/2 in. long
Typhoon - RES/Map hybrid, 8 yo, 7 in. long
Sadie - RES, 20 yo, 10 in. long
Sophie - Colombian red tail boa, 5 yo, 5 ft. long
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theartbook35
 
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Post Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:05 am   

I don't think it would be worth the risks of operating on a female turtle. Turtles don't do extremely well with anesthesia.

I have heard there is a shot you can get from the vet to get a female to stop laying during the laying season though. I'm not sure what it is exactly, but one person had it given to their turtle after she went on a laying marathon and it was just taking too much out of her to continue.

As for males, it would probably be easier to operate on their bits than a female's reproductive organs, but I'm not sure it would eliminate any aggression...

Because they're reptiles, they're not as easy to put under for surgeries & monitor, and also they heal much slower. I think the risks would outweigh the pros definitely.
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gwennie
 
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Post Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:21 pm   

It's a serious, not to mention costly, operation. Why would you want to put a turtle through that as opposed to separating them?
"You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." -Antoine de Saint Exupery-
marisa
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Post Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:46 pm   

gwennie wrote:I don't think it would be worth the risks of operating on a female turtle. Turtles don't do extremely well with anesthesia.

I have heard there is a shot you can get from the vet to get a female to stop laying during the laying season though. I'm not sure what it is exactly, but one person had it given to their turtle after she went on a laying marathon and it was just taking too much out of her to continue.

As for males, it would probably be easier to operate on their bits than a female's reproductive organs, but I'm not sure it would eliminate any aggression...

Because they're reptiles, they're not as easy to put under for surgeries & monitor, and also they heal much slower. I think the risks would outweigh the pros definitely.


Gwennie, yeah, I was aware that reptiles aren't good with anesthetics or even common sedatives, for that matter, I'm just curious if the procedure has ever been successful. I don't necessarily want to have my turtles fixed, but I figured this would be informative to some about what might very well be an option, if performed correctly, of course.

I've noticed that the majority of aggressive behavior that happens between males and females in during attempted mating. In other words, their hormones rule their behaviors. I bet if a male got snipped it'd calm him down dramatically.

I don't want anyone who is new to turtles, or looking for a way to house their turtles because they think they'll "just love each other so much", to use this as an attempt at a "solution". I want this to be informative for those who have had turtles a long time, and are flipping sick of having to build a nesting box and worry about them being egg-bound. The shot sounds like a great idea. I don't think many people on here even knew about that before you mentioned it.

Marisa, any spaying/neutering surgery is risky with any animal, even our fluffy cats and dogs. Ultimately, yeah, separating costs the same as getting them fixed. The surgery, because they are turtles, could be even racked up more. But since people don't want to breed hybrids that are calmer and will get along with their turtle parents/tank mates better, my thing is, I bet a lot of a turtle's aggression is due to hormones. Unless you want to breed your turtles, they don't need their reproductive organs. I'd hate to be so hormone driven all the time, and they could probably live less stressful and healthier lives.
Spike - Egyptian mau mix, 8 years old
Phryne - Japanese bobtail, 9 months old
Hurricane - RES, 8 yo, 6 1/2 in. long
Typhoon - RES/Map hybrid, 8 yo, 7 in. long
Sadie - RES, 20 yo, 10 in. long
Sophie - Colombian red tail boa, 5 yo, 5 ft. long
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theartbook35
 
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Post Posted: Sun Sep 06, 2009 8:54 pm   

I don't agree that their aggression is driven by hormones like you do.

If people are sick of having to deal with turtles needing to lay or the risk of becoming eggbound, perhaps having a female turtle isn't the greatest idea.

Turtles shouldn't be compared to cats and dogs when it comes to behavior issues ^^ Nor should they be compared to them in regards to getting spayed & neutered ;)
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gwennie
 
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Post Posted: Mon Sep 07, 2009 7:26 pm   

As far as I understand, a male turtle can be castrated under circumstances when his boy parts have been severely damaged to the point that they must be removed, generally from a bite or something along those lines. As for the female, it is an incredibly risky, dangerous surgery because they have to saw into the shell to remove enough to cut out the organs, and then the shell must be allowed to heal. The female surgery, I have only heard done on females that had a serious complication with eggs and even then, it costs a fortune. I don't believe that any vet would do the procedure without it being life-threatening.

I have not heard of any shots minus the one given to females to assist in loosening up the organs to get the eggs to lay easier. I doubt that many vets would give a shot to a turtle just to accommodate the owner. Any chemicals given to an animal severely risks their lives, even in the fluffy type of animal. Many owners don't vaccinate due to these risks. Any shot given to a cat leads to the risk of a tumor forming at the injection site, which is apparently a fairly common side effect. However, when it comes to spaying/neutering our fluffy friends, it is beneficial because many of them who go through heat end up with reproductive organ cancers. Removing the organs before they ever go in to heat can prevent this.

And in terms of the turtles aggression, you can have two females that flare up and kill each other. I don't think it is hormones, in this instance, I think it is simply a natural instinct for resources.
JAX
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1 RES - 7" long - Umi (3.5 years old)
1 black lab/hound mix - Josie (1.5 year old)
2 cats - Mysti and Molly (6.5 years old)
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TheComputerGremlin
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Post Posted: Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:38 pm   

I agree with the Computer Gremlin that captive turtle aggression isn't caused by hormones as much as because of competition over resources. Space on the basking spot, food to eat, even just swimming area is a 24/7 battle between tank-mates. They don't understand that the pellets are rationed equally, they just know that their tank mate is getting food that (in their mind) should be theirs.

If I were in an environment where I saw another person 24/7, and shared every available commodody with them, I would constantly be on my guard. At the first signs that I was being shorted, or that my "tank mate" was trying to subdue me, I would certainly make violence on them to ensure my own survival. I try to put myself in the position of my turtles a lot, so that I treat them the way I would want to be treated.

-spike
Out of every 100 men, ten shouldn't even be there. Eighty are just targets. Nine are the real fighters and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Oh, but one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back. -Heraclitus of Ephesus
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Spike 7.62
 
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Post Posted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:13 am   

Spike 7.62 wrote:I agree with the Computer Gremlin that captive turtle aggression isn't caused by hormones as much as because of competition over resources. Space on the basking spot, food to eat, even just swimming area is a 24/7 battle between tank-mates. They don't understand that the pellets are rationed equally, they just know that their tank mate is getting food that (in their mind) should be theirs.

If I were in an environment where I saw another person 24/7, and shared every available commodody with them, I would constantly be on my guard. At the first signs that I was being shorted, or that my "tank mate" was trying to subdue me, I would certainly make violence on them to ensure my own survival. I try to put myself in the position of my turtles a lot, so that I treat them the way I would want to be treated.

-spike


That, plus what Jax said, is a very empathic way of looking at it.

Even my cats are competitive... Very ridiculous, too. It's like watching a couple of two year old humans screaming "MINE!!!!!!!!!" at each other.

I usually haven't given my cats vaccines because aside from them not being outdoor cats, vaccines cost money. I don't let me cats go outside because of our neighborhood. The kid in the apartment below me is very creepy, and there is a very busy street by our yard with no fencing. Spike is a genius, but considering how Jenny likes to run off, hm, no outside for them.
Spike - Egyptian mau mix, 8 years old
Phryne - Japanese bobtail, 9 months old
Hurricane - RES, 8 yo, 6 1/2 in. long
Typhoon - RES/Map hybrid, 8 yo, 7 in. long
Sadie - RES, 20 yo, 10 in. long
Sophie - Colombian red tail boa, 5 yo, 5 ft. long
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theartbook35
 
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Post Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:03 pm   

Spike 7.62 wrote:
If I were in an environment where I saw another person 24/7, and shared every available commodody with them, I would constantly be on my guard. At the first signs that I was being shorted, or that my "tank mate" was trying to subdue me, I would certainly make violence on them to ensure my own survival.
-spike


Avoid marriage.

:lol:
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holidae
 
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Post Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:28 am   

Well this is assuming that I'm a turtle and verbal persuasion is out of the question :lol: I'm pretty good at negotiating, but note taken!

-spike
Out of every 100 men, ten shouldn't even be there. Eighty are just targets. Nine are the real fighters and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Oh, but one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back. -Heraclitus of Ephesus
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Spike 7.62
 
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Post Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:54 pm   

holidae wrote:
Spike 7.62 wrote:
If I were in an environment where I saw another person 24/7, and shared every available commodody with them, I would constantly be on my guard. At the first signs that I was being shorted, or that my "tank mate" was trying to subdue me, I would certainly make violence on them to ensure my own survival.
-spike


Avoid marriage.

:lol:


Lol, good one. Thing is, when two animals live together, they either grow to like each other, or grow to hate each other. Pretty much most fights I've seen have been over food. Feed them separately, and that issue is eliminated.
Spike - Egyptian mau mix, 8 years old
Phryne - Japanese bobtail, 9 months old
Hurricane - RES, 8 yo, 6 1/2 in. long
Typhoon - RES/Map hybrid, 8 yo, 7 in. long
Sadie - RES, 20 yo, 10 in. long
Sophie - Colombian red tail boa, 5 yo, 5 ft. long
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theartbook35
 
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Post Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 3:24 pm   Re: can a turtle be spayed/neutered?

Hi everyone!
i am new to the board and i know this topic is a bit old, but wanted to contribute/follow-up with my current experience:

- have three turtles, 2 RES and 1 Mississippi Map, i've had them for 14 years, since they were the size of a silver dollar!... they turned out to be two females (both the RES') and a male.
they have always shared a tank, then an indoor pond then another tank (huge!) thank again. After being in their new large tank together for about 16 months, one of my females, Teddy, became so aggressive last year that he almost killed the other female (Hannibal -- the problem of not knowing genders when theyre babies! LOL)!! so i separated them and got Teddy her own large tank and full set up. Everything was great.

However, last month Teddy begun displaying her usual egg-laying behavior but struggled. I tried everything to help her at home, various new nesting substrates, extra walking everything i could find online. Nothing helped her lay her eggs naturally, and i read that sometimes, when the eggs are unfertilized, they can be deformed and cause egg-binding. Since this was the first season that she had been on her own space and away from the male, i figured that was the problem. so i found the sole reptile vet in my city and took her for a check-up. x-rays confirmed: 5 eggs, two of which were misshapen and smallish. all five also appeared to be softer than normal.

So the Vet gave Teddy a shot of calcium and one of oxytocin to induce labor: within two hours she had laid all five eggs and was happy as a clam!.. i got her home, she ate (a lot!) and pooped normally that night! i was incredibly relieved!

however, this week she begun displaying egg-laying behavior again and two days ago i was able to observe her trying to lay an egg in her tank and it was horrific! the egg looked small, and there was a pinkish thin film/membrane around the egg and the egg kept getting sucked back into her every time! i cannot imagine how painful that might be!!

i captured it on video and sent it to the Vet immediately! Teddy will be back to get another round of shots tomorrow, but the vet did mention that sterilization COULD be an option if this continues to be a problem for her, but i do not yet know what that would entail or how costly --- but i am thankful i read this blog, as i did not know that reptiles in general do not do fare well with anesthetics, so i will be more prepared to ask my questions tomorrow!! so THANK YOU!

now, as far as the egg-binding, i sure hope that it does not become an annual problem for Teddy because, it just looks terribly painful and i do not want my Reptile Baby to suffer! and she is only 14 years old, so i know there are many more fertile years ahead for her!

i will follow-up on my post once i find out more about this sterilization option from the Vet! (though i must say just the IDEA of her shell/plastron saw cut makes my stomach turn!!)

thanks again for the heads-up on the anesthesia!!
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:47 am   Re: can a turtle be spayed/neutered?

Hi Dali_Girl, it should get easier for Teddy to lay her eggs and finding a good spot for her would help tremendously.
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steve
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