Urgent Care :: Turtle Throwing up

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 12:35 pm   Turtle Throwing up

Hello. My turtle has started throwing up seconds after he eats. He doesn't throw up anything else other than the food he just swallowed. He seems otherwise fine but I'm worried because I can see he wants to eat. What could this be :?:

How big is your turtle? 8 inches
How long have you had it? 6.5 years

What is the water temperature? 77
Are you using a water heater? Infrared light
How much water is in there? 60 gallons
Are you using a water conditioner? Yes
Are you using any filtration? Yes

What is the basking temperature? 85-90
Is there a basking light? Yes
Is there a basking platform that is easy to climb on? Yes
What kind is it or what is it made out of? plastic ramp
Is there a UVB light? Yes

What have you been trying to feed it? I was feeding him chicken, cooked. Then he got tired of it so I fed him shrimp. Thats when the vomiting started a few weeks later. I fed him ham but he can't keep that down either. I just bought three kinds of turtle food and wont touch it. He does not like to eat fruit or vegetables anymore (he used to a few years ago)
When was the last time your turtle ate? One week ago -

How big is the tank/pond/enclosure? 75 gallons
Is the tank near a window? Yes, across. Not alot of sun comes in.
Is the tank in a room with a lot of activity? No

Have you read the Basic Care section? Yes
Have you searched the forums for similar situations? Yes

Is there any other unusual activity/symptoms? No
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Post Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 12:40 pm   

My first instinct would be to not offer him any 'treats' such as ham, chicken or shrimp. It sounds to me like he may be eating something that doesnt agree with him, or that he's eating too much at once. I've had a couple of incidents with my res throwing up while eating feeder fish. They ate too many, too fast and promptly vomited. I can understand your concern because it's pretty revolting/scary to see. Everything about your setup seems about right.

You stated that there is no other unusual behaviour so I'd suggest waiting a day or two, then only offering either pellets or lettuce for a while. He may just be holding out for what he prefers to eat, even if it doesn't prefer him.
The things that come to those who wait may be the things that were left by those who got there first - Steven Tyler
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Post Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 1:05 pm   

The only time my RES threw up was when we over fed her.
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Post Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 1:29 pm   

What size are the pieces of food your turtle is getting? If they're large and he's eating quickly, it could cause him to bring the food back up.

The diet that you're giving him currently (chicken, shrimp, ham, etc.) is unhealthy and too high in protein.
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Post Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 3:01 pm   

Is the turtle food you are currently offering him pellets? Good quality pellets should be your turtle's staple, supplemented with lots of green leafy vegetables and frequent portions of other types of veggies and other fruit and occasional (rare) treats like shrimp. If you are offering pellets now, what brand are you offering?

If your turtle has been getting treats like chicken and shrimp for his meals, he'll probably turn up his nose for awhile at "plain" food like pellets. If he still won't eat pellets after a few days, try soaking them in tuna water first. The smell should attract him. As he gets used to eating pellets, you can gradually stop the tuna water soaking and transition him to a normal diet.
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Post Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 5:23 pm   

I saw that you filled out the questionaire...

My question is, how do you heat water with infra-red light?

I'm just curious...

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Post Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 1:24 pm   

I agree with BLewis, you need to get a real submersible water heater, not just an infrared light. Turtles need darkness at night in order to sleep & infrared lights can disrupt their sleep cycle.

Also, the only times my turtle ever threw up were when I either: A.) over fed her, or B.) fed her "sandwich meats" or hot dogs. Turtles don't know any better when it comes to food. YOU are the caretaker so don't let your turtle get away with not eating pellets. Just feeding meat to them is not nutritionally balanced. Feeding a turtle only meat is the equivalent of feeding a human child McDonalds food every day for their whole life (and you may have seen the movie about how a guy ate McD's 3 times a day every day for a whole month & what it did to his system).

Please check the feeding nutrition site of this website & start feeding your turtle pellets & veggies again. It's important for his health in the long run & it's the only way you can stop the "throwing up right after he eats" permanently. Sometimes you have to show them some tough love. Think of it this way: turtles eat their own poop a lot of times & pellets/veggies would taste WAY better than poop!!!! He will eventually eat the pellets so don't give up trying.

And don't forget to get a REAL water heater, not just an infrared light. :)

Let us know how it goes.
Kristin's Pond! Starring:

RES = "Sheba", 21+ yrs. old
African Clawed Frog = "Prog", 10 yrs old
& "Kristin" as Momma
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Post Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:32 pm   

A couple of things come to mind about your turtle. Feeding too much and constipation. If you could feed him in a separate tank where you could keep an eye on his pooping would be great. Feeding him too much could also be an issue. One additional thing would be to check on your temps. Water temps. should be at 78 degrees and basking at 90 or 91. And make sure his uvb is working as that also helps in digestion and metabolism. Try and duplicate the daylight hours with your lights. You may want to hold off the food for a couple of days and feed him very little until you get a good poop.
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