Urgent Care :: turtle shell problems

This is not a substitute for qualified and relevant veterinarian care.
Read this before you post a new topic here.

Post Posted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:29 am   turtle shell problems

I have two RES, I believe both are female. I have had them for 8 years. Unfortunately I did not research about them beforehand and went with the poor advice of the store owner on how to set up their habitat when I purchased them as juveniles. One of the turtles has recently developed a shell problem, more on that later. In researching the shell problem I have learned that the habitat I have them in is way less than ideal and suitable. I am in the process of changing that.

The current tank is a 40G (36x18x18), and up until recently I had it set up about half full of water with a pile of flat rocks in one end for a basking area. I had a screen top with a heat light over the basking area and an 18" fluorescent tube fixture with the same bulb I was originally sold for the previous 8 years. It had a small submersible power filter with some foam for particle filtration, I would occasionally add some carbon media in the form of carbon impregnated foam material. I had a small submersible heater also. I would change most of the water at least every two weeks. I have a well with a whole house filtration/softener system that produces water that is suitable without further treatment. The turtles rarely got direct natural sunlight.

I realize 40G is way too small for even one RES let alone two, I am looking into a new tank as finances allow. I have built a ATBA (24x18x12) out of 1/2" acrylic that I got as scrap pieces from my work. I attached reptile mat to the basking space with zip ties. The basking space has a reptisun 5.0 CFL above it that is on for 12 hours daily and a heat light that is on for 2 hours intervals throughout that 12 hour period. I have cut the old screen top to fit over the other part of the tank and the old 18" tube fluorescent is over that part of the tank (see picture). I have ordered a new canister filter (API Rena Filstar XP Canister Filter-L) and media for it, it will be here on Friday. I need to buy a new tank heater. The tank is now full of water about 2 inches of space below the screen top/bottom of the basking area. Great news, one of the turtles, the one with the shell problem has already found the basking area and is using it regularly. I have also been taking the turtles outside every day that it is possible to expose them to natural sunlight.

image.jpg



Here is the problem with the shell (see pic). I think the problem is caused by the turtles own claws and due to the fact that the habitat was so inadequate. The turtle would constantly be swimming into the glass of the tank or into the rocks and I think repeated contact of the turtle claws with the area of the shell near where the legs tuck in caused the shell to wear. One side is much worse than the other and bleeds on occasion. The other turtle seems to be fine. The turtle with the shell problem is much more active than the other. Please let me know what you think. Am I on the right track? Is my diagnosis of the shell problem correct? The nearest listed herp vet is hours away. How else could/should I be treating this shell problem? Do I need UV light over the portion of the tank the part that is now covered by screen or is regular fluorescent OK? Does the screen block the UV/does the UV penetrate the water?

image[1].jpg

image[2].jpg
DaveGunter
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Jul 24, 2014
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 1:23 pm   Re: turtle shell problems

That looks like an infected injury to me. Is the lesion growing? Are the two turtles getting along?
User avatar
devilduck
 
Posts: 957
Joined: May 11, 2012
Location: Chicago, IL.
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 5:09 pm   Re: turtle shell problems

devilduck wrote:That looks like an infected injury to me. Is the lesion growing? Are the two turtles getting along?



Pretty sure it's not from fighting, I haven't seen any fighting. It is happening on the marginals on both sides in the same place right above where the feet fold under the shell, just much worse on the one side.
DaveGunter
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Jul 24, 2014
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:54 pm   Re: turtle shell problems

I think Linus' Agamemnon had a similar injury from a fight. Claws alone, would not cause that type of severe injury. Even if it was not fighting, they need to be separated so this can be treated and allowed to heal.
User avatar
steve
Site Admin
 
Posts: 30883
Joined: Apr 11, 2005
Location: New York, NY
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 10:01 am   Re: turtle shell problems

steve wrote:I think Linus' Agamemnon had a similar injury from a fight. Claws alone, would not cause that type of severe injury. Even if it was not fighting, they need to be separated so this can be treated and allowed to heal.


Thanks. I understand about separating them, makes sense. How would you treat such an injury?
DaveGunter
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Jul 24, 2014
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 10:05 am   Re: turtle shell problems

In my search for appropriate habitat for these two RES, (Cleo and Jacque) are their names, I have come across several used tanks that may be suitable with the caveat that the tanks were previously used as marine aquariums. Is this a problem? Can tanks used as marine aquariums be re-used for turtle habitat?
DaveGunter
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Jul 24, 2014
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 5:22 pm   Re: turtle shell problems

The tanks should be fine as long as they are cleaned well.

I would dry out the wounded area and apply some Betadine or similar wound disinfectant with a q-tip. Maybe dry dock him in a box for a few days to a week. Keep him in a warm dry box. Let him soak in some clean declorinated water for an hour or so every day to drink and eat.
User avatar
devilduck
 
Posts: 957
Joined: May 11, 2012
Location: Chicago, IL.
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:01 am   Re: turtle shell problems

My Belize Slider did have a similar injury. I don't know if mine was caused by aggression or not, but it is possible.

What this looks like to me is Shell Rot. What happened looks like the scutes on the right were infected, and fell off (possibly with the help of the other turtle), leaving an open wound. You can see the scutes on the other side are white, signaling shell rot. I recommend a visit to a vet to get a confirmation and suggestions on recovery.

For now, I highly recommend dry docking (with no sharp edges), and also check out these links:

http://www.redearslider.com/major_illne ... uries.html
http://www.austinsturtlepage.com/Care/medshell.htm

This happened to my Belize Slider as Steve mentioned. I was VERY lucky that when the infected shell fell off, the infection had subsided, leaving a healed wound (but the hole remains).


Before:
Image

After:
Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
1 F RES 9" (Kingler)
1 F Belize Slider 7" (Agamemnon)
My Youtube Channel:
http://www.youtube.com/user/condorboy1/videos
User avatar
Linus
 
Posts: 1260
Joined: Jul 31, 2008
Location: Los Angeles
Gender: Male

Post Posted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:21 am   Re: turtle shell problems

Thanks for the update Linus. Could the white have been the exposed bone layer (it would have a rough feel to it)? Thankfully the germinal layers looked like they regrew.
User avatar
steve
Site Admin
 
Posts: 30883
Joined: Apr 11, 2005
Location: New York, NY
Gender: Male


Return to Urgent Care

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests