General Care Discussion :: Shell Care

Taking care of your turtle's overall health.

Post Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:39 am   Shell Care

Hello! I am new to the forum. I have binge read many of the success stories regarding turtle shell care. I recently adopted a RES from our local animal shelter and it is obvious there are some issues with his shell. I took him to my local Herp Vet and she prescribed betadine scrubs once a week. she did not actually diagnose the issue as she said "she did not think it was shell rot but wanted to treat for it just in case." After two months of following this procedure I have seen no real change. After doing more research I am suspicious of a fungus infection and that he is possibly retaining scutes. All activity levels and eating habits are normal.
The symptoms I've noted are:
-flakey scute shedding (not coming off whole)
-constant scute shedding process
-discoloration that looks gold or light colored
-everything is still hard, no soft spots
-no smell
-when dabbed with white vinegar the light coloration is not removed

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
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Post Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:30 am   Re: Shell Care

Great on the adoption ! Turtles are great pets !
Sounds like he had a hard life but all that will change under your care now. From what you described his habitat and diet was all wrong to see the problems you describe. Sounds like he wants to shed but with the retained scutes will be hard and not always in one piece. Will take much longer to do so too. May even with better care still take several sheds to correct over a couple years. Use top header on this page and read all you can on habitat and diets also the different thread under the topics. Get an idea on what's involved in turtle keeping. The more you know will make it very easy for you and him. Best is to offer a good habitat for a turtle and diet and patience on your part. Will take time but shell and himself will get better under your care. Sometimes what a turtle needs and or just wants wouldn't necessarily be what you want to match your home style. Better for him by observing what he wants to make him happy and do what he needs to stay healthy. A good well mixed varied and nutritious diet will go a long way to correct the shell.
The betadine is a surgical scrub , only a cleaner and disinfectant , does nothing for fungus. Was a precaution only by vet maybe so she could see better down the road. You can stop it. Sounds more like shedding and having a little trouble doing it due to it's poor life before you. The vinegar is only for mineral deposit you can also stop that too.
Observe well , offer a good habitat , good diet and in time will see improvements. Do a lot of reading/homework will make it easier for you. Any pictures will help. Can tell more with some photo's. Even if a little fungus just by offering a good habitat with a good basking area along with the shed can help remove any. In nature turtles shed not only to grow but when they have shell problems too. Treatment not always needed but we will see. Read up , in this hobby "prevention" to me is the key !

Example of what you can find on above header :
One does not have to spend a lot of money , make a list and ask questions on what you think you want. We may be able to prevent you from buying something inadequate for your turtle.
On next visit to the herp vet or a call ask for an RX of silver sulphadinze cream that's what treats fungus . Great to have around "if" you ever need it.
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Post Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:41 pm   Re: Shell Care

Thank you!
We have no idea of his history or how old he is. Just based on some of the scar marks on his shell I don't believe he had the best early life conditions.
I am currently making his food from scratch to make certain he gets the proper balance of veggies to protein. I also supplement his diet with D3 and calcium. I have read on some of these forums that something I can add is wheat germ which I plan to do to continue varying what he gets and possibly to help him with the shedding process.

Something I have read about is doing hibiclense or nolvasen baths along with periodic dry docking. What are the proper ways to go about something like that? How often? I am aware this process will take time. I just want to know what I can be doing proactively to help him with the healing process.
48397882_333739460797891_3051992172715835392_n.jpg (42.67 KiB) Viewed 3095 times
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Post Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:56 pm   Re: Shell Care

He does have a lot going on but nothing you can't handle. For the past 2 years I have been using the Koi wheat germ and do see a difference , takes time. Will not see changes in even a few months.
Dry docking even without any RX's will help. I over my 55 years with turtles have changed a couple things I do especially on dry docking , never 10-18 hr's dry docking anymore not even overnight. At the center and myself have seen only 2-4hr's at a time once or twice a day does just as well and less stress on the turtle.
Another thing I do is keep a notebook on everything I do. It help's , on all from schedules setups food bulbs dates in general , all ! If my way below sounds like things you have read copy/paste in a file to have it around. Or as I in a notebook with me being an old man.
There are hundreds of ways to do it below is "my" way with and without RX's :

Dry Docking

Prepair a container , plastic bucket , even a cardboard box. Make sure it’s tall enough to prevent escape. Something with dark sides makes a turtle feel safer. Also a cloth towel in the bottom will help them feel secure. Helps keep them dry and catch’s any waste.

Place a heat source above to keep turtle warm , no UVB is needed just warmth . A bulb that does both is ok. Only doing this for 2 -4 hours once or twice a day for 7-10 days.

I have changed my way from “long” dry docking times to “only 2-4 hours “ at a time very much less stressful on a turtle especially when ill! Still works well ! The totally drying off helps the heal time.

IMPORTANT : I also to prevent dehydration allow it to take a short swims in fresh treated water in a separate container. I do it at the half way point. This allows turtle to drink and re- hydrate.

During this time you can make any changes to his regular basking dock in tank so he bask more.

Do this once or twice daily for 7-10 days. This help’s with RI infections and open wounds , do it until significant recovery signs.

Fungus treatment

Use above as stated. Prepare it first.

Before turtle goes into dry dock clean him well with betadine or a nolvasan cleaner. Let dry completely.

Apply silver sulphadinze cream a thin layer. Then place in dry dock for 2 hours as stated above. Do not forget about hydration and watch the temps !

Do this for the 7-10 days once or twice a day until improvement.

Don’t get discouraged , takes time to see improvement.

Clean turtle before he goes back into tank , the cream does get messy.

This is one of many way’s for above , this is my way. Others may/will have different methods on dry docking and treatment for fungus.
Last edited by litefoot on Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:13 pm   Re: Shell Care

Thank you ! I will work on that!
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Post Posted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:17 pm   Re: Shell Care

Ok !
The edit was me just adding the copy/paste it for the future if you want to , start a file for your guy.
I'm type slow and old , not as fast as you ! :)
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Post Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:57 am   Re: Shell Care

You can tell from the picture, that there were retained scutes and issues with this fungus from before. The pits on the shell are pretty noticeable, and as long as they are hard and clean, have healed properly.

The only thing I would suggest for the treatment procedure is that you might want to do this overnight. Turtles will be a lot more calmer when it's completely dark and they will sleep/rest. In the morning, be sure to clean the remaining sulphadinze since it can feel a bit greasy.

A very important first step is to correct any problems in the habitat that will allow this to happen again. If it does happen again, the cream might not be as effective and you will have to continually deal with this problem.
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