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Land Turtle Disease

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There are many bacteria in the urine and feces of turtles. In the natural habitat, turtles overcome considerable distances, so the likelihood of repeated penetration of bacteria and parasites removed from the body in a natural way into the body is extremely small. On the contrary, when keeping turtles in a terrarium or aviary, the likelihood of reinfestation increases. In this regard, it is necessary to follow several rules:

1. Change the water for drinking and swimming daily (and, if necessary, several times a day).

2. Disinfect the water tank.

3. If a little water gets into the terrarium, replace it.

4. Remove feces from the terrarium or aviary.

Next, I would like to tell you about some diseases of the turtles.

Please note that you must always consult a veterinarian, as I do not have a special education.

How do I recognize a cold?

1. Irregular, labored breathing.

2. Mucous discharge or blistering in the nose or mouth.

3. Frequent refusals to eat.

4. Likely apathy.

5. Wheezing when breathing.

You must isolate the sick turtle from the rest and keep it at 29-30 ° C. If the condition does not improve, contact your veterinarian immediately! In the absence of complications, a full recovery is most likely. If the cold progresses, you can’t do without antibiotics.

How do I recognize rectal prolapse?

The rectum protrudes from the cloaca. (ATTENTION! Do not confuse with the penis!)

The veterinarian will return the intestine to its original position using lubricant. Recovery is likely.

The cause of diarrhea is most often poor or stale food. In addition, diarrhea may occur due to bowel injury.

How do I recognize diarrhea?

The feces are porridge-like, liquid, or have a pungent odor.

It is necessary to limit food intake during the week. At the same time, daily swimming is recommended, in addition, you need to make sure that the animal drinks a lot of water. It is necessary to control the weight of the turtle, for this it is recommended to weigh it regularly. If you are not seeing any improvement, contact your veterinarian immediately! In the absence of damage to internal organs, the prognosis is positive.

How do I recognize parasitic infections of the gastrointestinal tract?

1. Abnormal stool (sometimes worms are present in feces).

2. Strong weight loss.

3. Possible apathy.

4. The sunken eyes.

You need to do an analysis of turtle feces and visit a veterinarian. Clinic observation is recommended. The chances of recovery are very high in the early stages of infection, the more advanced the disease, the more difficult it is to cure.

How do I recognize skin damage or a wound?

There is bleeding in the damaged area.

Disinfect the damaged area and quarantine your turtle. To do this, you need a separate aquarium, on the bottom of which you need to lay a paper towel. After each meal or defecation, the towel must be replaced with a clean one. The veterinarian may prescribe special healing agents for better wound healing. The chances of recovery depend on the severity of the damage.

The causes of paralysis in a turtle can be very diverse, in particular infections, poisoning or damage to the nervous system.

How do I recognize dystocia?

1. The female digs out a nest for eggs, but does not lay them.

2. Possible apathy.

3. Egg laying begins, but does not end.

4. Refusal to eat.

Please consult your veterinarian. An egg laying disorder can only be diagnosed by a doctor with an X-ray or ultrasound. The chances of recovery vary depending on the severity of the disease.

Features of colds

When keeping a turtle at home, you must definitely equip its place of detention. There must be a large aquaterrarium, an aquarium with a volume of 150-200 liters is suitable for it, even if only one small turtle lives in it. But in no case should you just keep her in an apartment without a specific place of residence.

Quite often, while walking around the apartment, a reptile can blow. For this, a small draft is enough, which people may not even notice. But for an amphibian animal, it can bring dire health consequences - a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, pneumonia. If the necessary treatment is not provided in a timely manner, then a fatal outcome is possible.

Signs of a cold in a tortoise:

  • irregular and labored breathing,
  • the appearance of mucous secretions,
  • blistering in the nose or mouth,
  • poor appetite. Reptiles often refuse to eat,
  • manifestation of apathy,
  • wheezing while breathing.

If suddenly the above symptoms are found in the pet, then first of all it needs to be transferred to another place from other individuals. It should be kept at a temperature of at least 29-30 0 C.

Important! If the reptile does not have an improvement, then be sure to contact a veterinarian. Even if there are complications, with the necessary assistance, everything can be quickly eliminated. Often in severe cases, antibiotics are prescribed.

Common Infectious Diseases

Mild respiratory diseases of land turtles, the symptoms of which are manifested in liquid secretions from the nose, adversely affect the state of internal organs (heart, liver, kidneys).

Severe forms of infectious diseases weaken the immune system, and pets become more vulnerable to various diseases.

To determine what the animal is sick with, it is necessary to consult a veterinarian and take a general blood test. You should also determine the sensitivity of the infection to various antibiotics.

Recommended treatment for respiratory diseases:


  • treatment of the eyes and mouth to prevent re-infection,
  • the use of symptomatic and replacement therapy,
  • injections of vitamins, antibiotics, the doses of which are determined by a veterinarian depending on the complexity of the disease,
  • stimulation of the immune system.

Infectious stomatitis (rotting of the mouth). May occur as a result of damage to the delicate shell of the mouth. To prevent internal abscesses, local treatment is performed.

Internal bacterial infections. The disease is characteristic of captive turtles. Bacteria damage the internal organs, which leads to the development of hepatitis, infectious diseases of the heart and kidneys.

How do I recognize a tick bite?

A small round foreign body in soft tissues, usually on the neck or forelegs.

Pull out the tick using special tongs. The chances of recovery are good.

Causes of eye inflammation, as a rule, are hypothermia in combination with low humidity.

How do I recognize eye inflammation?

If the eyes are open, the conjunctiva is reddened.

Pus or fluid may be released in the corners of the eyes.

If the turtle’s conditions are normal, but there is still inflammation of the eyes, contact your veterinarian. The animal must be quarantined until recovery. If the disease is detected at an early stage, the probability of recovery is high.

Common diseases that are not transmitted from individual to individual (non-communicable)

Abscesses. Open wounds provoke bacterial abscesses. Treatment: intramuscular administration of antibiotics and their external use.

Seals and foreign bodies in the digestive tract. Newborn turtles swallow everything in a row, not particularly understanding the quality of food. They can swallow a completely inedible object located in the terrarium. Therefore, they are recommended to be kept on a solid substrate. Unwanted items can only be removed by surgery.

Deformation and decay of the shell - common diseases of land turtles at home. As a result of malnutrition and malnutrition, deformation of the carapace is observed, especially often in young individuals. Excessive consumption of lettuce softens the shell, as a result, it develops incorrectly.

Decay of the shell causes some infectious diseases or tortoises in inappropriate conditions.

Stones in the bladder. As the turtle ages, uric acid accumulates, forming stones. It happens that in land turtles stones of impressive sizes are observed. Expanding, they cause sharp pain when urinating, interfere with walking. Pebbles are removed only surgically.

Diabetes mellitus is less common in turtles, but a qualified veterinarian should prescribe the diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Burns. When keeping the turtle, you need to look after the wiring and good insulation of the heating devices. If you do not comply with these requirements, turtles get burns of varying degrees.

Classification of burns by severity:


  • I degree. The epithelium turns red and peels. No treatment required.
  • II degree. It manifests itself in the appearance of bubbles and accumulation of fluid under the stratum corneum. To treat a burn wound, use a napkin dipped in a solution of 70% ethyl alcohol. The bubbles are opened, the dead tissue is removed.
  • III degree. Skin necrosis occurs.
  • IV degree. All layers of the skin and subcutaneous tissue are frozen.

Hemochromatosis. In some animals, iron deposition in the liver is observed. This leads to the development of hepatitis, to cirrhosis of the liver. Affected individuals should not be given food and water with a high iron content.

Eye diseases: cataract, conjunctivitis, corneal ulcer, keratitis. Diseases are hereditary, sometimes develop as a result of infection.

Organ failure can be caused by a severe infection. You can diagnose the disease by making a chemical blood test.

Diseases of a domestic land tortoise can be triggered by non-compliance with the temperature regime, malnutrition, contact with sick animals. If the turtles provide proper care and create optimal conditions, they will live a very long time without getting sick.

How do I recognize shell damage?

The shell is broken or there are cracks on it.

The chances of recovery depend on the severity of the injury. The veterinarian must clean and disinfect the damaged area of ​​the carapace. The damaged area must be fixed and isolated from external influences. Calcium-containing preparations must be included in the diet.

How do I recognize penile prolapse?

The penis does not return to its original position.

The animal must be quarantined. Place it in an aquarium with a wet towel. If no improvement is observed within one to two days, consult your veterinarian. The outlook is positive.

The reasons are usually unknown.

Herpes (herpes virus)

In most cases, infection with the herpes virus is fatal. You should immediately contact your veterinarian, who may be able to help your pet. However, the probability of this is not great. Particular attention should be paid to turtles that have been caught in nature, as they are often carriers of herpes.

Rectal prolapse - prolapse of the rectum

The tortoise quite often encounters such an unpleasant ailment as rectal prolapse - prolapse of the rectum. The causes of this problem can be different factors - anatomical disorders in the development of the intestine, can occur due to the turtle eating sand, solid soil. Prolapse can cause constipation or enteritis.

In males, prolapse of the penis can occur. Only a veterinarian should direct it; you cannot do this yourself at home. After reposition of the cesspool, the tail is fixed with adhesive tape. In this case, vaseline oil is necessarily administered orally. Over the next week, a thorough monitoring of the pet is mandatory. This will help to detect relapse or bowel problems in a timely manner.

Diarrhea or disorders of the digestive system usually occurs when the turtle eats poor-quality food. Also, this unpleasant condition is often manifested as a result of an intestinal injury.

The main signs that may indicate the presence of this ailment are the appearance and smell of reptile feces. They can be with a porridge and liquid structure, the smell is very sharp, unpleasant.

How to help your pet with diarrhea:

  • during the week you need to limit the intake of food,
  • the turtle needs to bathe every day,
  • the animal needs to be given as much water as possible. The liquid will quickly remove all harmful substances from the body of the reptile,
  • Be sure to control the weight of the amphibian animal. It is advisable to weigh it every day.

If there are no improvements with self-treatment, then in these cases it is required to immediately contact a veterinarian.

Gastrointestinal parasites

In turtles, various parasites are often found that affect the digestive system. Worms can be found in individuals of different ages. Usually round and ribbon helminths enter the body of an amphibian animal with food.

If the pet has worms, then the following signs will indicate this:

  • abnormal stool. Sometimes worms can be found in feces
  • rapid weight loss
  • the reptile has complete apathy, it can be passive, constantly sleep or sit in one place,
  • sunken eyes.

If suddenly the above symptoms are found in the reptile, then it will be possible to say for sure that it has worms. But to establish a diagnosis, it is better to take feces and visit a veterinarian. In these cases, constant medical supervision is required.

Worms can be eliminated quickly in the very early stages of infection. But it is worth considering that the stronger the disease is launched, the more difficult it will be to cure.

Eye inflammation, conjunctivitis

Quite often, turtles suffer from eye inflammation, namely conjunctivitis. To accurately determine whether this ailment is present, it is worth considering its main signs:

  • turtles cannot open their eyes normally, they can stick together due to discharge of pus,
  • often enough to notice such a phenomenon - the eyes of the turtle were swollen, they seemed to swim, and for this reason the reptile cannot fully see,
  • swollen eyelids with accumulation of fluid under them that looks like pus,
  • the animal's appetite decreases, it often refuses to feed and other food.

If the reptile does not open its eyes, while they are swollen, then we can safely say that it has conjunctivitis. This illness can cause a shortage or elevated levels of vitamin A.

Conjunctivitis often leads to a weakening of the body, a decrease in the immune system. Often, all this leads to the appearance of renal failure. For this reason, it is better to immediately contact a veterinarian, you can not engage in independent treatment.

Rickets - lack of calcium and vitamin D3

Rickets is a lack of calcium and vitamin D3 in the body of a turtle. This ailment is considered very popular, which can appear when keeping a reptile at home.It can be caused by poor nutrition, which includes foods low in calcium, as well as a lack of ultraviolet radiation.

  1. In young turtles, the shell may not harden for a long time. It usually hardens by the end of the first year of the life of an amphibian animal,
  2. Deformation of the shell, jaw, paws,
  3. In adults, the structure of the shell becomes soft. Nearly a third of the shell can also fail,
  4. Over time, the shell acquires a light shade, it also becomes flat,
  5. Carapax can break or burst for no reason,
  6. During the examination, softness of plastrons is often revealed,
  7. In old turtles, the plates acquire a thickened and porous structure.

Rickets can also be accompanied by other additional symptoms - movement of the reptile only on the front legs, a change in the shape of the beak, frequent fractures of the legs that can occur for no reason, fluid can accumulate in the area of ​​the scutes without blood impurities.

So what if the reptile has rickets? Particular attention should be paid to nutrition, it should be balanced. It is also worth giving special vitamins for land turtles. If the doctor reveals rickets, then he can prescribe vitamin injections.

But you should not engage in self-treatment, it is better to visit a veterinarian. He will conduct a full examination of the pet and determine for sure whether he has rickets or not. If all recommendations are clearly followed, then the reptile's health will quickly return to normal.

Distances - egg-laying delay

Sometimes, in freshwater animals, an ailment is observed in which a delay in egg laying is noted. At home, it may appear due to non-compliance with the temperature regime in the aquaterrarium, as well as due to the increased level of calcium in the pet's body.

How can I detect the presence of dystocia:

  • the female can dig a hole for laying eggs, but she does not lay them there,
  • the pet may have apathy, passivity, lethargy,
  • in females, the process of laying eggs begins, but does not end,
  • individuals do not want to eat, they lose their appetite,
  • signs of shortness of breath sometimes manifest.

It is better to consult a veterinarian in these situations. Violation of the laying of eggs can be detected only with a full examination using ultrasound and x-rays.

Cracks and fractures of the shell

Damage and fractures of the shell of reptiles usually occur due to accidents - a strong blow, a fall from a height, an animal bite.

All signs will be apparent and difficult to miss. Cracks, severe fractures may be present on the surface of the shell.

Successful recovery depends on the severity of the injury. Usually, the doctor disinfects the wound at the reception. After that, he closes it from negative external influences. The diet necessarily includes complexes with a high content of calcium.

Renal failure

Renal failure usually causes non-compliance with the amphibian conditions. The most common include:

  • long-term maintenance at low temperature,
  • malnutrition
  • dehydration.

Also, this ailment appears as a result of impaired metabolism of calcium and phosphorus. It can be provoked by various infections of the cloaca and urinary tract, an excess or lack of vitamin A, and the intake of toxic medications.

It is worth paying attention to the main signs:

  • when examining the urine of the turtle, the presence of salts is not detected in it,
  • weight loss
  • poor appetite
  • swelling of the neck, limbs,
  • problems with urination
  • softening of bones and shell.

If these symptoms are identified, you should immediately contact a veterinarian who will conduct the necessary examination. Do not self-medicate in any case, because it will be possible to cause severe harm to the health of the turtle.

It is important to constantly monitor your pet, especially the state of his health. If suspicious symptoms are found, it is best to contact your veterinarian immediately. The specialist will conduct a full examination and identify the main cause of concern for the reptile. It is better to eliminate the disease in the early stages than to bring it to serious complications.

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