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What if I find a...

My Turtle is Sick or Acting Weird...

What Do I do?

This is a very short list of some of the more common turtle problems. The best thing to do is RESEARCH your turtle and the care it needs. These needs are spelled out online in documents called CARE SHEETS. You can download these from any number of sites. The medical link at the bottom will get you to one of the best care sites.

Open up and say, "Ahhhh!"

NOTE: If you choose to keep a turtle, keep up on the most current care research available. So few turtles survived the "dark ages" of turtle care, (the 1960s and 70s and even 80s), because little was known at the time about what turtles need. New products and techniques are always being pioneered. Keep your turtle healthy by joining a turtle keeping society or club like the online site:
It is free and help is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week!

Turtles do get sick. When they do they will also need Medical Attention, Regardless of how much the turtle cost. When you purchased or adopted the turtle you gave it a promise to take care of it, and provide it with a good home. A very important thing to do when you get a turtle is to RESEARCH IT!!! Make sure you know exactly how to care for it. Most turtles will live a long life if they have proper care and a very short one if they don't.

IMPORTANT: Locate a HERPATOLOGIST, or a VET that is very familiar with Reptiles, turtles. At some point your little turtle will most likely need to see one. Nice to have one lined up, so you don't have to scramble to find one when you actually need one.

Here are a few of the most common Illnesses a Turtle can get. There are many more, so if your turtle friend has a problem it is best to seek a VETS advice. MAKE SURE THE VET YOU ARE GOING TO IS A HERPATOLOGIST, or has had a lot of experience with turtles. Just because the person is a VET does NOT mean they know about turtles.

Shylo, one of the food market rescues, has cloudy eyes from injury and bacteria.
Cloudy eyes:

This can be caused by an injury or a vitamin A deficiency. Watch it closely and get in touch with your VET. They make prescribe some eye drops.

Turtle floats weird, or sideways:

This is a serious problem. Your turtle could have pneumonia, which will kill it. Best to get your turtle to a VET and they can prescribe an antibiotic. Pneumonia is usually caused by your turtle being exposed to COLD temperatures. Make sure to find out what species of turtle you have and what its needs are. You can't just plop your turtle in a tank next to a window and hope for the best.

Basking helps a turtle to fight illnesses.
Turtle Does Not Eat:

It is OK for a turtle to not eat for a short time, but if your turtle has refused foods for several weeks there is a problem. Make sure your temperatures are where they are supposed to be. Most turtles will not eat when they are cold. Make sure you are feeding it proper food. RESEARCH YOUR TURTLE AND ITS NEEDS. Each species has its own specific foods and Temps.

Eyes are swollen shut:

There could be many reasons for this. Could be a water quality issue or a more sever illness. Contact your VET.

Princess was a food market rescue. She was so sick she died 48 hours after being rescued.
Shell is falling off, Scutes are falling off:

This can be normal, as long as they are losing scutes (shell pieces) and there are new ones underneath. Turtles shed their shells (Carapace, top, Plastron, bottom). If they are discolored, stinky, or puss filled, then we have an issue. You could have a turtle with an infection, shell rot, or something else. In any case, your turtle will need a VET visit, and some ointments, creams, or antibiotics can be prescribed. Then, look into your turtles needs, most likely your Water and air temps are off.

This is a SMALL LIST of the Problems that turtles can have. Here is a link where you can find much more.

Austin's Turtle Page Medical Issues

Official Turtle Vet Service of the TRL

Return to Pet Turtles - Issues and Adoption


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