How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Joan Your Own Question

Joan
Joan, Veterinary Technician
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 15325
Experience:  30+ years experience as veterinary tech and 15+ years experience doing reptile rescues.
5071285
Type Your Reptile Question Here...
Joan is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My box turtle is subdued & has not eaten in 5 weeks since he

Resolved Question:

My box turtle is subdued & has not eaten in 5 weeks since he fell from our open deck, possibly as high as 12-14 feet onto mulch. He must have gotten over the barrier I erroneously thought was high enough to contain him & onto the stairs. I do not know from which step he fell as we found him on the ground. He had no obvious fracture, tenderness or deformity but he seems to be dragging his hind legs before he steps with them. Since then if I place him in an open space, he will walk to a comfortable corner & sits still. He can climb out of his water dish, where I put him to drink twice daily, like usual but is no longer lively. He completely ignores food although I have offered him his favorites, ground meat, peas and a variety of fruits. He is eliminating urine & stool normally. He does not seem to sleep more than before. We live in North Carolina and he spends his days outside on an inclosed porch where the temperature is in the 90's. At night I bring him into our air conditioned house. I don't know what to do.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Joan replied 3 years ago.

Hello,

Do you have a UVB avaialble in the enclosed porch or does it have an open roof?

What is the normal diet?

After the fall did you have him examined by a Herp Vet?

Do you feed any other supplements?

Joan

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The UVB is in an inclosure in my laundry room where he stays at night and on cold days. I only turn it on for about 6-8 hrs in the winter when he stays indoors, October to April. In the summer he spends most of the day in a screened porch with a closed roof and natural sunlight coming through the screens. He spends a little time outside in the garden but not often. He has not been exposed to the UVB lately. He seems to try to get away from it when it is on.

He was not seen by a vet after the fall. I am a retired MD, family practice. He had no visible injury, his shell was intact, his extremities and head were not tender, swollen or deformed. He moved all his extremities equally. His eyes & pupils looked OK and he was not sleepy, just stayed in one place & appeared "shaken" if I can use that term with a turtle. I know there is something wrong mainly because he has no interest in food or exploring. Before this he walked around a good deal and ate every 3 days or so depending on the time of the year & who knows what.

His diet was ground turkey breast, frozen peas, grated carrots, berries or other fruit. He has eaten cottage cheese, hard boiled egg, tomato & banana but is very picky & waits until I find the "right" food accepting no substitutions. He really enjoyed a worm or caterpillar that I found for him. He did not seem to find them himself. He liked meat the most and peas next.

Supplements are calcium citrate in his food so only when he ate. I estimate he got about 10 mg every 3 days and Poly-Vi-Sol(a pediatric multivitamin) 1 drop into his water every day which he is still getting. It is hard to estimate how much he gets. I try to give the drop near his mouth when he starts to drink. My previous information is not correct, he is getting Poly-vi-Sol. Our water is fluoridated.
Judith
Expert:  Joan replied 3 years ago.

Hello,

The UVB is filtered by the screen on the porch it also does not penetrate glass, so you really need to set up a UVB light reptisun 10.0 tube type or a Mercury Vapor bulb on the porch. This is very important. They need the UVB all year round for 12-14 hours a day in spring and summer and during the winter 6-8 hours a day. The UVB lights needs to be replaced every 6 months as they do loose potency. I suggest cuttle bones scattered for calcium as they love to chew on them. With it almost being summer the heat may be slowing him down as they do like to burrow when it gets warmer. This care sheet goes over the lighting and the diet especially for finicky eaters. It suggests stinky foods or getting some earth worms or mollusks from the pet supply to see if he will accept them for food: http://www.turtlepuddle.org/american/boxcare.html The fact it has been five weeks since he last ate, I do suggest a Herp Vet visit to rule out an internal issue or parasites. I would be happy to locate a Herp Vet for you with a city and state. I would not wait much longer with him not eating. You can try to add the proper lighting and see if it perks him up, but a Herp Vet visit I believe hands on will give him what he needs to get going again. Joan

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for the information on nutrition and UVB. What I don't understand is that the turtle was acting perfectly normal until his accident. So it isn't all that likely that a nutritional deficiency caused his sudden change. I suppose the fall have pushed him over the edge if he were borderline deficient. What I am seeking is what to do about the fall? Is there any internal injury that is treatable in a turtle?

As to his nutritional status, he had been spending many days on a deck without a roof. Now, to insure his safety, I have him on a screened porch. The wire screening is 1/8 inch. How does that impede rays when there seems to be plenty of sunlight coming in? How much potency does the bulb loose? Could you have the same cumulative effect just using it for longer period?

Please let me know if these questions are too technical for this kind of service to handle.
Thank you,
Judith
Expert:  Joan replied 3 years ago.

Hello,

I will try to answer your questions to the best of my ability. Stress can be a triggering point for various problems that include parasites as well as nutrional issues. The fall may have created some medical issues, but without some blood work and X rays it is just speculation of what may have happened. As far as the UVB, I have a link where studies have been done on UVB as well as Mercury Vapor Bulbs and if you view the link this give the percentage of loss over periods of time on various bulbs. The people that preformed these tests and recorded the research used a UVB meter and documented all findings here : http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Researchmain.html or this study: http://www.reptilesdownunder.com/images/enclosure/files/lightuvlight.pdf

As far as sunlight, it needs to be direct rays where it metabolizes the calcium in the body. The more direct rays from above increases the potency of the UVB, the better chance that the calcium is metabolized in the body.

I believe that the answers will come from a Herp Vet after some tests are done to deterimine what is actually going on. I cannot diagnose since I cannot see the turtle or handle the turtle. I can speculate on what the problem may be, bu a hands on exam is what will give the definitive answers. Joan

Joan, Veterinary Technician
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 15325
Experience: 30+ years experience as veterinary tech and 15+ years experience doing reptile rescues.
Joan and 3 other Reptile Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Thank you so much. Great knowledge of reptiles! Will use JustAnswer again if further problems arise. Stephanie KY
< Last | Next >
  • Thank you so much. Great knowledge of reptiles! Will use JustAnswer again if further problems arise. Stephanie KY
  • I must tell you I found this site by accident and was amazed when I asked a question of the Veteranians online. I wish I could have found it sooner it could have made such a difference in the outcome of my pet's surgery. However, I am passing along the information to my sister-in-law (a cat-rescue person who is also a nurse), and perhaps it will help someone else who may experience the same problem. The doctor who answered my question was amazing, and while it didn't come it time to change the outcome of my situation, it is reassuring to know the caliber of Vets/Doctors that you have at JustAnswer. Thank you for being there. Alice H. Jacksonville, Fl.
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Anna

    Reptile Expert, Biologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2652
    Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MS/MsAM/2012-6-9_16426_anna.64x64.jpeg Anna's Avatar

    Anna

    Reptile Expert, Biologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2652
    Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JA/Jav917/2012-2-20_54059_201221802254JoananddavidArchuleta3.64x64.jpg Joan's Avatar

    Joan

    Veterinary Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    5721
    30+ years experience as veterinary tech and 15+ years experience doing reptile rescues.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/vetforyou/2012-6-20_33122_PearlPhoto.64x64.jpg Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    522
    2003 Graduate
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/rydergar/2012-6-6_192240_IMG0328.64x64.JPG Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    273
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/1I/1ISUDVM/2011-3-1_22028_Honeymoon2005075294928803490646858.64x64.jpg Dr. Bruce's Avatar

    Dr. Bruce

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    157
    12 years of experience in emergency, surgery and medicine
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/babybloo/2011-3-10_62613_DavidandI.64x64.jpg Theresa's Avatar

    Theresa

    Voice for your pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    1132
    Veterinary Technician for 15 years