Have Reptile Veterinary Questions? Ask a Reptile Expert.
My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am a Vet tech for 30+ years with special interest in Reptiles and Reptile Rescue.
Can you tell me about the set up for the turtles?
Do you have filtration?
Do you use a UVB light? If so florescent tube or compact coil, strength, age of bulb and brand?
Was there any lump, bump or spot on the head before the hole was there?
State to locate a Herp Vet?
If you can post a picture it would be helpful. Use the paper clip icon in the tool bar above the text box for a PC, or use Photobucket if you have a pad or mac.
I will answer as best I can. The turtles belong to my son who is away at college. They live in a fairly large tank (about 4' by 18"). There is a florescent tube light across the top. I do not have any idea about the age or brand of the bulb. There are two filters in the tank. There is not any other light. The turtles eat pellets, nothing else. As far as I know there was no lump or bump or spot on the head previously but I can't say for sure (my son just left over the weekend and he was taking care of them). We just moved two weeks ago, but they seemed to survive the (long) car trip okay and there was no hole when we arrived. We now live in Chapel Hill North Carolina. I have taken a picture but don't know how to attach it. I have a mac and don't know what photobucket is.
Photobucket is a free photoserver. You can go to www.Photobucket.com and post the picture and send me a link to the picture. I would like to see the area if possible before giving you information. Joan
Ok, I have set that up. Which kind of link do you want? There seem to be several types.
I need the link where the picture is posted. If you copy and paste the link in the address bar when you are looking at the picture, that should take me me to it. Joan
Sorry to take so long, but my computer crashed. I looked at the picture and from the looks of it, this may be a injury due to the other turtle scratching the head with its nail. We can treat it, by taking the turtle out of the tank and dry docking it for periods of time. What you will need to do is put the turtle on a paper towel in a rubber made and clean the area with some diluted Betadine and water to tea color. This will need to be done 4 times a day. Once that is done and it dries, you can then use some Neosporin on the area. This will aid in healing. Keep him out of the tank for an hour after treating. That is what we call dry docking. He can then go back until next treatment. It should help it heal. If it does not show improvement in a week, then a Herp Vet visit may be needed. I will give you a link for Vets: http://www.anapsid.org/vets/northcarolina.html
I do want to add the diet should be 50% Leafy greens, 25% pellets and 25% live prey and the turtles should have some type of calcium supplement available. The UVB light needs to be changed every 6 months. This will help keep the turtles healthy. Please let me know if I can assist you further. Joan
We tried giving them leafy greens but they didn't eat them and they just clogged up the filters so we gave up. I'm afraid that live prey is not happening as long as they are in my care. Do you have any other suggestions? Also, where do I get betadine? I only know of it being used in hospitals.
You can offer small slivers of cooked chicken instead of live prey. I understand the reluctance for live prey. For the greens you can use aquatic plants in the tank. Betadine is sold where first aid supplies are located in the stores. Target and Walmart carry it and is very reasonable. It is great to keep for pet and human injuries alike. Please let me know if you have further questions. Joan
Do you have any advice on how to get the turtle to keep its head out so that I can apply the medicines? Also, what is the best way to apply them. I have been using a cotton swab but have not been very successful as the turtle will not put her head out.
It may take two people to do this, but if you poke him in the tail area, he should pop his head and neck out.Have someone grab around the neck and hold the head while you apply the medication. It can be a little tricky, but should work for you.Joan
Unfortunately two people are not available most of the time. I tried poking her in the tail (and also the tail and back legs as I read on line) but it didn't do much to get her head out. She is quite a large turtle and I can barely hold her so I don't know how successful this will be.
If you can catch her basking, you can have everything ready and grab around the neck with one hand and apply the Neosporin to area with the other. At this point we can skip the Betadine, if we have to and just apply the Neosporin if it makes it easier. Normally it does take two people to work on a turtle. They can be difficult. Joan
I'll keep trying but it isn't easy. How long do I have to keep doing this for?
If you can get this done for a couple of days that should aid with the healing. The other option would be to have a Herp Vet treat the area, but from the picture, it looks like a scrape from the other turtle's nail. Joan
Ok, thank you. I'll do my best.
You are welcome! Joan
Hi,I did give you a rating. I have given up trying to treat the turtle. Ithas learned that every time it sees me it should pull its head into itsshell and keep it there. I spent hours trying to put on medicine andaccomplished nothing. I hope it will eventually get better on its own.
Yes you did rate my service. The site will send out reminders with the Experts name on it and I am so sorry, if they sent one. I appreciate the good rating. The area will heal in time and I am so sorry it has been so difficult for you. Thank-you for using the site. Joan