Have a 4 lb. red ear slider that does not eat. Looks like she is gasping for air, or she has something caught in her

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Customer: have a 4 lb. red ear slider that does not eat. Looks like she is gasping for air, or she has something caught in her throut. When she opens her mouth I try to put food in her mouth, she puts it out. She has not eaten for several weeks, took her to a Vet Sat. and he gave her a vitamin & antibodics shot between the head & front leg. She just lies there opening her mouth very wide, every couple of minutes, where her neck swells up real big.
Her eyes are clear & bright, good limb response, when poking her legs, just cant get her to eat, She is not active or swimming like she should be.Any help would be greatly appreciated
THANKS!! Roland
Answered by Anna in 9 hours 12 years ago
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Anna
30+ years of experience
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17,038 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Reptile Veterinary, Herp Veterinary, Exotic Animal Medicine, Amphibian Veterinary

Hello,

I'm sorry to see that no one has responded to your question earlier. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online and saw your question.

If you still need help, some additional information will be useful.

Was the vet you saw a reptile vet?

Was only one antibiotic injection given, or are you going back for more?

What temperatures do you maintain under the basking light and in the water?

Do you have a UVB light? If so, what brand and size? How old is the bulb?

Thank you.

Anna
Customer

Dear XXXXX, temperature in the tank is about 78 to 80 F. Light bulb 75 watt"Turtle tuff " halogen bulb, Temperature is good.

Was not going back to the vet, he did surgery on our cat, says he has treated turtles in the past.

Have turtle in a plastic tote, she still is inactive, trying like she is gasping for air or clearing her throat. Last night, when feeding the other turtles, I tried to put cod liver oil reptipe vitamins down her throat. Roland

 

Thank you for getting back to me, Roland. your turtle is not eating and is inactive because she probably has a respiratory infection. Repeatedly opening the mouth is a classic sign of a respiratory infection. She really is gasping for air. You can't cure this at home. She needs to be on a course of antibiotics, not just one shot. Please don't put anything else in her mouth when she opens it because it can very easily be aspirated into her lungs. That is life-threatening. Vitamins are not going to help anyway. I know you don't want another vet visit, but if you hope to save this turtle, treatment by a competent reptile vet is going to be the only way to do it. This link will take you to a directory of vets:

http://www.anapsid.org/vets/index.html#vetlist

In the meantime, you need to get the temperature under the basking light up to 90*F. I can tell you care about your turtles and want them to be healthy, but someone (probably pet store personnel) has given you incorrect information on how to do that. Unless you make some changes, as time passes, you'll see more illnesses and deaths. I can tell that you care about your turtle, and want to take good care of him, but someone has given you bad information on how to do that. If you want your turtle to be healthy and live a long life, there are some important changes you'll need to make. I'll give you a basic summary of slider turtle care, so you can see what needs to be done..

It's recommended that a baby slider have at least a 15 gallon tank. One adult needs at least 60 gallons. Two should have a minimum of 90 gallons. You want the water to be at least twice as deep as the turtle is long. If the turtle is two inches long, you'll want four inches of water.

Turtles need certain types of lighting and need to be warm. Air and water that are not warm enough can lead to fungal and respiratory infections. Turtles must have a basking area where they can get out of the water, dry off, and bask in very warm light. The ambient air temperature in the tank should be around 75 (24*C) degrees, so your ambient air is fine, but the basking area should be warmer still. Over the basking area there should be some sort of lamp that will take a 40-60 watt incandescent bulb (or you can buy a ceramic light fixture made just for reptiles). If you live in an area that has farm stores, you can buy a metal light fixture made to keep baby chicks warm for just a few dollars. Don't buy the accompanying bulb, however. You need an ordinary incandescent bulb in the basking light. The basking area should be kept at 85-90 degrees (29 to 32*C). 90* is better for a sick turtle. Use a thermometer to be sure. You can adjust the temperature by raising or lowering the light fixture. Since your tank is small, set up the basking area at one end - you don't want the entire tank to become too warm. You'll also need a submersible aquarium heater that will keep the water 78-82 degrees (26 to 28*C).

It's extremely important that you buy an additional light that produces UVB rays. Your Turtle Tuff only provides UVA. Turtles need both kinds. Make sure the new light provides UVB rays. A Reptisun 10.0 is a good brand that emits UVB. If you choose another brand be absolutely certain it provides UVB rays. Don't take the word of pet store personnel, but read it for yourself. Full-spectrum, DayGlo, daylight, UV, and UVA are NOT the same thing.I'm putting a lot of emphasis on this because it's crucial to your turtles' health. Without this light, Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) will develop because your turtles won't be able to produce vitamin D. Vitamin supplements are not a good replacement for the proper lighting. MBD causes a very slow and painful death. UVB bulbs must be replaced every six months as they lose their effectiveness after that, even though they may still look fine. Light that comes through a window isn't sufficient because the glass filters out most of the rays turtles need to stay healthy.

Turtles are very sensitive to water quality. Even if you change the water every day, it can still contain harmful chemicals. A good filtration system is essential. Water changes are also needed even with a filter.

Feeding is another area where pet stores often give out bad information. Commercial food should make up 1/4 of the diet. Animal products (meat, earthworms, canned cat food) should make up another 1/4. The remaining half should be plant foods (dark lettuce like romaine, bits of strawberry or melon, etc.)

You may want to look at this site for additional information on care and feeding:


http://www.austinsturtlepage.com/Care/caresheet-red_ear_slider.htm



If you have further questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope your turtle will reach a full recovery.

Anna
Customer

Thanks Anna for your response. Have the turtle in the tote to keep her isolated from the other turtles. The water turtles have a pool (4 ft kids swimming pool ) about 6 inches of water with plastic plants, so the can hide & sleep & a 75 gallon tank (filled to the top) connected with a ramp where they can swim around, Had the red ear slider 15 to 20 years, will take your advise and see if I can get her to a turtle vet.

Thanks for the input on the lamps, will take that advise. THANKS again Roland

You're welcome, Roland. It sounds like you have really gone above and beyond to provide a good home. It's just too bad you weren't given the correct information on heating/lighting to begin with. Once your turtles have the proper temperatures and UVB rays, they'll have a perfect set-up.

There's no need to click on accept again. Thank you for accepting above.

Anna
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