I have a southern painted turtle. His rear end is floating, so he can't swim down. His rear end is floating, so he can't

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Customer: Hello! I have a southern painted turtle. His rear end is floating, so he can't swim down.
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What seems to be the problem with the painted turtle?
Customer: His rear end is floating, so he can't swim down This seems to have just started today
JA: Where does the painted turtle seem to hurt?
Customer: He doesn't seem hurt. He's swimming around, and eating, and basking, all normal amounts but he's floating
JA: OK. No obvious pain. What is the painted turtle's name and age?
Customer: Stripe. I got him in February
JA: How old is Stripe?
Customer: about a year old
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Stripe?
Customer: He is floating. His rear end is floating. He can't swim down.
Answered by Jav917 in 2 mins 6 years ago
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Jav917
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27,324 satisfied customers

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

Hello,

My name is ***** ***** I have been a Vet tech for 30+ years with special interest in reptiles and reptile rescue.

Can you tell me if you see bubbles from the nose or mouth?

Any open mouth breathing?

Has he been passing stool?

Joan

Customer
Hi Joan. I'm not seeing any bubbles. His mouth is closed. I don't know if he's been passing stool....I've actually never seen either of my turtles poop since I got them in February.
Customer
I imagine they must be. They eat regularly, and swim and bask as expected. They're just dramatically happier if I feed them in the aquarium, so it's harder to tell if they poop.

Thank-you! There are several reasons for this issue. One is a respiratory infection. This can get worse if it is the problem. It unbalances them and eventually can go into Pneumonia. The Next issue if not passing stool and constipated this too can cause issues. Lastly it can be a Kidney issue. In all these circumstances, the turtle should be seen by a Herp Vet for evaluation. I would be happy to locate some for you with a State. I would make sure the temp is between 80-82* to make sure we stimulate the immune system and get him in for a Hands on check up.

Joan

Customer
The internet implies it could be a GI problem. I usually feed reptomin, rotated with Zolla floating "chasers" treats. The past week or two I have fed less lettuce than usual. And I think he may be eating guppies...there seem to be fewer in the tank than there were last week. This would be new...he hasn't shown any interest in eating guppies before.

I am not fond of live food for these turtles. Feeding is an area where pet stores often give out bad information. Commercial food and animal products (meat, earthworms, canned cat food) should make up about 3/4 of the diet. The remaining 1/4 should be plant foods (dark lettuce like romaine, bits of strawberry or melon, etc.) Hatchlings should be fed every day. Older turtles should be fed 3 times per week. Overfeeding can lead to gout and kidney failure. Without being able to check him out it is hard to tell. You should be seeing stool in the tank. The eat and defecate where they swim, so you should be seeing the white urates and the brownish stool. If not seeing that in the tank, that may very well be the problem.

He could have a gas bubble in the intestinal tract as well which could be from him eating guppies.

Joan

Customer
OK. I would say usually reptomin is about 3/4 of their diet and lettuce is the other 1/4, and I feed them 3-4 times per week. But the last two weeks I have not been feeding lettuce (I have been a bad turtle mom, and not home much.) Could the sudden lack of roughage be part of the problem?The guppies in the tank are more for decoration and fun than for food, but it is possible they just became food.There has always been brown...detritus...bits of stuff at the bottom of the tank. I suppose that's probably poop. Or bits of spoiled food? I never really thought about it beyond trying to get as much of it out as possible when doing water changes.Between now and when I can get to a vet, do you recommend I take the turtle out of the tank? The sick turtle is a southern painted. The aquarium also has a musk turtle and perhaps 10 guppies. It's a 65 gallon tank.If so, do you have any recommendations on where to put him? I only have one lamp with UVB/heat.

I just suggest starting the dark greens, and I would also bump the temps to 80-82 in the water. The little higher temp can aid in digestion as well as boost the immunity. I would not separate him right now. That can cause further stress. You may want to try some meal worms or earth worms for a Meat source since that is important in the diet. As I said if you supply a State I would be more than happy to locate a Herp Vet for you.

Joan

Customer
Thank you for your help. I live in Denver, CO.

You are lucky there are several good Herp Vets in Denver. Alameda East has been featured on Animal Planet.

This is the link for the Herp Vets in CO: http://www.anapsid.org/vets/colorado.html

I hope I have addressed all your concerns. I strive for excellent service and to earn a 5 star rating for I can be compensated by the site fot time and answers,

Joan

Customer
One more quick question...I just realized the tank was already around 83. I suppose now is a bad time to make it colder? But when they are healthy again should I go down to the 70s?Thank you for your help!

That is fine tanks do fluctuate in temps and over night may drop down, so that is fine.

Joan

Customer
OK, thanks!

You are so welcome, Please do not forget to rate my service. Thank-you for using just answer and please let me know how the turtle is doing.

Joan

Hi, I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going? Joan
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