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I have 2 turtles and 1 of them is lethargic! Last night she…

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Hi, i have 2 turtles...
Hi, i have 2 turtles and 1 of them is lethargic! Last night she was on the floating island and with the other turtle moving so much it fell off. Then it was trying so hard so swim and it just couldnt move its right side to swim. I put her in a seperate container and all of a sudden her body started shiverring like if it was cold. Normally she is the aggresive one so there is defenitley something wrong. Oh and her eyes are also red and swollen.
Submitted: 6 months ago.Category: Reptile
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Answered in 17 minutes by:
8/5/2017
Reptile Expert: Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist replied 6 months ago
Anna
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11,713
Experience: Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with over 20 years of experience keeping reptiles. I'm sorry to hear of this problem. It does sound very serious. Some additional information will help me determine the best steps for you to take.How old is the turtle ?Have you noticed any bubbles coming from her nose or mouth?When she swims, does she list to one side ?What temperatures do you maintain under the basking light and in the water?What brand of UVB light do you have? How old is the bulb? (This may be important concerning the shaking you saw).What do you feed the turtles ? Any supplements?Thank you.
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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
I dont keep track of the temperature of the water, my lights have been out for about 2 months i need to replace the bulbs. Yes when she swims she struggles to. Like if her right side was paralyzed or something she tries to move her left feet only. I lowered the water level since she was struggling to swim. I feed them the floating food sticks every other day and give them some hermit crabs. No bubbles coming from her nose or mouth. Like i said she is normally aggressive and mives alot amd now she doesnt even open her mouth. My daughter just told me that our baby neice had some dog food in her pocket and fed it to the turtles! You think that may be the problem? It was from the brand kibbles and bites for small breed dog. The turtle is about 3-4 years old. When i got home the water was very dirty. When i seperated the other turtle from the sick one it seemed like the "healthy" turltle had diarreah or something because she just kept dirtying the cointainer she was in. I changed it like 4 times. The sick turtle is no longer shivering but still doesnt move much and eyes still swollen.
Reptile Expert: Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist replied 6 months ago
Thank you for getting back to me. I'll take a look at your pictures now, then go to work on some information for you. I'll post it as soon as I have it typed up. I appreciate your patience.
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Reptile Expert: Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist replied 6 months ago

Thank you for waiting. The dog food wouldn't have been harmful to the turtles if they ate it. It could, however, pollute their water, if left in the tank. I don't think that's the problem.

Turtles are cold blooded, and have no ability to warm themselves by shivering. In warm blooded animals, shivering increases body heat production, but cold blooded animals produce no body heat at all. Their warmth has to come from outside the body. They are not capable of shivering. That means the shaking is due to something else. It was probably muscle twitching or a form of seizure.

Both twitching and seizures are classic signs of Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). So is difficulty moving. Treatment of MBD depends on how advanced the condition is. The first steps are to make sure the conditions are right in the turtle’s habitat, and that it is being fed properly. MBD usually results when the turtle is not given a UVB light. It's extremely important that you buy a light that produces UVB rays. A Reptisun 10.0 is a good brand that does. 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, UV, or UVA are not the same thing. Vitamin supplements are not a good replacement for the proper lighting. 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. It’s also good to get the turtle outdoors for some natural sunlight if possible. Close supervision is necessary to prevent overheating, escape, and death by predators such as raccoons and dogs.

Proper diet is also important. Feeding is an area where pet stores often give out bad information. Commercial food should make up only 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.To reverse MBD, you also must provide calcium. The easiest way to do that is to place a cuttlebone in the tank. Cuttlebones are sold in the bird departments of pet stores. You may want to look at this site for additional information on care and feeding. I especially recommend that you check out the lists of appropriate foods.

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

Correct temperatures are also needed because a turtle that is chilly cannot digest its food well. That can lead to under utilization of calcium and, eventually, MBD. The ambient air temperature in the tank should be around 75 (24*C) degrees, with the basking area 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. Hardware stores sell similar fixtures as work lights. The basking area should be kept at 85-90 degrees (29 to 32*C). Use a thermometer to be sure. You can adjust the temperature by raising or lowering the light fixture. If your tank is small, set up the basking area at one end - you don't want the entire tank to become too warm. The lights that come with the covers on aquariums are not suitable for turtles. You'll also need a submersible aquarium heater that will keep the water 78-82 degrees (26 to 28*C).

MBD will not reverse quickly. It takes time.

There are many different conditions that can cause swollen eyes, so it's not safe to make any assumption about what's causing it. The best thing to do is see a reptile vet. Since there is no exotic or herp vet near you, I suggest calling a local vet and asking if they would be willing to work with a herp vet by phone consultation. This link will take you to a directory of reptile vets:

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

If a vet is out of the question, provide proper temperatures and UVB light. Because vitamin A deficiency can cause the problem, start feeding a small piece of cooked beef liver each day. You can also use an eye antibiotic in case this is infection. Here is a reputable source:

http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Terramycin.html

I realize your other turtle appears healthy. Weaker turtles tend to get sick more quickly than stronger ones, but eventually, lack of UVB light and calcium will always lead to MBD. In some cases, it develops in weeks, while other times take years.

If you have more questions, just let me know. I hope the turtle will be able to reach a full recovery.

Anna

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Reptile Expert: Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist replied 6 months ago
Hi Merari,

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

Anna
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