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My year old painter turtle is not using his back legs and is…

Customer Question
My year old painter...

My year old painter turtle is not using his back legs and is not eating well

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the painter's name and age?

Mikey and 16 mo.

Veterinarian's Assistant: How old is Mikey?

1 year and 4 months

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Mikey?

He basically eats crickets

Submitted: 10 months ago.Category: Reptile
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Answered in 33 minutes by:
9/26/2017
Reptile Expert: Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist replied 10 months ago
Anna
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11,949
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 that Mikey is not doing well. Some additional information will help determine the best steps for you to take.What brand of UVB light do you have? How old is the bulb?Does he get a calcium supplement?What temperatures do you maintain under the basking light and in the water?Thank you.
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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Aqua its old at least 6 months. Yes he is getting calicum on live food. Tank water is 74 degrees I don't know under basking lamp
Customer reply replied 10 months ago
No I can't right now money is tight
Reptile Expert: Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist replied 10 months ago
Thank you for getting back to me. I apologize for the delay - there was a power outage in my area. As for the phone call request, I didn't send that. It's something automated from JustAnswer. I'm working on some information for you now, and will 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 10 months ago
Thank you for waiting. Mikey has symptoms of Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). The most common cause of that is lack of UVB light. The only Aqua brand lights I could find do not provide any UVB light at all. Pet stores often sell people the wrong lighting, and I suspect that is what happened to you. The most common sign of MBD is weakness or paralysis in the back legs. I recommend that you get a new UVB light as soon as possible. The Reptisun 10.0 is a good one. Full spectrum, UV, UVA, Sunglo, etc. are not the same thing. Calcium is the other thing Mikey needs, and you are providing that. I would also add a cuttlebone to his tank to be sure he is getting enough. Cuttlebones are sold in the bird departments of pet stores.Mikey is also too cold, and that may be why he is not active. The water should be 78* to 82*F. The basking area should be at least 85*F.It looks like his diet could also use some adjustments. To help you with that, I'm also going to send along a. Are sheet I've written for painted turtles. It will be in a separate post. If you have more questions, just let me know. I hope Mikey will be fine.Anna
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Reptile Expert: Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist replied 10 months ago

PAINTED TURTLE CARE SHEET

Well-cared for painted turtles can live 30 years or more.

The Tank

It's recommended that a baby have at least a 15 gallon tank. By the time the turtle is 3-4 years old, it will need a 60 gallon tank, so it's best to get the biggest you can in the beginning. You can also use a large RubberMaid tote. That's not as pretty as a tank, but costs a lot less. Set up the tank so there's a land area and a water area. Put the basking light at one end so the whole tank doesn’t get too hot. You want the water to be about twice as deep as the turtle is long. If the turtle is two inches long, you'll want four inches of water.

Temperatures and Basking Area

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 and unhealthy shells. 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 80*F, 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 88-92*F. Use a digital probe thermometer to be sure. You can adjust the temperature by raising or lowering the light fixture.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 in the low 70’s.

UVB Light

It's extremely important that you buy an additional light that produces UVB rays. A Reptisun 10.0 in the straight tube style 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, DayGlo, SunGlo, UV, or UVA are not the same thing. I'm putting a lot of emphasis on this because it's crucial to your turtle's health. Without this light, Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) will develop because your turtle 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. To prevent MBD, turtles also need calcium. The easiest way to provide it is to place a cuttlebone in the tank. Cuttlebones are sold in bird departments of pet stores.

Filtration

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. If the tank is too small, no filter can keep up with the amount of waste that turtles produce.

Feeding

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.

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Reptile Expert: Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist replied 10 months ago
Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Anna
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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
I just got your answer today and will get things in motion and let you know
Reptile Expert: Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist replied 10 months ago
There must have been a delay in notifications. Your plan sounds good. The temperature increase should result in more activity within a few hours and a better appetite within a day or so. The MBD takes time to reverse - weeks to months. I wish you success.
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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Do we cook the liver for Mike?
Reptile Expert: Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist replied 10 months ago
any meat or fish should be cooked.
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