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My turtles shell seems to be cracking. Noticed a little on…

My turtles shell seems...

My turtles shell seems to be cracking. Noticed a little on one side early in the week,but now it seems to be spreading. No vets are available in my area today. What should I do?

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. What is wrong with your turtle?

My turtles shell seems to be cracking. Noticed a little on one side early in the week,but now it seems to be spreading. No vets are available in my area today. What should I do?

Veterinarian's Assistant: Where does your turtle seem to hurt?

It started on the front right side of his shell, just off the midline. I don't think he's actually injured because nothing happened. It's now spreading towards the back of his shell. Could he be sick?

Veterinarian's Assistant: What is the turtle's name and age?

His name is***** him looked at one time and the best we can tell is that is 1-2 years old. He was caught in the wild.

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

I have not had him long. Only about 2 1/2 weeks. So I don't know much else. But he appeared to be healthy when I got him. And his shell was not cracking.

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Answered in 13 minutes by:
10/14/2017
Anna
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11,883
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 Tut is having a problem. This sounds like it could be caused by shell rot or Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD). If you know anything about his previous home, can you tell me if he had a UVB light?What brand of UVB light do you now have?What temperatures do you maintain under the basking light and in the water?Is anything oozing from the cracks?Thank you
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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Nothing is oozing from the cracks. I bought the Zoo Med Repti Tuff lamp, 75w. I also put him outside in the sun for at least 2 hours a day on sunny days. I imagine his light source was sunlight prior to his arrival at my parents pool.
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Temperature under light is 78. In water is 72.
Thank you for getting back to me. 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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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Thank you!!!

I'll start with a first aid measure to prevent infection from getting into the cracks. Buy some Betadine, which is sold in the first aid departments of discount stores and pharmacies. Dilute about 50/50 with water, and pour some into the cracks.

Tut is going to need to be seen by a vet, but I'll give you the best way to house him until Monday. It involves what is called 'dry-docking.' You'll need to prepare a 'hospital' for him. A large plastic tote works well. It should be equipped with a basking area at 90*F and a UVB light. The ReptiTuff bulb only provides heat, and UVB is extremely important, but I'll tell you more about that in a moment. Tut will be kept warm and dry, except for a 30 minute bath twice a day. The two baths are very important to prevent dehydration. Feed him during the bath. After each soak, repeat the Betadine treatment. Try not to get the Betadine on his skin. If possible, keep it on the shell.

Here is a link to a directory of reptile vets:

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

It's extremely important that you buy an additional 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, DayGlo, daylight, UV, and UVA are NOT the same thing. I'm putting a lot of emphasis on this because it's crucial to a reptile’s health. Without this light, Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) will develop because they 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 the UVB rays.

Pet stores are not a good source of information on care of reptiles. Many reptile pets die each year because their owners rely on pet store advice. The just are not well-informed. I want to give you more information, but it will help to know what kind of turtle Tut is. Does he have red markings on the sides of his neck?

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
He has no red markings so I know he's not a slider. Eastern Box Turtles are common where we live, but he never completely hinges his shell like a box turtle. His head and legs are always visible. There is no webbing on his feet but he does have very sharp claws. He also seems to prefer water over completely dry areas. I took all of this to mean that he is probably a semi-aquatic. Nothing that I have read about the Eastern Box Turtle is consistent with him, though he looks exactly like one (minus the hinged shell).
Can you post a photo? Knowing what kind he is would be very important. You can upload a picture by clicking on the paper clip icon in the tool bar at the top of the space where you type. Instructions will pop up.
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I have never seen any turtle marked like that other than the box turtle. It's possible tge shell damage prevents him from closing all the way. I just did some research and tgere don't seem to be any other North American turtle that is marked that way. At any rate, I woukd dry dock him until you can see the vet. The vet will be able to examine him first hand, and tell with certainty what kind he is.
Anna
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11,883
Experience: Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
Verified
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