My turtle is sick or acting weird -

What do I do?

This is a very short list of some of the more common turtle problems. The best thing to do is RESEARCH your turtle and the care it needs. These needs are spelled out online in documents called care sheets. You can download these from any number of sites. The medical link at the bottom will get you to one of the best care sites.

Turtles do get sick. When they do they will also need Medical Attention, Regardless of how much the turtle cost. When you purchased or adopted the turtle you gave it a promise to take care of it, and provide it with a good home. A very important thing to do when you get a turtle is to RESEARCH IT!!! Make sure you know exactly how to care for it. Most turtles will live a long life if they have proper care and a very short one if they don't.

IMPORTANT: Locate a herpetologist, or a veterinarian that is very familiar with reptiles and specifically turtles. At some point your little turtle will most likely need to see one. Nice to have one lined up, so you don't have to scramble to find one when you actually need one.

Here are a few of the most common illnesses a turtle can get. There are many more, so if your turtle friend has a problem it is best to seek the advice of a veterinarian. Make sure the vet that you are going to has experience working with turtles. Just because the person is a vet does NOT mean they know about turtles.

Cloudy eyes

This can be caused by an injury or a vitamin A deficiency. Watch it closely and get in touch with your veterinarian. They may prescribe some eye drops.

The plastron of a turtle that has shell problems

Eyes swollen shut

There could be many reasons for this. This could be a water quality issue or a more severe illness. Contact your veterinarian.

Floating weirdly

This is a serious problem. Your turtle could have pneumonia, which can be fatal. Get your turtle to a veterinarian as soon as possible. They can prescribe an antibiotic.

Pneumonia is usually caused by your turtle being exposed to cold temperatures. Make sure to find out what species of turtle you have and what its needs are. You can't just plop your turtle in a tank next to a window and hope for the best.

Lack of appetite

It is OK for a turtle to not eat for a short time, but if your turtle has refused foods for several weeks there is a problem. Make sure your temperatures are where they are supposed to be. Most turtles will not eat when they are cold. Make sure you are feeding it proper food. RESEARCH YOUR TURTLE AND ITS NEEDS. Each species has its own specific foods and optimal temperature range.

Scutes falling off

This can be normal, as long as they are losing scutes (shell pieces) and there are new ones underneath. Turtles shed their shells (carapace = top, plastron = bottom). If they are discolored, stinky, or puss filled, then we have an issue. You could have a turtle with an infection, shell rot, or something else. In any case, your turtle will need a visit to the veterinarian. They can prescribe ointments, creams, or antibiotics. Then, look into your turtles needs, most likely your water and air temperatures are off.

For a more detailed description of turtle related illnesses, please click the link below:

Austin's Turtle Page - Medical Issues