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Advice - Received Sick Baby Box Turtles

Discussion in 'Tortoise Health' started by Hello0123, Mar 2, 2018.

  1. Hello0123

    Hello0123 New Member

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    Hi,

    I'm new to this forum and would be grateful for any advice for caring for two new sick box turtles. I grew up in Louisiana, and my dad and I had pet box turtles (never babies) that we found in traffic when I was a kid. They were kept in an outdoor pen in the summer, and in an indoor enclosure in the winter and we never had any significant health problems with them.

    Last week, I ordered my dad two "well-started" 6 month old three-toed box turtles from tortoise town. We received them on Tuesday, and my dad noticed that one of the turtles was much smaller, its shell much thinner, more lethargic and his eyes only opened when you placed him in the water dish. Both ate a meal worm that first day. The other turtle is alert, active, and has no discernible eye issues, but has not eaten since Tuesday. The sickly one has continued to go downhill. Its arms and legs literally flop when you place him in the food dish, though he does perk up a little when placed in the water.

    The setup: (indoors) low plastic tub with substrate, zoo-med cypress mulch (misted daily to ensure that it is damp) topped with moss (also misted), two shallow water dishes, food dish with a few leafy greens, worms, and the wet pellet food for turtles. There is a broad spectrum light on one end of the enclosure during the day, and a "red" heat lamp on the same side at night. Temperatures on the in the enclosure range from 83-90 degrees.

    We soak the turtles twice a day, and have placed them on the food dish with the live meal worms before and after soaking. I bought the calcium powder, but wanted to wait to dust the food until after they were eating regularly.

    Can anything be done for the sick turtle? Do you have any tips on how to get the active one to eat?

    Thanks again for your help!
    Cowboy_Ken likes this.
  2. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    Try adding baby food purée carrots and baby piedialyte to the warm soaking water.
    The uvb bulb is not one of the coil types right? It's a long tube flourescent correct?
    If you can I would house the sick one by itself in a smaller container so for now it doesn't have to travel far to get to its food, water etc. even a smaller box set inside the bigger enclosure. Put it under the uvb side with a hide, water and food.
    @Yvonne G moght have more ideas.
  3. Hello0123

    Hello0123 New Member

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    Thank you, we will try the carrot and pedialyte soak. Regarding the lighting, he has a 100 watt "Day Blue Light" for reptiles with a fluker's clamp lamp hanging above the enclosure during the day. I think it's Zilla brand.
  4. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    Is it uvb bulb? They need uvb. I looked it up. It looks like a regular bulb right? It doesn't have uvb. They have to have uvb and a basking spot of 95-100 to digest their food.
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  5. mark1

    mark1 Well-Known Member

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    high humidity ...... does the sick one have any nasal discharge ? open mouth breathing ? there is stuff that can be done medically , fluid and/or antibiotic therapy ........ as far as eating , you can try putting them in some shallow water , just enough to cover their plastron , with lots of red worms in it .... put some type of overhead cover for them , so they feel safe ............
  6. Hello0123

    Hello0123 New Member

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    No discharge or open mouth breathing. The eyes look a little swollen and that's about it. He does open them after he soaks for a few minutes. I'll try feeding them in a little water, thank you.
  7. Hello0123

    Hello0123 New Member

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    I don't know what kind of UVB bulb it is, but I'll check tonight. It's not a long tube, though.
  8. Big Charlie

    Big Charlie Well-Known Member

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  9. nightoff

    nightoff Member 5 Year Member

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    I would send a cease and desist letter by certified mail and indicate that you will take legal action if the images are not removed immediately. It is horrible that they are selling inferior torts to unsuspecting owners that then have to scramble to save them, only to have them die.
  10. Cowboy_Ken

    Cowboy_Ken Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    From who or what company did you purchase these little guys from?
  11. Hello0123

    Hello0123 New Member

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    I've spoken with Tortoise Town twice since they arrived on Tuesday about the sick turtle. They are responsive, seem to really care about what we're trying to do. Today they recommended that I try feeding them wax worms (as a treat to get them eating, not regularly) and red wigglers because that's what they feed them there. The pet store did not have red wigglers though, and they're not touching the wax worms.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
  12. adamk77

    adamk77 New Member

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    I agree with Wellington. That would be my approach as well.
  13. adamk77

    adamk77 New Member

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    The healthier one suddenly not earing is a little concerning. Separate them as was suggested before and tend to them separately as per their separate needs. Pedialyte is awesome for all kinds if animals to rehydrate, not just humans. Definitely start there and with the baby food as it is easy to digest and should be just as easy to eat because it more or less can be drank. I imagine this is why Wellington said to mix it with the Pedialyte. Cudos to Wellington for the advice. I agree 100%.
  14. adamk77

    adamk77 New Member

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    They need need heat and ugh. Mercury bulbs cover both, but for my Russian tortoise, I have her with a heat bulb and uvb tube in one tortoise table in order to provide light over the entire enclosure and at the same time give her the temp gradient along with the uvb.
  15. AJK Aquaria

    AJK Aquaria Well-Known Member

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    Anything live and wriggling should be devoured.

    At this point, if you are willing to invest, consult a qualified veterinarian who has a background with reptiles. 'Well started' from a company with contacts who have zero involvement with the animals or where they come from will do little to alleviate your issues.



    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
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  16. lisa127

    lisa127 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I agree with the suggestions given above except for the temperatures. No box turtle needs 95 to 100 degrees. Moderate temperatures from 75 to 90 with high humidity is best for box turtles. Since these little ones are not well I'd keep them more in the 80s, but temperatures near 100 are not desirable for a box turtle.

    I hope your babies pull through. Good luck!
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  17. mark1

    mark1 Well-Known Member

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    by fluid therapy , I meant sub q or iv fluids , being tiny it'd obviously be sub q ...... they can add some glucose to aid with a little energy ........ imo , a little guy as sick as this one sounds is in a bad situation in need of intensive care ...I agree on heat , 83 degrees is about what I believe to be a stressless temp , you can't expect a really sick turtle to regulate their own temp , an incubator type setup is best ...... ..... usually when they get this sick it's not a single issue anymore.........
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  18. Hello0123

    Hello0123 New Member

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    Thank you all for your advice! We have been following it all weekend. We went back to petco and got the wax worms tortoise town recommended and both have eaten. The sick one was even eating the meal worms dusted with the calcium powder.

    We have also soaked them once or twice a day in a few tablespoons of carrot juice and a few tablespoons of pedialyte mixed with warm water for around 20 minutes at a time.

    One of the sick one’s eyes looks a bit better. The other is still bad, and has started to look a little crusty (pictures of each eye below). We planned to start him with a drop of cod liver oil in each eye this week, but wanted to ask what you thought first.

    The temp in at the side of the enclosure with the light is between 80-85 degrees.

    Please let me know if you have any other recommendations! We really appreciate it!

    Attached Files:

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  19. lisa127

    lisa127 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Cod liver oil is a great idea. One drop in the eye. You can also put it on food once a week.
  20. William Lee Kohler

    William Lee Kohler Active Member

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    I can't believe you go to a store to get earthworms. As a kid I just dug mine out in the yard for free. As for mealworms sometimes if the mealworms fed are not killed by the turtle they can eat a hole in the turtles innards and kill them. I would avoid them especially for such small animals with relatively weak jaws.
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