Bruminating Painted turtle health scare

Paschendale52

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@Markw84 @Yvonne G

Hello,

I just went out to check on the turtles bruminating in the pond and I noticed that Fatty (southern painted map turtle) was upside down. Three map turtles were in evidence at the bottom, the others I'm sure are hiding out somewhere. The map turtles all look fine. Fatty has been seen all winter so far moving around from place to place. Not much movement, but somewhere a foot away from yesterdays position every few days.

When I got Fatty out, I noticed that there was some movement, but also these clearish/yellowish swollen areas at both her eyes and in two places along one forearm. See pictures below. She isn't moving much in a tupperware inside now for isolation. Any ideas what I can do to treat this? Should I put her in the inside tank at 80°F with the giant mexican musk turtles for now? Any advice is appreciated!

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Paschendale52

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In looking at the spots on her arm and eye I'm wondering if something caused her to be fairly unresponsive in the water and the koi/other turtles tried nibbling at her. If no one has any advice on a path forward I'll try putting her in the indoor water after she has had a few hours to slowly warm to room temperature. I don't want to take her from ~40°F water to 80° water too quickly and shock her or anything.
 

Markw84

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Not sure what those spots are. The first picture is not in focus so hard to see. Perhaps a skin fungus? The fact that you found the turtle upside down indicates something wrong. An overly lethargic turtle making a futile attempt to swim to the surface is normally what ends up that way.

I would treat in a betadine bath and keep indoors in a warm tank after an overnight dry-dock in a warm place.

From what I see - That is an integrade southern/eastern painted turtle
 

Paschendale52

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Not sure what those spots are. The first picture is not in focus so hard to see. Perhaps a skin fungus? The fact that you found the turtle upside down indicates something wrong. An overly lethargic turtle making a futile attempt to swim to the surface is normally what ends up that way.

I would treat in a betadine bath and keep indoors in a warm tank after an overnight dry-dock in a warm place.

From what I see - That is an integrade southern/eastern painted turtle
Thanks for the input Mark! You can see that whatever the skin/eye stuff is is protruding out from the surface a bit. Can skin fungus grow in ~40°F water like she has been in since late October? Would you think the fungus or whatever the stuff may be is a secondary effect to the lethargic swimming to the surface?
 

Paschendale52

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Not sure what those spots are. The first picture is not in focus so hard to see. Perhaps a skin fungus? The fact that you found the turtle upside down indicates something wrong. An overly lethargic turtle making a futile attempt to swim to the surface is normally what ends up that way.

I would treat in a betadine bath and keep indoors in a warm tank after an overnight dry-dock in a warm place.

From what I see - That is an integrade southern/eastern painted turtle
One more question about the betadine bath.

I'm familiar with using it to clean cuts/scrapes etc. For this, would you use undiluted betadine and just pour it over the areas that seem to have either cuts or a skin fungus or whatever that growth is? Or would you dilute into a bath that she would stay in for a bit. I recall reading about diluting into a "tea" color for this, but I can't recall or find info for a dilution percentage or length of bath.

Thanks!
 

Paschendale52

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Small update.

After about 6 hours of dry dock, Fatty is slightly more mobile. She is picking up her head and moving it around. Arm and leg movement is minimal. She is moving her arms and legs a small amount in response to me picking her up, but not lifting herself to move. I can see her trying to blink, but she hasn't yet opened her eyes.

The protrusions from her eyes and arm are no longer present. I'm wondering if there was moisture beading up that I missed when drying her off originally. The spot are her front right arm that looked like skin fungus now is dry and looks a bit scabby. Perhaps still skin fungus. Her eyes are a bit swollen, but she is making attempts to open them.

I put a few drops of betadine on her arm and eyes and then washed it off after about 5 minutes. She is now in dry dock above the indoor turtle tank. I also noticed some little bubbles by her mouth, which isn't surprising given that she was underwater and unresponsive for potentially as long as 2 days. But I can watch her now move her head around and her throat move as she breathes.

I will keep y'all posted on her status and best case she just stays inside with the 4 giant mexican musks who are 4 months old and in the 180 gallon tank.

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Markw84

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@Paschendale52 I use diluted betadine in a bath that is made to be tea colored. Immerse the whole turtle in it for 20 minutes or so. That is for a skin fungus. But it appears your turtle looks good now and I see no signs of what a fungus would look like. It would not simply wash off so easily.
 

Paschendale52

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Minor update.

Fatty has been moving around a bit in the dry dock. Her eyes don't look swollen anymore to me, but they havn't opened. I can watch her look around and blink several times, but not open her eyes. I guess the blinking I'm seeing is just the 3rd membrane lid closing, but the main 2 lids are staying shut. I suppose, I don't understand turtles eyes as well as I wish I did. I'll get her into the warm water tomorrow morning.

I havn't seen any water come out of her nose or mouth in the last few hours. On the near side of the plastic container in the lower picture you can see what looks like a tiny bubble nest. That is from when she pressed her face into the plastic and water/snot/mucus came out a bit bubbly and stuck. That was about 3 hours ago.
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mark1

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i would treat that turtle with a course of antibiotics , ceftazidime ..... ceftazidime needs kept frozen....... personally i wouldn't dry dock him either ...... i'd keep him warm and hydrated , and expect to see him improve within 2-3 injections ..... JMO
 

Paschendale52

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i would treat that turtle with a course of antibiotics , ceftazidime ..... ceftazidime needs kept frozen....... personally i wouldn't dry dock him either ...... i'd keep him warm and hydrated , and expect to see him improve within 2-3 injections ..... JMO

Thanks for the input Mark. would the certazidime require a round of treatements at a good reptile vet? I havn't found one here in Albuquerque yet, but I'll certainly look around. She has been dry docked now for about 12 hours. I'm basically at a crossroads between dry dock till morning or go into the warm water now. The area where I have her above the tank is in a relatively closed volume above the 80°F water, but the lights all go out, including the basking light which isn't shining on her, but it keeps the upper area warm. I imagine it will get cooler, maybe down to 70°F or so over night. Can you explain why you prefer getting in the warm water now?
 

mark1

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my personal opinion is i don't like to stress them anymore than need be, i don't think he needs to be in water of any significant depth , just able to stay wet/humid and feel secure , i've kept sick aquatic turtles in a container of soaked sphagnum moss kept 80-85 degrees with a che ..... i've also left them outside in their enclosure with an infrared bulb on 24/7 as long as i see them using the heat ...... i doubt dry docking till morning would do any harm ..... keeping him at an optimal or near optimal body temp 24/7 would be beneficial ....... i don't think it'd take a reptile expert vet to run him through a course of ceftazidime , just a competent one that can dose him properly ..... if the antibiotics are going to work i'd think you'd see improvement pretty quickly , 3-4 days at most .....
 

Paschendale52

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Morning update!

I added 80 °F water to Fatty's little enclosure this morning once the lights came back on. She immediately started moving around pretty well and lifting her head up and out of the water to breath and look around. Her left eye is still closed but her right eye is open. It looks like there is a good amount of schmutz of some kind on both eyes. The right eye you can see, but it looks like it is through a cloudy membrane.

As she moves around in the water more and more, the water is starting to fill up with detritus that I assume is accumulated stuff from sitting at the bottom of the nearly frozen pond for 2 months up until this point. It seems to be coming off on its own and she isn't scratching at her eyes, so it doesn't seem to bother her that much.

My current plan is to leave her in this small tub of water over the 180 gallon turtle tank for today and try to add her to the tank tomorrow. Unless something changes that is. I'll contact a vet after work today and ask about the antibiotics.

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Paschendale52

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Next day update:

Fatty has been in the big 180 gallon tank for about 24 hours now. She initially went to the bottom and struggled to swim up to the top. Swimming somewhat frantically but only getting about half way to the surface of the 24" deep water. I helped her get to some of the many places to hang out near the surface and she has stayed there. She has moved all around the 6' x 2' footprint, but always hanging on something near the surface.

For now, I'm assuming the weakened swimming is due to not having done it in 2ish months. The remaining issue that I can see is that she still won't open her eyes. She has what looks like something fiberous on both eyes. Its similar to what was on her arms that schluffed off in the water, but this is remaining. I don't know if its algae or a fungus of some kind.

I didn''t have the opportunity to get to the vet yesterday, but I'll either reach out this weekend or I have time to do it on Monday. She seems to be improving, but still has a ways to go.

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Paschendale52

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has he eaten or shown interest in food?
Not yet. I keep putting food pellets in front of her, but she doesn't react to them. She has been consistent so far in picking a place at the surface and hanging out there alternating between head fully out and looking around (eyes closed still) and head underwater for 30 or 45 minutes at a time. Every few hours she'll swim around to somewhere else nearby and hang out at the surface there instead. I'll call the vet first thing monday morning and see if I can get her in ASAP for some antibiotics in case the swelling of the eyes is an infection. I wouldn't think an infection could take hold in 40 °F water, but her remaining symptoms of illness are just the swollen eyes and lack of hunger after 2.5 months of bruminating.
 

mark1

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eating is a big deal , at least to me, with anything i take out of hibernation or comes out on their own..... i've had some eat as soon as they were warm ,others take a day or two .....

while not optimal growth ,there are bacteria that can grow at below freezing temperatures . stuff spoils in a refrigerator ....... a couple common pathogenic bacteria found in turtles are pseudomonas and aeromonas both of which have species that can grow at 40F ....... i would guess any common bacteria that infects reptiles can grow at lower temps ...... 40 degrees also suppresses a turtles immune system ......... i know i have a different perspective than most folks posting on here , but i've always been an antibiotic first in case person ... lots of folks here will tell you a vet is incompetent if they just send you home with antibiotics without knowing if and what is wrong with your turtle .... x-rays , cultures, pcr , elisa testing and a diagnoses ..... been my experience in real life it doesn't work like that ....... they treat the most likely cause of the symptoms, and if needed the symptoms , until that doesn't work ........ no matter what the cause of a disease bacterial infections are common secondary problems ........

went to the cleveland clinic with a pretty good "cold" , i went because i couldn't sleep due a cough...... told the dr. i took a covid rapid test and it was negative , she rolled her eyes and said "that doesn't mean much "...... she said "you want me to test you" ? i said "you want to"? she said "if you want me to" ? i said "does it make a difference" ? she said "not to me, i'm treating the symptoms , if it doesn't get better or seems to get worse come back, were here 24/7" ...... that is my reality with my animals vets and my own doctors..........
 

Paschendale52

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Fatty was eating today. The swelling eyes have gone down and her left eye is showing again. I assume being able to see again is what drove her to eat. The right eye is less swollen, but has more of the algae looking stuff around the edge of the lid. I'm assuming at this point that the swelling and such was algae growth under the lid and that she has been pushing it out slowly. She has seemed much more active since this morning.
 

jeff kushner

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Following and glad to read that your little guy is doing better. I didn't want to waste space when you needed real help....I can leave that to folks smarter than I.

My guys in the pond under the Boysenberry tree back in the day simply disappeared when it got cold. Then in the Spring....they come up. We only rarely saw them till then.

good luck!
 

Paschendale52

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Thanks Jeff. She seems to be doing much better. Actively swimming around, eating, and basking. She still has cloudiness over both eyes, but seems to be able to see ok. I've been out checking on the little map turtles in the pond more since I this. I've seen as many as 3 at a time in various hiding places. But with all the leaves at the bottom they are very good hiders. One of them seems more likely than the others to have moved quite a bit between days when I go out to check.

I havn't seen Granny the Razorback Musk Turtle since it first got cold.
 

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