Turtles can be intriguing and entertaining pets, but they do have a number of unique needs that prospective turtle owners should be aware of. One of their most pressing requirements is health care. To keep your turtle safe and understand when to seek aid, you should learn how to determine if it is dying from the beginning.
To summarize, there are four primary signs of sickness: sluggishness, lack of appetite, weight loss, and unkempt appearance.
Keep in mind that these are only guidelines. Not every turtle will exhibit these symptoms. Even healthy turtles can develop certain health problems.
How to tell if your turtle is dying?
Nobody wants to see their beloved pet suffer, but being able to recognize the signs of sickness can help you provide treatment that much sooner.
To ensure your turtle is healthy and happy at home, familiarize yourself with common indicators of illness or death so that when it’s time for a visit to the vet, there won’t be any surprises. If you are unsure, ask your veterinarian.
10 signs of a sick Turtle
1. Lack of Appetite
A turtle’s appetite is an important indicator of its health. If your turtle is eating poorly, you should seek veterinary care. This is the first sign of sickness. A healthy turtle will eat at least once a day.
If your beloved turtle isn’t up for its usual feasting, it may be a sign of sickness or injury. Don’t delay in seeking help from an expert vet to get them back on the road to recovery.
Look for further symptoms and attempt to notice any other changes in behavior to figure out what condition your turtle is suffering from.
There could be a lot of reasons for a turtle’s loss of appetite, so don’t give up hope! Most turtles, despite their many symptoms, can usually recover from an illness with the help of a veterinarian.
Pregnant females who are about to lay their eggs will typically exhibit notable behavioral changes, such as a loss of appetite. Regardless, other symptoms such as open wounds, lesions, or strange behavior should be taken into consideration.
You might be wondering if dehydration affects aquatic turtles. They do, in fact. They can become dehydrated if they have been out of water for an extended period of time for any cause, such as relocation or shipment.
Adequate hydration is essential for aquatic turtles – give them the gift of life-sustaining fresh water and enjoy their company longer. Dehydration, on the other hand, can cause a variety of health problems.
it is important to monitor your turtle’s water intake and ensure that it is staying hydrated. To keep your turtles hydrated, offer them fresh vegetables sprayed with cool water. A refreshing treat that will encourage them to drink up.
Lethargy is a lack of energy. A lethargic turtle is not moving around or interacting with its environment.
A turtle’s lethargy is a sign that your pet is not feeling well. Your turtle may exhibit this behavior when it is sick. Lethargy is often a symptom of other illnesses as well. Some examples of lethargy include:
– unusual sleeping patterns
– unusual sleeping posture
– unusual movements
– lack of interest in activities
– difficulty breathing
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian.
4. Weight Loss
Turtles lose weight when they are sick or injured. They are usually able to compensate for this loss, but a significant weight loss can be a sign of sickness.
This may mean your turtle has an underlying disease. Turtles lose weight when they are sick or injured. They are usually able to compensate for this loss, but a significant weight loss can be a sign of sickness.
5. Nose/Mouth bubbles or pus-like discharge
You may detect some discharge coming from your turtle’s snout or mouth if it is basking. The mucus will be clear and slightly thick, and it may foam and become frothy as your turtle breathes in and out.
If your turtle is showing some strange behavior and other signs such as a decrease in appetite or sweating, it may be battling with a respiratory illness.
Apart from a respiratory illness, the intensity and location of the discharge can also indicate what is wrong with the animal. It’s an indication of vitamin A insufficiency if the pus-like discharge is thick and comes out of the ears and eyes with enlarged eyelids or ears.
It’s important to note, however, that swollen eyelids and ears with thick pus-like discharge aren’t always an indication of vitamin A insufficiency. From more serious bacterial and viral illnesses to powerful UVB exposure, many can suffer from a variety of medical ailments caused by environmental factors.
If left untreated, a respiratory illness will kill your turtle. There are no home cures for a respiratory infection, but raising the water temperature is an excellent place to start to get your turtle’s immune system going. In order to combat the infection, a veterinary specialist will need to administer medications.
6. Difficulty Breathing
If your turtle is not breathing properly, it is in trouble. A turtle that has a cold can be distinguished from one that has a respiratory infection by observing its breathing pattern. A cold turtle will breathe slowly and irregularly.
If left untreated, a respiratory infection can develop into life-threatening pneumonia. Sneezing, wheezing, and gasping are some frequent respiratory symptoms that indicate your turtle is in distress.
They may also yawn frequently and gape, which is breathing with their mouth wide open. Severe respiratory infections are frequently accompanied by breathing difficulties
7. Poor Shell Health
Your turtle’s shell may be in poor condition if it is scaly or chipped. It may also have a dull or cloudy appearance.
Parasites, fungi, or bacteria are the causes of shell rot. Shell/skin disorders can also be caused by burns, trauma, or bites, although these are secondary. Infections of the scale can cause swelling in any section of the turtle’s body.
When a turtle is bromating, it may appear to be dead; however, its shell can become soft during this process. To make sure your little reptile friend isn’t actually gone for good, watch out for other signs of mortality before you give up.
8. More basking
Turtles that are basking are usually in good health. If you notice that your turtle is basking more often, you should be concerned.
When a turtle is basking, it can’t feed or move. It may also be slower to move around the tank. Turtles that are basking more often may be sick or injured. They may be showing other signs of sickness or injury.
When turtles are unwell, they bask more frequently and for longer periods of time. To fight off infection, some organisms will use a clever trick to raise their body temperature.
They induce fevers that can help defeat whatever is causing them distress. Increased basking does not necessarily indicate that something is incorrect with your turtle or that it is approaching death.
Your water may be too cold for them, or something in the water may irritate them, or your turtle simply prefers to bask. Turtles have distinct personalities, and some bask more frequently than others of their species.
In any case, if your turtle is basking more frequently and for longer lengths of time, along with other symptoms, it’s a sign that it’s dying of some sort of illness.
9. Swimming Issues
If you find your turtle bending too much to one side, having trouble floating, or being disoriented while swimming, it could be an indication of one of several dangerous illnesses. Infections in the lungs, in particular, can cause a turtle’s balance to be affected, making swimming difficult.
Fluid can build up in the lungs in severe cases of pneumonia or a respiratory infection, preventing your turtle from swimming correctly. The animal requires immediate attention, but it may be too late at this time.
Imbalanced swimming could be caused by gas accumulation or a gastrointestinal blockage in the digestive tract, which means your turtle did eat something it shouldn’t have and is unable to pass the object in its excrement. Therefore, if your turtle is having trouble swimming, you should be very careful.
10. Unusual Feces or Diarrhea
Unusual Feces or Diarrhea is an indication of parasite infections, digestive tract destruction, or any other organ damage in turtles. If your turtle is displaying these symptoms, it suggests the sickness has been present for some time.
The presence of blood in a turtle’s excrement could indicate the existence of bladder stones, which are a typical problem in turtles. If your turtle has a clog or obstruction in its digestive tract, it may have blood in its stool or no excrement at all. If there is an obstruction, surgery will almost certainly be required to remove it and save your turtle’s life
5 Common Turtle Diseases
Hypoxia is caused by a lack of oxygen in the water. Turtles can be susceptible to a wide range of ailments, one of the most common being an affliction that causes lethargy, lack of coordination, and general sluggishness.
If your turtle has been exposed to hypoxia for too long, it may be near death. In the wild, turtles exposed to hypoxia may be rescued and survive. However, if your turtle is exposed to hypoxia for a long period of time, they are likely to die.
2. Gastrointestinal Distress
Gastrointestinal distress is a disease that is common in captive turtles. If your turtle is experiencing gastrointestinal distress, it will not be able to feed. Their intestines will become inflamed which can lead to death.
If your turtle has been infested with parasites, its intestinal tract will be infected and swollen. They may also experience diarrhea. If your turtle is suffering from this disease, you will need to remove the parasites from its intestines.
3. Metabolic Bone Disease
This disease can cause bone fractures, deformities, and even death. The sun emits UVB radiation, which is a wavelength of light. In the environment, turtles have natural access to UVB rays from the sun, but unless your turtle is kept outside, it will require artificial UVB illumination.
This light wavelength can be produced by light bulbs, and it is necessary for a turtle’s survival throughout its life. A turtle cannot produce vitamin D3 and calcium adequately without UVB lighting. As a result, animals lacking UVB lighting get MBD, which they can live with but shortens their lifespan significantly.
Metabolic bone disease, an often unrecognized condition caused by a range of factors including vitamin deficiency and genetics, can also be triggered unexpectedly by environmental toxins such as pesticides or herbicides. If your turtle is exposed to toxins, they will accumulate in the bones and cause bone damage.
Diarrhea is a very common problem in turtles. If your turtle is experiencing diarrhea, it will have a foul-smelling, mucus-like substance in its excrement.
The presence of blood in a turtle’s excrement could indicate the existence of bladder stones, which are a typical problem in turtles. If your turtle has a clog or obstruction in their digestive tract, they may have blood in their stool or no excrement at all. If there is an obstruction, surgery will almost certainly be required to remove it and save your turtle’s life
5. Shell Rot
Turtle shell rot is a devastating disease that plagues pet turtles, with symptoms of thinning and wrinkling shells. It’s caused by an insidious fungus that can take root due to either water or air pollution, overcrowded living spaces, or inadequate nutrition.
The shell of a turtle with shell rot will be discolored, soft, and smell rotten, with a spongy texture. It’s unlikely that your turtle will get shell rot if you keep it in an enclosure with clean water and good filtration.
Small areas of shell rot are not fatal to your turtle, but they will develop over time, turn into lesions, and have a bad impact on your animal.
Shell rot is difficult and time-consuming to treat, but it is simple to avoid by keeping your aquarium clean. Maintaining good water quality requires sticking to a regular cleaning schedule and pulling out surplus food after meals.
If your turtle is struggling to breathe, eat, or move about normally, it could be suffering from shell rot. This condition isn’t just a passing problem left untreated it can cause serious issues for your pet reptile.
Don’t wait until the issue worsens; take them in to see their vet and get started on treatment that will help restore health back into its life-protecting carapace.
Dying or Brumation?
Turtles can die from any number of different things. Some common ones are old age, heat stress, dehydration, being crushed, and disease.
Turtle goes into hibernation during the winter, which allows them to get through the colder months without energy.
A turtle that is properly set up for hibernation will stop eating and become very lethargic. Once it starts to lose weight, you need to put it in a warm area to keep it warm.
A turtle that has been hibernating can easily appear to be dead, so it’s important to take precautions when approaching one.
If your turtle isn’t doing well, it’s always worth having them examined to check they aren’t suffering from an illness or illness-related cause of their poor condition.
If your turtle is still in the early stages of growth, make sure to check with a vet for advice on brumation and what special needs it may have during this period. Don’t wait until winter comes around be proactive and ensure you’re prepared.
Signs of a Dying Turtle
Living turtles typically are affected by stimuli, but as they get sick and die, their behavior seems to become numb and they float sideways in the water and sometimes their urine smells bad.
When you can’t seem to sleep, it may be related to the seasons, or it could be an internal condition.
This cold sore can be accompanied by fever, headache, swollen eyes, and runny nose. It’s more common during the colder months when it’s not winter, which is a sign of serious illness.
An ear infection may cause pus to discharge from the ears. Turtle basking syndrome is a deadly condition that is caused by turtles being unable to bask for too long. Turtles with this condition should be taken to a vet immediately.
Captive turtles are often at a higher risk of succumbing to bacterial, viral, or nutritional-related infections due to their non-natural environment.
Unfortunately, this can lead to major health issues for these majestic creatures if not effectively managed by knowledgeable owners. Aquatic turtles are particularly susceptible to infectious diseases.
Respiratory infections are most commonly caused by bacteria and viruses, but sometimes it’s caused by fungi or parasites.
While diseases like ear infections are more the result of poor hygiene rather than a lack of vitamins, a deficiency of vitamin A (in conjunction with other factors) can cause an infection of the ear.
The key to enhancing the lifespan of these pets is to improve husbandry. By taking care of the pet’s physical and mental health, you can help make it live as long as possible.