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Turtle Health

Turtles are as prone to infection and disease as much as any other pet so it too deserves the health care and attention that you would give your other pets.

Contradictory to popular opinion, taking care of a turtle is a big responsibility even though they don’t need daily and constant care. Most of the turtle health problems start with unhygienic conditions around it and an inadequate diet. Some of the most common turtle health problems are related to insufficient nutrition in their diet.

Apart from the edible plants that are found in the turtle tank also feed it foods that are rich in vitamins and calcium. You can also feed your turtle worms and bugs, insects, shellfish, fish, and certain water plants.

A proper turtle diet plan is important as neglecting this can lead to diseases like the metabolic bone disease which usually occurs due to a poor diet and very little calcium which makes the bones very weak and brittle.

This causes the shell to curve outwards and the limbs to spread out and make it difficult for the tortoise to walk properly and they tend to drag their feet each time they walk. This can be easily treated with changing the turtle’s diet to one with extra calcium and vitamins. Sometimes the lack of enough basking light also affect the turtle and makes it lethargic and in active, so make sure  that the basking light is always positioned correctly so that it will not cause health problems for your turtle. Another turtle health concern is shell rot. Small enclosures and unclean water can help fungus growth which can be very damaging to the tortoises shell. Shell rot might take a long time to heal moreover it can also lead to further and more serious infections if this concern is not addressed immediately. Thus it requires great caution on your part to keep your pet in the right and clean environment.

Parasitic worms like the roundworm and the hookworm are also a growing issue for turtle health. These worms latch on to the turtle and affect them both internally and externally making them lethargic, causing diarrhea and loss of appetite. This can be avoided by making sure that the turtle enclosure is always clean. Extra dry conditions can also cause respiratory disorders making their noses and eyes to swell up. This disease may only be treated by antibiotics. For this, it is best to contact a vet who has specialized in reptile care.

  Submitted on August 6, 2010  

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