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Australian Freshwater Turtles Care Sheet - Skin infections

Discussion in 'General Turtle Care Discussion' started by Craig, Jul 24, 2008.

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  1. Craig

    Craig Founding Member/Administrator/Public Officer
    Staff Member Gold Level Supporter

    Aug 8, 2001
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    Australian Freshwater Turtles Care Sheet - Skin infections

    This is probably one of the most common ailments of turtles. Signs are fuzzy grey or cream coloured patches around the neck, legs and feet. The turtles may appear lethargic and float motionless on the water surface. The skin infection grows larger because the turtles immune system is compromised, usually due to poor water quality or incorrect pH, ammonia being present in the water, poor nutrition, lack of proper basking areas, or inadequate UV and broad-spectrum lighting.

    It is important to treat the skin infection (especially in hatchlings) as a matter of urgency as it can spread rapidly over the whole body and cause death in just a few days.

    To treat this problem, remove the turtle from the tank and allow it to dry completely, making sure this is done in a warm place without any drafts and in an escape proof box or enclosure. Wipe the affected areas (avoiding contact with the turtle’s eyes) with a cotton tip dipped in Betadine and allow to dry for a few hours before returning the turtle to the tank. Repeat this several times a day.

    2% Iodine solution (2% Iodine 98% water) baths in a shallow tub that cover all areas of the infection are also recommended as a treatment for skin infections. Keep the turtle in the bath for 20 minutes before removing it and then pat the turtle dry with paper towels or a clean, dry cloth and treat the affected areas of skin with Betadine ointment.
    Do a partial (1/3 to 1/2) water change and add some aquarium salts (5 gms / litre) to the tank water.

    For advanced cases see a vet who has experience with turtles. Bacterial Skin Infections or Fungal infections can sometimes be confused with just common skin shedding, although skin is normally thin and translucent. Fungal Skin Infections are less common than Bacterial Skin Infections.

    See also AFT’s Turtle Care Guide, the relevant section is reproduced below:


    This complaint mainly affects turtles that are housed indoors and three predisposing factors can be lack of sunlight, incorrect water pH and dirty water. The first indication of fungus will be the appearance of grey, white, or yellow patches on the skin. If the fungus is not treated quickly, it will eventually spread over its entire body and may cause death as rapidly as within three to five days.
    Treat the infected areas with Betadine® ointment and keep the turtle out of the water for approximately two hours before returning it to the water. Thoroughly rinse the turtle under running water before returning to the aquarium as residual antiseptic will destroy important nitrifying bacteria in your filtration system. Avoid contact with the turtles eyes. Repeat this procedure 3 times a day for two to three days. If symptoms show no sign of improving, a vet will need to be consulted to obtain Panalog or Silvazine ointment, both of which have been used successfully.

    Immediately do a 30%-50% water change in your aquarium and add aquarium salt at a rate up to 9 grams per litre; however 5grams per litre is usually sufficient. Nine grams per litre should only be used on a short term basis and not for Fitzroy River turtles (Rheodytes leukops). If symptoms persist, I would also recommend making a small dip of water and broad-spectrum aquarium remedy such as Multi Purpose Medication by Aquarium Science, in a separate container to the manufacturer's recommended dosage. Place the infected turtle in the solution for one hour, remove and allow your turtle to dry out, and then return it to the aquarium. As previously mentioned, most skin diseases require urgent attention and treatment as they can cause death within as little as three to five days and are often associated with another underlying problem.
    A veterinarian may need to be consulted to remedy this condition.

    © www.turtles.net.au (Please note- ATK FB)
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