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Young Macleay Turtle with Plastron in a bad way

Discussion in 'Common Health Problems, Injuries and Treatments' started by StillLearning, Dec 7, 2017 at 11:30 PM.

  1. StillLearning

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    Hi everyone

    I’ve had my little Macleay for around 4 months (I believe he was a few months old when I got him) and a few weeks ago I noticed some discolouration and lumps in its Plastron, in between its legs.

    After reading quite a few posts, I have been treating him with Betadine each night for the past two weeks, with no improvement.

    I believe some of the issues stem from it struggling to shed its scutes. I use a toothbrush every night and a couple of the scutes have come off, which has shown even more issues. A scute came off tonight and revealed a hole with whitish cheese inside it. I cleaned the cheese out and used the toothbrush (with Betadine ointment) but I’m not sure if I’m doing everything correctly so thought I’d reach out for help.

    Worth mentioning, I noticed 3-4 white spots on his shell a while ago but was told from a breeder that I didn’t need to worry about it.

    Food wise, it loves its food, eating a variety of bloodworms, marinara mix (mussels, fish, prawns, squid), the odd turtle dinner (max once a week), live crickets (rarely shows any interest in them) and any of the tetra/baby bristlenose it catches. I also had duckweed in there for a month but it didn’t seem interested in it.

    Water temp sits at 25 degrees. Standard 4 foot tank, pH is at 7.8 and other tests coming back normal. Clean the tank every week generally. 1/2cm later of calgrit on the bottom. Using an Aqua One Aquis 1050 Canister filter and I have had a T8 globe running (turn on before I leave home at 7am and turn it off at 8pm each night) and have my heat light on for approx 4 hours a day.

    I did a UV test on the weekend and the results came back as weak so I bought a 75w super sub UV globe. I try to give it some natural sun outside over the weekend for 15 minutes a day also.

    I tried giving him an iodine bath tonight but wasn’t sure I got the mix right or used the correct item for the bath. Every other night I’ve used the Betadine ointment/liquid (I’ve used both), kept him out of the tank for an hour, then washed him off and put him back in the tank.

    I must be doing something very wrong but I’ve got no idea what it is. Should I go to a vet and ask for Fortum? If so, is David Vella the recommended vet? If anyone can help, it will be greatly appreciated.

    Pics of tank, filter, light and turtle are attached.

    Thanks in advance!

    Regards
    Daniel

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  2. smoyle

    smoyle Adult Turtle
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    Hey Daniel, welcome to AFT.

    I'd wait till Craig and/or Kev can tell you for sure but that looks like a really bad case of shell rot to me. They'll be able to tell you in detail how to treat it.

    Your lighting appears inadequate for a start - compact fluros are useless. You need the long fluoro kind, so it runs the length of your tank, at 10.0 uvb. The diet is also no good, throw out the bloodworms, crickets and frozen dinners. Your turtle needs 75% plant material - duckweed, azolla, vallisneria, elodea. My Macleay's diet is about 95% duckweed, he eats so much of it.

    Do you have salt in your tank at all?

    You should never brush your turtles shell with a toothbrush or attempt to remove scutes yourself. They will come off themselves when they're ready.

    Please read the two links in my signature as a matter of urgency, and make the necessary changes to your husbandry. In particular your turtle is going to need a lot more sun time if it is to survive.

    All that said, you've come to the right place, you'll get nothing but the best advice and all for free.
     
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  3. StillLearning

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    Thanks for your help mate.

    I do have a long fluoro light as well as my compact. I’ve just checked my fluoro and it is an Exo Terra repti-glo 10.0. I’ve had it for around 3/4 months, however when I put the UV reader card underneath it, the reading is coming back as low, which is why I bought the compact fluoro to go with it. Do I need to change the long fluoro more often than every six months?

    I’m not sure why he didn’t touch the duckweed last time but I will buy more (and the other plants you mentioned also) and give it another shot. Do you recommend not feeding him for a couple of days to give him more of an incentive to eat the plants?

    I use the API aquarium salt every time I do a water change and prime water ager. Are these both ok?

    Thanks for your help regarding food. I forgot to mention that I also put glass shrimp in the tank for him but he hasn’t eaten any in the two weeks they have been in there (I did see him try to get one when I first put them in though).

    I’ll also have another read of the files and make the changes necessary.

    Thanks
    Daniel
     
  4. Craig

    Craig Founding Member/Administrator/Public Officer
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    Hi Daniel and welcome to AFT!

    I'm sorry that this has happened to your turtle. There has definitely been shell rot on your turtle's plastron for longer than 2 weeks.
    The shell rot is very aggressive and for this reason I recommend seeing a vet to go on a course of Fortum (Ceftazidime) antibiotics as well. (NOT Baytril!)

    You will need to also read and follow the advice in the following thread: https://www.australianfreshwaterturtles.com.au/threads/shell-rot-on-plastron-and-underside-of-carapace.15568/#post-139799 regarding how to treat and dig out the pus from the areas on the plastron that have shell rot. It is imperative that you open the wounds that have shell rot and remove the pus as the aggressive gram negative bacteria that is slowly eating through your turtle's shell is anaerobic, meaning that it survives in the absence of oxygen. Opening the affected areas and removing the pus with a blunt needle, soaking in a very shallow bath of 2% Iodine that is just deep enough to cover the plastron, then dry-docking for at least 3 hours with Betadine ointment on the clean, open wound is highly recommended.

    Personally I would go to a vet that isn't as expensive as the one you mentioned, just to get antibiotics. It is easy enough to do yourself as Jasmine did.

    One more thing, the cement besser block/ hiding place sml besser.jpg
    that you have for fish may have helped cause the bad shell rot your turtle has. One scrape or scratch from the abrasive surface of the block is all it takes for bacteria to get into your turtle's shell to aggressively take hold and eat through bone and tissue..
     
  5. Rodney

    Rodney Sub-Adult Turtle

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    Hi Daniel

    I have been looking at the photo of your aquarium .

    To me it appears the driftwood is resting on a piece of Texas holey rock. All rocks are unsuitable for turtle aquariums and Texas holey rock is very abrasive. If you run a hand over the rock you will get a feel for effect on a turtle. This type of rock has a place in the aquarium fish hobby but not for turtles.

    Further along the tank are two fish caves. Are the made from building material? If so they may leach chemicals into the water.

    The plastic plants are held in the substrate by weights. I previously used similar in the fish keeping hobby but now have misgiving regarding what the are made from. Some of the cheaper artificial plants as sold in two shops and K Mart may not be really suitable for any aquariums. I don't know if Craig or Kevin share my view on this?

    Is your substrate 100 % calgrit? I couldn't determine if there is river sand in the mixture?

    I can see mountain clouds in the aquarium. Is the turtle catching them as they are members of the carp family and not suitable as feeders.
     
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  6. Craig

    Craig Founding Member/Administrator/Public Officer
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    Agreed, as per my post above regarding the small besser block. I didn't have time to fix up all of the upside down and sideways photos last night so I didn't notice the besser block until I fixed the orientation of the photos.

    Yes I agree. You should purchase the Aqua One plastic plants, not the cheap ones as a lot are not UV stable and leach chemicals into the water.

    Yes the substrate should be a River sand and Calgrit mix as specified by using the AFT calculator.

    Yes I agree with this too. It would be much simpler and so much better for turtles if breeders and pet shops advised purchasers to come to the website and follow all of our recommendations and especially prior to purchasing a turtle.
    In the long run it will save you money from having to pay for vet fees and medicines, as well as help prevent turtles from being afflicted by illnesses and diseases that can be prevented by researching here first.
     
  7. Craig

    Craig Founding Member/Administrator/Public Officer
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    The areas that you will need to check and debride, (that I can see from the photos) and pay particular attention to have a red line pointing to them in the photos below.
    Another reason why this bacteria has taken hold is due to all of the unshed scutes on the plastron that provide a perfect breeding ground for anaerobic bacteria.

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    Shell rot bad.jpg
     
  8. Andrewasw

    Andrewasw Sub-Adult Turtle

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    I am so fortunate that I found this forum about 1 week into keeping Macleay's, the breeder I bought them from gave me a care sheet that was so poor that I felt I needed to find way more information and Google pointed me straight here. I am happy to report that my turtles are very happy and healthy thanks to all the help and information on here, absolutely brilliant.
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  9. StillLearning

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    Thanks everyone for the replies.

    I will remove the Holey rock this afternoon when I get home. I only included it because I was told that driftwood makes the water acidic and I know the Holey rock increases pH. Happy to remove it though.

    The caves are for the bristlenose in the tank. They are constantly breeding. The turtle can’t get in the cave but has eaten a few of the baby bristlenose.

    I haven’t seen the turtle chase the mountain clouds or catch one. They seem to stay at the top of the tank, while he chases the tetra/shrimp/baby bristlenose at the bottom of the tank. Again, happy to offload the mountain clouds as I really don’t care about them.

    Substrate is 100% calgrit with no river sand. Is there somewhere you’d recommend in Sydney to buy some? My closest river is the Georges, so any sand from there may contain human body parts so happy to spend money to buy some.

    Does anyone know of any reliable, cheaper vets around Sydney? I know that a lot of them don’t specialise in reptiles which makes things tricky.

    I’m guessing the best way for a turtle to shed its scutes is a lot of natural UV and dry time?

    Thanks again!
     
  10. StillLearning

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    Also, I believe all my plants are Aqua One but I plan on buying live plants mentioned above (duckweed, azolla, vallisneria, elodea) over the weekend, so I’ll remove all the plastic plants for the live plants.
     
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  11. Craig

    Craig Founding Member/Administrator/Public Officer
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    The below vet is in the Recommended vets list in NSW. I'm not sure if this vet is still practising there as we don't ring around regularly chasing the vets. Jannali isn't too far from Hurstville. You could ring your local vets and ask them if they have experience treating freshwater turtles. If you have a good experience with your local vet then you can send me a private message and I will add their name to the list.
    Dr.Julian Smith
    Jannali Veterinary Clinic
    544 Box Road
    Jannali, NSW
    (02) 9528 3244


    Yes that is correct, as well as a good diet especially excluding turtle dinners without overfeeding your turtle so that it can shed its scutes properly and doesn't grow too fast.
     
  12. Rodney

    Rodney Sub-Adult Turtle

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    Hi Daniel,

    As Craig stated the issue is not the cement besser block providing protection and habitat for the catfish but its harmful effect on the turtle.

    River sand can be purchased from Bunnings. I think for around $8 for a 20 kg bag. But be prepared to sieve the sand to eliminate the abundant pebbles. Also the sand needs to be thoroughly washed to remove the silt.

    While you are at Bunnings look at purchasing pool salt at around $ 9 a bag. Cheapest method of buying salt for the aquarium.

    On the Georges River the small beaches may also be an alternative.

    The mountain clouds will survive outside if you have a pond.

    For feeder fish live-bearers are good. Gambusia can be gathered for free using a bait trap.
    AFT is a great resource on methods. On the Georges River above the weir at Liverpool is a good spot.
     
  13. StillLearning

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    Brilliant, thanks so much!

    I’ll be making all the changes this weekend so I will keep everyone posted on the turtle’s condition. I’m hoping it can make a full recovery!

    I know of a place where I can catch plenty of gambusia and shrimp so I might go for a hunt in the morning.

    Cheers.
     
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  14. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    G'day mate and :aftwelcome:

    You can't go wrong with a terracotta pot... Saw it in half and you have 2 turtle caves.
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  15. Anna C

    Anna C Juvenile Turtle
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    Hello Daniel,

    We have all been given bad advice, and had sick turtles at some point, and all ended up looking for better advice, and you’ve ended up here in good hands !!
    My poor girl Donkey who is 21 years old (not sure how she got to that) got really sick at the beginning of this year, all due to poor advice, and I was so very close to losing her! It’s taken nearly a full year, around 42 needles of antibiotics, and the amazing advice of AFT (especially Craig & Kev) to be able to say my girl has a bright future.
    It is going to be a long road for your little one, with many challenges and set backs, but with perseverance and lots of dedication, you can turn this around !!! :)

    Anna C
     
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  16. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    Pity Bentaz didn't read this last post @Craig
     
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  17. StillLearning

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    I’ll definitely keep everyone updated on its progress.

    For one of the first times I actually caught him sitting on the dock this morning, which I was happy about!

    Thanks again for everyone’s help!
     
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  18. Anna C

    Anna C Juvenile Turtle
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    Hi Daniel,

    I am just wondering if you have found a vet to take your turtle to? Because even with my limited knowledge, while making the recommended changes to diet and environment will help immensely, I believe your turtle is going to need the help of antibiotics to recover from this.

    Anna C
     
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  19. jasmine

    jasmine Hatchling Turtle

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    Hi guys, my poor little guy is still not out of the woods with shell rot he's been dry docked and a lot of TLC and flushing wounds but the shell rot is still present I just did surgery again on 4 new spots I didn't pick up. I'm taking him back to the place I purchased him and giving them the what for. I know it's highly contagious so apprehensive about replacing with another sick turtle, and then worried my tank will also have the bacteria present to re infect again. This was supposed to be a wonderful new pet that has become a fight to save its life. Constantly finding more pustules is really disheartening and making me feel like I can't save him and mine is not even as severe as yours. It's traumatic digging out the pus and finding more on the poor guy. Will I have to start over with tank water and cycle to assure none of the shell rot is left in the tank?
     
  20. Craig

    Craig Founding Member/Administrator/Public Officer
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    Hi Jasmine, did you take your turtle to the vet to get antibiotics as I suggested?
    The infection would be all throughout your turtle's system and needs a course of Fortum (Ceftazidime) injections ASAP. The vet will need to give a minimum course of 5 injections. 1 every 3 days.
    Your tank will need to be completely stripped down and the whole tank, substrate and any tank ornaments cleaned with bleach before rinsing and left outside in the sun for 24 hours. You will need to use Seachem Prime to neutralise and remaining bleach and start the whole 6 week cycling program again using Seachem Stability.