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Ear Abscess?


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#1 cinderella

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 12:35 PM

Just a week ago I had to put down my precious Pepper due to a horrible ear abscess--well she had two and it had progressed so quickly and she had gone down hill so quickly that we opted to not put her through surgery and simply send her to the rainbow bridge (we did try antibiotics and vitamin shots first).

Today I went out to check on the other 3 females and I find my now oldest female with an ear abscess. It wasn't there when I checked on her yesterday morning. I am so upset, I dont' want to lose her. Her appetite has been great, she has been soaking everyday, she's active--why did this happen?

I've been reading old posts here and on turtle forum and I've read about people who start treating with antibiotics and vitamin shots to begin with and this works. Should I try this route first? I'm just so upset and scared that I'm going to lose them all now.

Leslie

#2 AmyW

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 01:31 PM

I had a box turtle with an ear abscess and was told that having a too dry habitat can cause them. All the vet did for my turtle was lanced the abscess, drained the infection and gave him an antibiotic cream. They didn't close the spot up, but instead left it open. I had to apply the cream either once or twice a day by gently pushing it into the abscess spot. It was healed and looked as though it'd never happened within about a weeks time. I upped the humidity of his enclosure and didn't have any more problems like that. I'm not saying this is the cause of your turtle's abscess, just offering an experience of mine. I'm sorry to hear about your Pepper. :(

#3 cinderella

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 01:34 PM

I wonder if its humidity. Its been very hot here lately--I try and hose the pens down each night and they always have fresh soaking water but like I said its been terribly hot the last 2 weeks.

I'll be making a few calls tomorrow to see what the lancing will cost me.

Leslie

#4 turtlefanatic

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 01:40 PM

Leslie, I'm so sorry to hear that you lost Pepper. Please accept my sincere sympathy.

Ear abscesses usually don't respond to antibiotics and vitamin injections. It's necessary for the abscess to be surgically opened and drained. Antibiotics are generally prescribed afterward. It's not a difficult procedure for an experienced herp vet; and if caught in time, the prognosis is usually very good. If you have a vet in whom you have confidence, I'd advise you to have the surgery done on your turtle in the near future, rather than waiting and trying the antibiotic/vitamin route and giving the abscess time to worsen.

Good luck with your girl. Please keep us posted on her progress.

#5 AmyW

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 01:52 PM

Leslie, when I had my turtle's abcess lanced and drained, it was very inexpensive. He used a local anesthetic to numb the area and used a small scalpel to open it up. The stuff inside (I know it sounds gross) looked like a white-ish hard ball of who knows what. I'm fairly certain that it cost me under $75.00 for the whole procedure and cream. Good luck to you! I know you must be feeling overwhelmed!

#6 cinderella

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 01:54 PM

It doesn't help that I have a cat momma and 5 7 weeks old kittens living with me right now--and I just started back to work fulltime. There doesn't seem to be a spare moment to breathe.

Thanks for helping calm me--even if that sounds stupid I'm just freaking out. Losing Pepper was so hard.

Leslie

#7 AmyW

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 06:46 PM

I understand! I remember when my fiance and I both lost our jobs within a week of eachother. Ugh, talk about hard times! Money and time can only be stretched so far. ;) Keep us updated, I'll keep you and yours in my thoughts.

#8 BoxTurtleLover

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 07:39 PM

I've had lots of exposure to and experience with ear abscesses. They are very common in box turtles, even those in the wild. The cause is usually an upper respiratory infection which spreads up the ear canal. It may or may not involve swollen, puffy eyes. RTI's are usually contageous amongst boxies so that is why you are seeing the abscesses appearing in your other turtles. Usually when turts are kept in a group and one gets an abscess or other symptoms of an RTI, it can affect the entire group. Usually when a new turtle is introduced into a group that has not been isolated for a few months prior to the introduction, that new turtle can bring along all sorts of viruses or bacteria which can infect all turts exposed to it. The abscess is a localized infection which can easily be removed by someone experienced in lancing the abscess but for most people the best thing to do is to take the turtle to a vet at the first sign of the abscess forming. Some people say to wait until the abscess is larger since if you attempt to remove it too early and not all gotten out, it will just come back. The abscess is hardened yellow necrotic material that must all be removed for the abscess to heal and not return.

There are people who handle abscesses themselves although I don't recommend that at all. Experienced people are able to lance the abscess themselves, flush it with betadine and apply antibiotic ointment. Systematic antibiotics are usually not given. Experienced people also know how to push the abscess in from the outside when it is small to prevent its formation (when small/just starting, the contents can be "pushed/pressed" from the outside to be expelled inside the turtles throat and the turtle's mouth opened and the contents removed. It is always best to take the turtle to the vet for an exam of the situation and to have the abscess lanced. I was given a female Box Turtle last year with a huge abscess on the side of her head. The coworker who gave it to me was scared (her son had it for a few years) and didn't know what to do. Since I had no idea what I was dealing with as to the health of this turtle, I took the turtle to my vet where she was examined, had the abscess lanced and I was given antibiotic cream to put on the wound and a hexacloraphone solution to flush the wound daily. She recovered nicely but did not want to eat for a while. The cost was about $100 which included the medication.

One thing you can do to prevent further incidences of RTI is to ensure your boxies are getting enough Vitamin A and D and any time at the first sign of an abcess or a RTI, isolate the turtle from any other turtles right away. Also, if you acquire any new turtle from any source no matter how healthy you think the turtle looks/is, isolate it for six months before introducing it to your other turtles.

I am so sorry you had to put your turtle down. I know how hard it is for you.

#9 animal kingdom2

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 09:11 PM

I'm sorry to hear about Pepper. Losing an animal is never an easy thing. But as the others say, for abscesses, you really need to take them in to see a herp vet. With appropriate treatment, your others should be OK.

#10 cinderella

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Posted 13 June 2009 - 05:39 AM

Pumpkin has her abscess lanced on Thursday. I found a great vet in Cincinnati--Dr. Werwa who only charged the office vet to do the work--even let me go back and watch.

She also decided to urinate at the vet and present a whole new can of worms--pun intended--she has worms, which he said means they all do. So now I am treating all 4 with panacur. I have to take a stool sample back in like 4 weeks to be sure they are gone. Treating them with the panacur is proving troublesome. Pumpkin is good, Reginald is good, Lily is okay but Violet won't open her shell for anything in the world. So I'm waiting on a call from Dr. Werwa today to find out how to get the meds in her.

The vet was highly impressed with their setup and diet and says he sees very few that take that good of care of their boxies or turtles in general.

He will definitely be our turtle vet from now on.

Leslie

#11 KTSmith

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Posted 13 June 2009 - 07:22 AM

I ended up having to inject worms(red worms or wax worms,super worms didn't work too well because of there hard shell) with dewormer medicine to feed it to my adult turtle. It was kinda a pain, but it worked.

#12 turtlefanatic

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Posted 13 June 2009 - 07:35 AM

Thanks for the update, Leslie! I'm glad that Pumpkin came through with flying colors. It was great that the vet allowed you to observe the procedure. Sometimes when we don't see things being done, we imagine them to be so much worse than they actually are.

Something good came out of the ordeal...you found Dr. Werwa. A good herp vet is priceless! And kudos to you for receiving good marks on your husbandry. Good luck with the worming!

Ginger

#13 BoxTurtleLover

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Posted 13 June 2009 - 09:34 AM

Pumpkin has her abscess lanced on Thursday. I found a great vet in Cincinnati--Dr. Werwa who only charged the office vet to do the work--even let me go back and watch.

She also decided to urinate at the vet and present a whole new can of worms--pun intended--she has worms, which he said means they all do. So now I am treating all 4 with panacur. I have to take a stool sample back in like 4 weeks to be sure they are gone. Treating them with the panacur is proving troublesome. Pumpkin is good, Reginald is good, Lily is okay but Violet won't open her shell for anything in the world. So I'm waiting on a call from Dr. Werwa today to find out how to get the meds in her.

The vet was highly impressed with their setup and diet and says he sees very few that take that good of care of their boxies or turtles in general.

He will definitely be our turtle vet from now on.

Leslie


LOL as to the "can of worms!" If you have turtles, you will always encounter worms. In boxies they are usually pinworms. Many people just deworm twice or so a year with all turtles kept togethe as a precaution. Panacur is good and also Strong-id. The dosage is usually very small and what I do to get it in the turtle is use a small flat rounded object (think nail file edge but rounded) open up the turtles mouth under the beak holding open the plastron with my fingers of my other hand, inserting my fingernail on my left thumb in the turtles mouth and getting the dose in there. You can also get the turtles mouth open and insert a rounded long wood stick or long rounded object to hold the mouth open (think thin BBQ skewer in wood/plastic as an object). It's taken some practice so I am used to it and it works. Your vet could show you also how to pull out the turtles head holding it behind the head area and get the mouth open to insert the dose. It's hard when the turtle goes in but if you are patient and relaxed, the turtle will also be and realize you are not trying to stab it in the head or anything and will relax in your grip. That is the time to move and get the dose in. There should be a class for all turtle keepers as to how to do this! :-) Maybe folks should get a video on line on here or something! Best of luck - let us know how it goes!

Edited by BoxTurtleLover, 13 June 2009 - 09:36 AM.


#14 jsbelljr83

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Posted 13 June 2009 - 05:39 PM

Two of the EBT's I adopted had ear abscess, they both have large lumps on the side of their heads, this happened before I adopted them, but they show no signs of being effected by them.


PS. Two of our Bearded Dragons had worms when they were maybe 6 months old, man oh man was it hard prying their little mouths open to squirt the meds in!

Edited by jsbelljr83, 13 June 2009 - 05:41 PM.


#15 Dee Loves Boxies

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Posted 13 June 2009 - 06:37 PM

A few weeks ago my Bella, had an ear abcess. I feed her more carrots and yams and now the lump is no where to be found.

#16 cinderella

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Posted 13 June 2009 - 08:15 PM

Thanks for the tips on getting the meds in everyone!

Today was another challenge, Dr Werwa basically said the same thing and offered to do it for me if I brought them all in--but he's about 30 miles from my house and I really can't do that.

Tomorrow we will try to inject some worms--also bribe them with larger worms to open their mouths to bite--all I had today was some little worms I dug up. Reginald also always bite for a raspberry.

One more day then we get a break for a week....

Leslie

#17 BoxTurtleLover

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Posted 14 June 2009 - 09:31 AM

A few weeks ago my Bella, had an ear abcess. I feed her more carrots and yams and now the lump is no where to be found.


Sometimes an ear abscess will drain out inside the turtles throat and go away. Some people early on in an abscess press it in to do that and open the turtles mouth to remove the contents. Another trick to prevent any ear abscesses, eye issues or respiratory issues is something I learned years ago raising red-footed tortoises. Avitron and Avimin, which are no longer manufactured, but similar bird vitamins are which are high in Vitamin A and D. Twice a week or so I put several drops into drinking water. I have not had an abscess in years in any of my long-term captive turtles. I've had new ones come in once in a while sporting the awful respiratory signs and the abscess develop but for prevention purposes, the trick is the Vitamin A and D. One must balance it out not to overdose so it cannot be used on other foods.

Edited by BoxTurtleLover, 14 June 2009 - 09:31 AM.





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