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My new box turtle has bubbles from his nose! Help!


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#1 Brian Pierce

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 02:48 PM

On Tuesday, I received my first turtle, Donatello, from Exotic Pets, LLc out of Las Vegas. He was shipped to me overnight. He's a male Eastern Box turtle (at least as far as I know, he's male. thats what I asked for and that's what they said they sent me!)

so anyway, as soon as I got him I put him in his indoor habitat, which is where I'll be keeping him since I live in an apartment. temp is about 80 on the warm side and about 75 on the cooler side. humidity is generally between 50-80% Since I got him he hasn't eaten very much and spends most of his time under the half-log cave. He's eaten 2 strawberries in the 3 days I've had him and that's it.

misting him quite a bit (like its raining) seems to get him to pick at a strawberry a little bit, but today after doing this I noticed a small amount of bubbles from his nose. it only lasted a few minutes. is this sick?? or did he just get a bit of water in his nose?? also his stool (he's only gone twice) seems a bit green and mushy. I have no idea what turtle poop is supposed to look like.

I may be overreacting, but I want to be safe! I worry about my little guy! this is all very new to me. any help would be fantastic! thanks!!

#2 turtlefanatic

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 09:43 PM

A big Turtle Times welcome to you and Donatello, Brian!

If you're only noticing bubbles from your turtle's nose for a few minutes after misting him, there may be no problem. However, if he exhibits other symptoms such as a persistent runny nose, mucus or foam from the nose or mouth, clicking sounds with respiration, or open-mouth breathing, he may have a respiratory infection and should be seen by an experienced herp vet as soon as possible.

Normal box turtle stools are dark and firm. You should have a sample of Donatello's stool checked by a veterinarian to rule out parasites (worms). If treatment is required, make sure that your turtle isn't given Ivermectin, which is often used for mammals but is toxic or fatal for turtles.

Boxies are notorious for becoming "hooked" on a favorite food, sometimes to the exclusion of everything else. It's important to offer a variety of foods. Here are some links to information about a healthy diet for box turtles:
http://boxturtlesite.info/diet.html
http://aboxturtle.co...turtle_diet.htm
http://www.anapsid.org/box.html

Donatello may just be taking some time to become adjusted to his new home. Taking him outdoors on a sunny day may cause him to perk up a bit. I hope you'll enjoy your new friend and that you'll have many happy years together!






#3 Brian Pierce

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 02:58 AM

Hey thanks for the advise! later yesterday, I decided to take the cave away for a bit and pick him up and place him in his pool. after that I started feeding him some crickets and carrot shavings by holding it (with tongs) right in front of him. he loved the crickets, but was picky with veggies. after that, he did some digging and spent some time testing the boundries of the enclosure. No more bubbles at all for the rest of the night. I put his cave back in b/c it was getting dark out and I was going to turn off his sun lamp soon, and I wanted him to be able to sleep in there if he wanted to, but he never went back in, so I think he's ok and maybe less scared. I'd like for him to eat from the dish i put in there for him instead of having to waive it in front of him, but baby steps...

Also, it has been unusually warm here the past few days. How hot is too hot?? should I keep his heat/UV lamp on when its almost 100F degrees outside (about 80-85 inside)?

#4 BoxTurtleLover

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 08:22 AM

Welcome to the forum....I always suggest to new turtle owners to take their new turtle to the vet for a check up, especially if one exhibits some issues as yours apparently has. Bubbles froma box turtle's nose are not normal unless the turtle was eating right after drinking or vice versa where some water may come out of their nose when they swallow. Bubbles from the nose is usually the sign of the beginnings of a respiratory infection and the stool you describe is not normal. I would call the vet (if you don't have one, go to www.localvet.com) and find a reptile vet near you. Or you can call any vet in your area for a reptile vet recommendation. As previously suggested, obtain a stool sample and take it in with you to have checked for parasites. Many turtles coming from places that ship reptiles have been taken out of the wild and most wild turtles have parasites and turtles in the pet trade have been exposed to many things that can make them ill, not to mention just the stress of the situation.

If you can post a photo we can tell you whether or not you actually received a male eastern box turtle.

#5 Brian Pierce

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 02:53 PM

Thanks! I'll post one at the end of this . so the bubbles happened while he was eating a strawberry and I was misting him (I think I over did it with the misting) and it was for like a minute. hasn't happened since. today his stool was dark and firm. the vet we bring our cat to recommended a local vet that specializes in turtles.
He still seems to spend a lot of time in the cave, but when I'm home I take the cave away for a few hours to make sure he's getting at least SOME UV/light.

I was told by the girl on the phone that their turtles are all captive bred. by the way, I really wanted to adopt, and I tried for many months, through more than one rescue group (which I won't name, I wouldn't want to give any bad reputations). I would contact one of them via email, and they told me they had some box turtles ready for adoption. so I replied that I was interested and would like to adopt as soon as possible, just let me know what I need to do. and I would get no reply. 2 weeks went by and I contacted them again, and again they told me that they still have them and that they will contact me soon. so another 3 weeks went by, with no contact. so I tried calling and the person I spoke to said that they were busy and would call me later in the day. and they never did. so I emailed again, and again was told that they would contact me with further information very soon. So I decided to stop pestering them and see if they would call/email/contact me in any way. a month went by with nothing. so I finally emailed them again about 3 weeks ago, and still have not gotten a reply

Similar situations happened with 2 other rescue groups before that. Then I came across an ad on kingsnake.com classifieds that this place in Las Vegas had several box turtles. So I researched the place a bit and anything I found regarding them seemed positive, so I went ahead and placed the order. I've been wanting a box turtle since I was a child and I felt like the rescue groups were just stringing me along and would never have gotten back to me.
Now I'll post pics as a new reply as soon as I figure out how!

Thanks for your help everyone! its nice to see people willing to help so much

#6 Brian Pierce

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 02:57 PM

Donatello

Donatello6

Donatello8


#7 BoxTurtleLover

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 04:13 AM

You have an adult eastern box turtle that appears to be male but a photo of the plastron and tail would confirm that. Most adult box turtles in the pet trade are wild caught and many people are told their turtle is "captive bred" or is a "long-term captive." Your turtle, in most likelihood, came from the wild as many dealers purchase groups of them from people who collect them from the wild in the few states where it is still legal to do so (South Carolina is one of them and may be the only one at this time). It's a shame as many of these turtles will die and their numbers are declining terribly in the wild due to overcollection, road kills, habitat loss, etc. The only way to ensure a turtle is captive bred is to purchase a hatchling directly from a breeder of that specific turtle.

Most turtles shipped in the pet trade when received will be ill with respiratory or other issues and probably have parasites. Your turtle has the beginnings of a respiratory infection and the bubbles will not go away without antibiotics and other symptoms will start to occur (i.e., swollen eyes, gasping, mouth discharge, ear abscess, etc.). Get your turtle to the vet for a checkup and take along a stool sample as well.

#8 Brian Pierce

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 02:23 PM

so wait a minute... are you telling me that even if I bring him to the vet for a check-up (which I am going to as soon as I can, probably about a week), and feed and care for him properly, that my little Donatello is already doomed?

I know I've only had him for less than a week but I'm already very attached to him and I hope to enjoy his company for many many years. If he is, as you say, probably wild caught, can he be OK in captivity?? He's been eating a lot better, I haven't seen any more bubbles, and his stool has firmed up considerably. Like I said, I'm gonna bring him in to the vet anyway, just to make sure he's healthy.

Isn't there some kind of legality issue on misrepresenting an animal as captive bred when it isn't??

and just another note before I go. I spent a lot of time trying to find a local box turtle breeder. they simply don't exist. and that is most likely why people still collect and sell them from the wild. people like me who have wanted a box turtle for decades search and search, and try to adopt, and try to find local breeders, and the option just isn't there. I can choose not to get a dog from a pet store because I can easily find a breeder for any type of breed, but the same does not exist for turtles, apparently. at least, not here in the Massachusetts/Connecticut/New Hampshire/ New York area. If you want a box turtle, your only option is a pet store halfway across the country...

Not to be a jerk and I'm sorry if it came off that way, I just want you guys to know that I wasn't one of those careless people who just grabbed up the first turtle I saw off the internet. I really wanted to adopt, but it just didn't work out.

#9 BoxTurtleLover

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 03:26 PM

No one is saying you did anything wrong - the main thing is to ensure your turtle gets checked out by a vet just in case - he was exposed to quite a bit before you got him and to ensure he is OK and doesn't get worse, it's best to have him checked and a stool sample checked. That will ensure a healthy turtle. Pet trade dealers will tell an unsuspecting customer anything to make a sale and most adult box turtles out there for sale are wild caught. It's just that many people don't realize that until they receive a turtle that is extremely ill or become extremely ill or is loaded with parasites.

There are people that do breed box turtles but they have to have permits to do so as that is required by many states. Plus laws prohibit the sale of native box turtles out of many states or the shipment of box turtles into states where they are protected so it can be a bit confusing to those not familiar with the pet business. Please don't feel that you did anything wrong - you have now learned quite a bit about what goes on - just ensure your boxie is healthy to be on teh safe side - get him checked out....

#10 Brian Pierce

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 03:37 AM

thanks for the feedback. I'm gonna get him into a vet as soon as I can.

#11 Brian Pierce

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 04:17 PM

also I just wanted to ask, How much food should I be feeding him? I know that he needs a variety of different foods and that I'm supposed to only feed him about every other day, but when I do feed him, how much should he be gettting??

Also, how much should I mist him??

thanks!

#12 BoxTurtleLover

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 06:59 AM

Here is an excellent link by a well-known and respected box turtle expert which will give you tons of information as to your boxie, his diet, etc. Since you just got him, I would feed him daily if he wants to eat and then move his feedings to every other day or every third day once he settles in. Misting once daily should be enough unless his environment dries out quickly - boxies love to dig under damp sphagnum moss in a captive environment.

http://www.boxturtlefacts.org/

#13 Brian Pierce

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 02:39 PM

So I just wanted to post an update. Donatello went to the vet on Tuesday, and she said that his breathing seemed quite normal, and that he looks overall fairly healthy. His stool sample did indicate some parasites though, and she prescribed Panacur Liquid (.15ml per day for 5 days, and then again in 3 weeks). After his treatment I'll bring another stool sample to make sure we got rid of it all.

as far as the bubbles, she said that I shouldn't mist him while he's eating, and that because it only happened the one time, she'd suspect more that he got water in his nose than that he has a respiratory infection, and didn't want to put him on antibiotics right now because they may make him not eat. She said to keep an eye on it and see if it happens again, or if any other symptoms appear.

Thanks for the advice everyone!

#14 BoxTurtleLover

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 03:47 AM

Sounds good to me and it is always the best thing to do when one gets a new turtle - to take it to the vet for a complete check-up and a parasite check! Monitor as to those "bubbles" and if you see them again or any other discharge from his nose or bubbles/discharge from his mouth or swollen, puffy eyes, wheezing or gasping, let your vet know. Sounds like Donatello is in excellent hands!

#15 Brian Pierce

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 03:18 PM

Thanks! I saw him yawn once, but I looked it up and apparently that's not unusual. By the way, I called the owner of the pet store I got him from to inform him that my turtle tested positive for parasites, and that the rest of the group is likely infected. I wasn't asking for a refund, or asking him to pay for it, I just wanted to inform him that his turtles may be ill. This guy is either not well versed in turtle care or he's just an A-hole cuz what he told me was:

" You shouldn't have even bothered getting him on meds for it. Parasites are completely normal and are a natural part of their digestive system."

That's Ken from Exotic Pets LLC. out of Las Vegas, NV.

#16 BoxTurtleLover

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 08:42 AM

Thanks! I saw him yawn once, but I looked it up and apparently that's not unusual. By the way, I called the owner of the pet store I got him from to inform him that my turtle tested positive for parasites, and that the rest of the group is likely infected. I wasn't asking for a refund, or asking him to pay for it, I just wanted to inform him that his turtles may be ill. This guy is either not well versed in turtle care or he's just an A-hole cuz what he told me was:

" You shouldn't have even bothered getting him on meds for it. Parasites are completely normal and are a natural part of their digestive system."

That's Ken from Exotic Pets LLC. out of Las Vegas, NV.



Well, the issue with parasites in captivity is that the turtle consistenly exposes himself and other turtles to reinfestation as the eggs passed by the worms infect any soaking water the turtle deficates in, substrate where eggs can attach to food, etc. Parasite loads can be come huge causing impaction and/or intestinal rupture. Wild turtles usually have parasites but they are in nominal amounts as the turtle doesn't consistently reinfect itself. Also turtles kept in large numbers as they are in the pet trade can pass on all sorts of parasites, illness, etc. Dealers will tell anyone new to turtles anything to make a sale and it's a shame.

Go to www.turtleforum.com. Join - there is a forum section called "The Good, Bad & Ugly." It is a forum section to report on dealings as to turtle purchases. It would be appreciated if you could put that comment in that section to warn others about this and that turtles coming from this dealer will be infested with parasites.

Many people on this forum are also members of that forum.

#17 Brian Pierce

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 05:01 AM

Joined the forum. maybe I'm just special but I can't find that particular topic.

#18 BoxTurtleLover

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 08:34 AM

Look on the main forum page of topics, go down to the bottoom and look under the "Classifieds and Adoptions" section - it will be in there.




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