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Abscess? (Pretty worried)

abscess lump bulge juevenile help box

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#1 Duckett

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 11:05 AM

This is Nibbler, my eastern box turtle. Ive had him for about 2 months now. Today I noticed a large bulge on the side of his head/neck. It was very small by comparrison about 36 hours ago but its gotten very large in a short time period. I think its an abscess, but im not certain. It almost looks like it could be an enlarged thyroid or a bug bite. I should also note that

I take fairly good care of him. He has an indoor terrarium and i take him outside to roam around for an hour or so every day after work. I also give him little turtle baths once a week, or Ill take him out and let him play in the rain. I think hes got a pretty good hygiene regiment, so - if this IS an abscess - I dont know why or how he got it. Is it normal?

At any rate, i can see that I need to get him to a vet. Unfortunately I do not have the money for it right now. What i would like to know is if this is a life-or-death situation here. I do have a neighbor who is a veteranary dermatologist, but I dont know his expertise on reptiles. I will ask him as soon as I can get ahold of him, but Id like an opinion from some you experienced turtle-wranglers out there in the meantime.

I will be keeping an eye on him very closely.

*edit: For what its worth, he's been hiding alot lately in his terarrium, and he hasnt been passing stool as his normal rate.

Attached Thumbnails

  • nibblerx2.jpg
  • nibblerx1.jpg

Edited by Duckett, 10 August 2012 - 11:14 AM.


#2 turtlefanatic

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 03:25 PM

Nibbler does appear to have an ear abscess. There are many things that can be contributing factors in ear abscesses, including improper temperature and/or humidity, inadequate vitamin A in the diet, and an upper respiratory infection which has spread to the ear canal. Abscesses are uncomfortable for a turtle and may cause it to stop eating.

An ear abscess will not go away on its own and usually does not respond to antibiotics. Reptile abscesses contain solid or semi-solid material which resembles cottage cheese and must be surgically removed by an experienced herp vet. This is done by making an incision (usually under local anesthesia), removing the contents of the abscess, and flushing the area. The wound is generally left open to drain and close on its own. Antibiotics are often given afterwards.

This is a relatively simple procedure for a competent vet, and the prognosis is usually good if the problem is caught and treated promptly. If left untreated, not only will your turtle suffer, but the infection may spread and eventually cause death. If you don't have cash available right now, you might ask the vet if you could put the fee on a credit card or set up a payment plan.

#3 BoxTurtleLover

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 09:27 AM

Here is an excellent article that will help you as to what you need to do and what your turtle is going through - please note this is nothing to fool around with as you will find out from reading the article/information. Note how close the ear canal is to the turtle's brain and how the abscess extends down to inside the turtle throat so vet care is a must to ensure the infection is totally cleared out and further infection, or septicemia, does not develop.

http://www.boxturtlefacts.org/Ear_Infections_in_Chelonians.pdf

To find a reptile vet near you, I always suggest going to www.localvet.com as that site has seemed to work for a lot of folks (my vet is also listed on there so it is reputabl and up-to-date). Many turtle clubs/societies have vet listings on their website for vets all around the US also, or a google search for your state and county looking for "exotic" or "reptile" vet will provide you some leads. Many vets offer discount services or have payment plans. Don't hesitate to ask. A turtle is like any other pet in the family household - sometimes vet care will be required so it is necessary to keep that in mind to ensure the health of one's turtle just as one would take their dog or cat to the vet when ill.

#4 Duckett

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 02:18 PM

I actually worked as a veterinary assistant for little while back in high school. I know the name of the "exotic" doc that worked at our office back then, but indont know where he practices now.

ill keep you posted.

#5 Duckett

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 07:56 AM

*** UPDATE ***

Hey guys, just an update on Nibbler's status:

Turns out it was exactly that - an ear abscess. He is currently at the vets having surgery this morning. I will be picking him up this afternoon, and I will share whatever news his Dr. gives me. Thank you to everyone who commented on Nibbler's behalf. It is exactly what I hoped for when I joined this forum. You guys are awesome :)

#6 turtlefanatic

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 11:37 AM

Thanks for the update...we're glad to hear that Nibbler is getting the help he needed. Kudos to you for being a good turtle owner!
I hope the surgery went well, and wish Nibbler a speedy and complete recovery.

#7 BoxTurtleLover

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 12:15 PM

I agree with turtlefanatic - it's wonderful as to the care and concern you are giving your turtle. A big "Thank You" and a big High Five for dong that....

#8 Duckett

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 01:26 PM

Hey guys! Ive been so happy having Nibbler back that I left you all hanging!


A Quick and final update:

Nibbler is doing fine. Both abscesses (Yes, both - He had a smaller one of the opposite side forming) were removed without incident and he is eating fine once again. I have an antibiotic that i have to give him 0.1mL of every day orally for the next 20 or so days (which he hates, lol) but its well worth the benefit of having a healthy turtle. As far as the cost, well, i guess some of my former co-workers at the Vet remembered me, because ever though the estimate they gave me for everything was 230-330$, I paid 100$ upfront to keep him overnight and then when I picked him up the next day after surgery they said I had a 21$ credit on my account. So all-in-all, for overnight observation, surgery, and medicine dispensed, the total was only 79$. Woohoo!

P.S.: The DVM also confirmed my suspicions that Nibbler is not a fan of Tomatoes [<img src=]' />

Thanks again to everyone.

Edited by Duckett, 23 August 2012 - 01:30 PM.


#9 turtlefanatic

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 11:40 AM

The update is much appreciated. We're glad to hear that Nibbler is on the road to recovery. Well done! ;)

#10 BoxTurtleLover

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 05:44 AM

Excellent - and it seems like you have a lot of friends at your vet's office!!! Looks like folks chipped in to help which is a wonderful thing.... I'd be sending that entire office a big basket or tray of cookies with a thank you card!





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