If turtles are kept in the correct environment, they seldom suffer illness. Due to faulty
habitat or diet, several illnesses are commonly seen.
- Soft shell: this is due to a calcium deficiency, or not eating properly. Make sure the
environment is between 25-27C, and give oxy shells in the water for calcium (whole).
- Swollen eyes: caused by vitamin A deficiency. Feed more greens eg silver beet,
puha, lettuce. Your vet can give an injection of vitamin A.
- Floating in the water, swimming lopsidedly: pneumonia. This is very hard to treat,
as turtles cannot cough to clear away phlegm in the chest. Antibiotics can be tried by
injection, but prevention by making sure air temperature is 25-27C is best.
- Not eating: turtles kept at the correct temperature will NOT hibernate, so if your
turtle stops eating, seek advice from your vet without delay. A blockage caused by
eating pebbles from the tank floor, or egg laying problems (in females) are two
- Damaged shell: this may be caused by sitting on rough rocks, or by trauma eg dog
bites. The damaged parts need to be gently sanded, and a thin layer of araldite glue
applied to the broken surface overlapping onto the normal shell. If the damage
appears to be deep, a body cavity may have been pierced. Ask your vet to check.