Most common water and land turtle diseases

The human being has always been linked to the animal kingdom, so it should not be surprising that precisely now, where the majority of the population lives in urban centers, the world of pets is being greatly diversified.

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This is very positive and although pets par excellence are dogs and cats, these do not always adapt to the individual characteristics of all people, so more and more are choosing less conventional pets such as ferrets, little pigs Vietnamese, snakes or turtles.

If you are thinking of hosting a turtle or if you already share your home with one of them, this Animal Expert article is for you as we show you the most common turtle diseases .

It may also interest you: Feeding land turtles

Recognize signs of disease in a turtle

As with us and with many animals, when a turtle’s body is unhealthy, it manifests itself through various signs , to which we must be attentive. The main signs are:

  • Swelling of the eyes
  • Cough or sneezing
  • Changes in appetite
  • Behavioral changes
  • Diarrhea

Respiratory infections

Sudden temperature changes, which can be caused by a poor adjustment of the water temperature or by drafts, are the main cause that causes the turtle to end up contracting a respiratory infection because, as with us, they are susceptible to colds .

The symptoms we observe in this case are as follows:

  • Open Mouth Breathing
  • Mucus and nasal secretions
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness and lethargy

It is a priority to increase the temperature of the water to strengthen the immune system, if within days not to notice improvements should immediately resort to the veterinarian to prevent the cold end up triggering pneumonia.

Diarrhea and constipation

Both intestinal transit disorders are caused by poor diet . In the case of diarrhea, this is usually due to a case of overeating, to an excess of fruit and vegetables or to the ingestion of a food in poor condition. If the condition is constipation, the diet may be deficient in fiber, although this disorder may also appear if the aquarium is very small.

To treat constipation or constipation, in addition to making the corresponding dietary corrections, we can offer our turtle a warm water bath that covers the underside of its shell.

To treat and prevent diarrhea it is important to keep the water in the aquarium clean and to be careful with the hygiene of the turtle. In addition, we must decrease the amount of water in the food until it is observed that the intestinal transit has returned to normal.

Eye problems

Turtles are very susceptible to eye diseases and we can see them very easily if we observe the closed and swollen eyes on the turtle as well as the lack of appetite.

The cause is usually a vitamin A deficiency or dirty water. As a first treatment we must carry out an ocular cleaning with saline , 2 times a day.

If you do not see an improvement, you should ask your veterinarian to decide whether you need antibiotic treatment and / or a vitamin A-based nutritional supplement.


Pyramidism affects turtles and earth and it is a disorder that is perceived very easily through the carapace, since the carapace thickens and rises, in the most serious cases, can become a very severe problem for the turtles .

This disease is directly related to poor diet, although lack of moisture and sun exposure as well as endocrine diseases can also cause pyramidal disease.

Although pyramidism has no treatment, early assessment will be very important to reduce this disease and improve the quality of life of the turtle.

Injuries and carapace on legs

Finally, we mention these lesions, which, although not a pathology, are common in turtles and should be treated in a timely manner, otherwise severe complications may occur. Turtles may be injured in falls, scratching or biting each other, should other herbivorous reptiles coexist.

If the turtle has a small scratch, clean the affected area with mild soap and water and then disinfect with a solution of iodine dissolved in water. On the other hand, if the wound is deep, it is imperative to go to the veterinarian as quickly as possible.

This article is purely informative, in we do not have the capacity to prescribe veterinary treatments nor to make any type of diagnosis. We suggest you bring your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or malaise.

If you want to read more articles the more you ‘re familiar with Water and land turtles , we advise you to enter our Prevention section .

Emily Harris

Hi Guys, Girls, and Cats:-p I am Emily Harris, and you can see in above pic. She loves me I swear. I saved her from a dumpster a few weeks back.

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