We see turtles as some of the sturdiest pets but a turtle owner should know that turtles must be taken to the vet because of various reasons. Even if they seem healthy a general checkup must be conducted once or twice a year.
It is important to keep in mind that examining a turtle is not an easy job. If stressed, the little animal can take refuge inside the shell and that would make the vet’s examination extremely difficult. So when taking the turtle to the vet, try and keep it as relaxed as possible.
The health problems may appear suddenly in the form of bacterial infections, cold, broken shell and hibernation problems.
When examining a turtle the vet will examine the mouth of the turtle and take samples to verify if there are signs of bacterial infection. Before hibernation the vet will clean the mouth of the turtle with antiseptic.
The vet will check that the eyes of the turtle are clear and there is no trace of nose secretion that would indicate it suffers from cold.
Yearly blood tests are a must because they are the only source from where the vet can see if the internal organs of the turtle are functioning properly.
The vet will measure and weigh the turtle and give you the necessary information about the pre-hibernation feeding pattern.
Most turtles hibernate during winter so the owners take them to the vet immediately before or after they wake up. During hibernation they do not feed and this can be a problem if during fall they are not fed enough to accumulate weight and compensate for the energy reserves they lose during hibernation.
A vet can weigh the turtle and determine the length of time for intensive feeding and the quantity of food the turtle must ingest during a day.
Damaged turtle shell
Even if they have a tough shell the turtles can get hurt in several ways. In their daring attempts to “escape” they can get in the way of pointy objects, machines or other house pets that can damage their shell. It happens that the turtle wanders inside the wood and leaved residue we burn during fall and thus the shell can suffer significant damages.
The shell will regenerate but regeneration can take years. Meanwhile the vet can help protect the damaged turtle shell by bandaging it with special glue that would hold the inner structure until it is healed.