Urgent Care :: Strange behavior with no answers

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Post Posted: Wed May 18, 2016 10:38 pm   Strange behavior with no answers

So long story short, I became the owner of an official Chinatown red eared slider about three years ago when my sister had to move for a job and was unable to take her turtle with her. Over the last three years, I've lurked on the website here trying to find out how to raise a turtle since I've never been a pet owner before. Fedders has a decent setup: 29 gallon tank, with a heater, UVB lamp, warm basking dock and a rock-free, regulated light timers, glass-bottom tank. He is fed Reptomin floating sticks every other day with the occasional shrimp and tank cleaned every couple weeks. He's always acted very active and pretty normal until about a month ago.

I came home from being away for the weekend and he would barely move. It was like he had turned into a zombie turtle and would just stare into space and he no longer would beg or follow my finger or anything. He would sleep on his basking dock too. He was very lethargic and it was hard to get him to move. I would toss a few food sticks into his tank and he would still eat them. Very rarely, I would witness him blow a bubble out of his nose and yawn. This went on for a few days and I began searching online for what could be wrong and like a sick human browsing Web MD became immediately terrified that Fedders was dying. I took him to a local vet who specializes in reptiles/exotic animals and they did a full check-up including an x-ray and blood work. The vet gave me Baytril to give him every other day along with a laxative because there were several pebbles found inside of him that he must have ingested when my sister had him. He was still pretty lethargic for a few days but would still eat and poop. When the vet called a few days later and said the blood work was fine and he only had a slight calcium deficiency, I was pleasantly surprised. He started to get slowly better and since the vet found nothing wrong, I cut the medicine off the next week. It seemed like for the last week and a half, he was back to his normal turtle self.

I cleaned his tank on Monday night and he was swimming back and forth all over his tank when he got back in. Tuesday afternoon when I got home from work, he was really lethargic again and I noticed he would not stop kicking at his tail, something I had noticed on occasion (but much more rarely) when he was acting strange a few weeks ago. I thought maybe he could have an obstruction but there were two large poops in the tank and since I had just cleaned it, I knew they were fresh. He's also been swiping at his face a lot, even when he's not eating. He wouldn't eat any food sticks or shrimp. He also slept on his dock the last two nights. I came home today and he was basking but got off when I tossed a few food sticks in and he ate them. I've taken him out of his tank and let him walk around and he's been more active than he was in his tank, just like when he was acting strange a few weeks ago. His living conditions are exactly the same as they have been since I've had him. I'm at a loss at this point and really stressed out because of the last month.

A few questions: Would a respiratory infection/pneumonia show up on an x-ray and/or blood work or could the vet had simply missed it? Should I take him back to the vet for another check-up? Should I start him back up on his medication? Should I take his poop up to the vet to get tested? Could he be impacted or constipated and still poop normal-sized turtle poops? Any other suggestions?

A few other tidbits on him. He's around seven-years-old, male and approximately three-and-a half to four-inches. I know his tank is not big enough for him and I have purchased a bigger tank. I'm in the process of house hunting however, so I don't want to set it up until I get into my new place. I am still really worried and I just want him to be back to his normal turtle self. Thank you for your help, it's nice to meet everyone and sorry for the novel. I'm just out of answers and hoping someone can point me in the right direction.
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Post Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 7:27 am   Re: Strange behavior with no answers

I think some traces of an infection would show up in an x-ray or blood work. Hi behavior is a bit strange. What are his water temps/filter like?
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Post Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 7:58 am   Re: Strange behavior with no answers

He has an Aqueon filter and Aqueon heater. Filter keeps the tank pretty clean and the temperature generally stays at 78/79.
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Post Posted: Fri May 20, 2016 11:48 am   Re: Strange behavior with no answers

When he poops, are you able to get out any of the pebbles? The Baytril might make him loose his appetite, have you tried other foods/treats?
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Post Posted: Fri May 20, 2016 7:36 pm   Re: Strange behavior with no answers

I am pretty sure one of the pebbles came out last week but I haven't felt any others. I fed him some pellets and a cricket last night. He ate everything. I gave him some Baytril yesterday as well. He also slept underwater for the first time in several days. He was back to being very lethargic today and basking a lot. He stopped kicking at his tail but is now blinking a lot and still swiping at his face. I've also caught him yawning a few times as well while basking. I asked a friend who is a vet if a respiratory infection/pneumonia would show up on an x-ray and blood work and she said there would usually be a high white count on the blood work. I guess it's possible that he could have developed a respiratory infection since I took him to the vet a month ago but he was acting very lethargic then as well.

It's like he has some good days and some bad days. I think I will take him back to the vet in the morning. I'm out of ideas at this point.
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Post Posted: Fri May 20, 2016 8:05 pm   Re: Strange behavior with no answers

The vet didn't have anything available until Sunday night so I am taking him in then.
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Post Posted: Fri May 20, 2016 8:12 pm   Re: Strange behavior with no answers

Just be prepared that you might not get all the answers you are looking for from a vet. What was the results from the visual inspection? When was the last time his water was changed?
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Post Posted: Fri May 20, 2016 10:08 pm   Re: Strange behavior with no answers

The doctor said he looked normal and he does to me. His eyes aren't cloudy or swollen. He's not swollen anywhere on his body. His swimming is not lopsided.

He has exhibited the following strange behaviors at different times over the last month: floating, excessive basking, sleeping on basking dock at night, lethargy, sitting in one spot for extended periods of time, yawning, biting at his front arms, kicking at his tail with his legs, blinking and closing his eyes. Those are things he has generally never done. He continues to eat though. When removed from the tank, he is pretty active.

I have been doing regular water changes to make sure his tank is as clean as possible, at least twice per week the last month, sometimes three. I did another one tonight. I did a few water tests to check the alkalinity, nitrate and pH levels over the last 24 hours and they check out every time. The water is a little hard however.

I'm just at a loss at this point and don't know what else to try. It sucks to see him like this and it's been a really stressful month.
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Post Posted: Fri May 20, 2016 10:11 pm   Re: Strange behavior with no answers

Thanks for the help, by the way.
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Post Posted: Sun May 22, 2016 1:32 pm   Re: Strange behavior with no answers

Yea, having a sick turtle can be pretty stressful. I've been down that road. Does anyone else have access to him?
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Post Posted: Mon May 23, 2016 8:03 pm   Re: Strange behavior with no answers

Just me and my wife. I've been taking full care of him while he's been sick though.

I cancelled the appointment with the vet last night because it seemed like he was progressing slightly and they didn't really provide a lot of answers when I took him there a month ago. He seems to be doing a little better today as well. I started him on his laxative again too because I haven't seen him poop out the other pebbles and it seems like it's been a while since he pooped. I know he will eat it occasionally but a lot of times I will see it in his tank and it's been a while since I have. I've been wondering if constipation has been causing the way he's been acting. Will he still keep eating if he's constipated?

I guess I will keep him on the Baytril and laxative for the next few days and see where it goes. His behavior doesn't really point to one thing being wrong so it's frustrating trying to pinpoint what the problem is.
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Post Posted: Tue May 24, 2016 2:34 am   Re: Strange behavior with no answers

What's the laxative being used? It's likely he will try to eat while constipated but up to a certain point.
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Post Posted: Tue May 24, 2016 7:11 pm   Re: Strange behavior with no answers

The vet gave me lactulose to give him. I gave it to him a few times a month ago but it seemed like he was pooping normally so I stopped. I was finding regular poops in his tank and I'm pretty sure one had a pebble. He's about the same today as the last two days.
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Post Posted: Tue May 24, 2016 8:36 pm   Re: Strange behavior with no answers

Alright, please keep us updated.
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Post Posted: Tue May 24, 2016 9:06 pm   Re: Strange behavior with no answers

Anything else you can recommend to me to help him poop if that is what's bothering him? He continues to eat and pee.
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