Urgent Care :: Hurt Turtle Head?

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Post Posted: Mon May 01, 2017 6:43 pm   Hurt Turtle Head?

Hello! I'm 17, and a few months ago I was in the market for a turtle and my neighbor who no longer could take care of his turtle (he said the turtle was 2-3 years old and received 3 of them as hatchlings, only 1 survived the long run), gave me his. He had him in a 10 gallon tank with no filter and I have worked hard to improve his living situation, he now has a nice filter, large tank (not large enough, it is 29gal, I believe he needs 60), and has had a makeshift basking area for the time. Yesterday I ordered a Kordon basking ramp for him/her which will also greatly increase the living environment.

For about a month now i have noticed a small injury on the top of the head, and I assumed it was dead skin at first. But the problem persisted and the other day the top of his head pattern was floating off his head, like a paper cut kind of thing, and now this morning I looked at his head and it was white where the injury was. I don't think it is healing. I took him to my window and he extended his head and neck to show me more of his injury and it looks as though it is green/white but when I gently touched it he made no reaction towards it. Could this be an infected wound? Additionally, I have not measured my turtle but he/she is at least 5-7 inches.

I am worried about my Turtle, and I was wondering if anyone on here has had the same problem and if so, what is it and what can I do to treat it? I have seen that people put neosporin/things like that on turtle injuries but I have any clue what step to take first. The pictures I have included (if they are included) aren't very good but I will upload more in-depth pictures if needed :( :mrgreen: please let me know, thank you :)
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Christian King
 
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Post Posted: Tue May 02, 2017 8:43 am   Re: Hurt Turtle Head?

Turtles are tough to a point. At this point OTC treatment will prolong the problem and infection will set in. A Qualified Herp Veterinary Help is needed. Greenish / white is it hard bone ? I have seen this over the years , repeated damage until a chunk of skin comes off to the bone. Time's turtle dives in and head gets pinned against glass then weight of body /shell hits back of head. You may see (diving in) at even normal speed he reaches glass , rocks something but when a turtle is startled he just goes in fast and truly gets hurt. Basking area can be a problem when diving off , make it clear and safe. Turtle see's water and wants in to feel safe! The back side of your DIY basking area has an opening that is to small for the size of your friend but if startled he will still rush off dock and try to force himself in the water.
Must relook at the safety of your friends habitat from a turtles point of view. Make a clear path all around the dock and check if he can hit anything in tank. Or place it on back side up against the glass so to block him on that side. Tank looks a little small for his size and safety , will always be hitting the glass coming off his platform. (10 gallons water for every inch of turtle shell ) is safer . You may want to remove the small aquarium gravel before he eats some and gets a blockage then ... large river rock , bare bottom / even sand if eaten is safe to small for a blockage.
Know you are only two months into this and working hard to improve his home (looking at a 60 gallon good) and it's great on your part you took him in. When we make a turtle a captive pet it's our reasonability to make him happy/healthy/safe and he depends on us for that. Also this is long term , turtles live 30-40 years!
Best for you and your friend ! I've been in this 50 plus years and I would see a Herp Vet at this point!
Last edited by litefoot on Tue May 02, 2017 9:01 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post Posted: Tue May 02, 2017 8:58 am   Re: Hurt Turtle Head?

Any idea how deep the injury is? I would try dry docking, but do search for a qualified herp vet in case you need their services.
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Post Posted: Tue May 02, 2017 10:46 pm   Re: Hurt Turtle Head?

Hello, thank you for all the information. I have more in-depth pictures of the wound on the head of my turtle, it does not seem to be deep and nor does it look like bone, which I think is good. I haven't done anything to treat the wound as is was said it would only prolong the injury and cause infection, but I have lowered the water level in my tank to 2 1/2 inches and a third of tank a basking area. I did this because I believe it could heal but I do not know if the water would help that or hurt it, so he can go as he pleases and also to remove the whole diving aspect so he doesn't further injure his head:( I will contact the local Herp Vet tomorrow and see if they can answer any questions of mine without having to go in and pay for advice, which I will do but I want to be sure if this is serious or just a temporary injury. Thank you for your advice, what do you think of the pictures? Does it look better or worse than expected?
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Post Posted: Wed May 03, 2017 6:54 am   Re: Hurt Turtle Head?

Who said not to treat it? Knowing what's causing it is the first step in treating it, and hopefully preventing from coming back. The more aggressive it is, the more aggressive you need to be. Dry docking helps with many minor skin injuries and infections. If it does not help after a few days in this case, then you might try some other things (Betadine/Neosporin) or even better... some silver sulphadinze cream (requires a prescription from a vet).
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Post Posted: Wed May 03, 2017 9:35 am   Re: Hurt Turtle Head?

For your post 5-1-17 6:43pm : First pictures looked to the bone !!!
"Top of his head pattern was floating off his head" stated by you.

Not a time to practice medicine at home. "Qualified Herp veterinary Help Needed"

My post 5-2-17 6:43am You read something into what I (Litefoot) said??? Home treatment / OTC for a beginner will prolong this problem giving it time for infection to set in (with beginners) not knowing the cause and qualified help was needed ! Going by the first pictures and your statement.

" A Qualified Herp Veterinary Help Is Needed" ! Very clear !
I did not want you to wait around and let it turn all kind of color's until the worst could happen.

Home treatment is good and does help in cases with experienced keepers , yourself being new , I did not want to see problem get worst and said Qualified Herp Vet needed ! It's all about the turtles health.

Second pictures much clearer and does not look like it's to the bone ...
And yes treatment is needed Never said No treatment ! May have to re-read , please don't assume , it's about the health of the turtle.

Also another long time turtle keeper stated to search for a herp vet if needed.
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Post Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 1:48 pm   Re: Hurt Turtle Head?

His head seems to be getting better slowly via dry docking - but if I see no real improvement in the next day or 2 I will see about getting some money together and taking him into the Vet. I want him to be happy, healthy, and safe. I am currently doing what I can to make sure he is okay, yesterday I put some neosporin on top of his head and placed him back in his cage, when it dries it turns to a more green than white color but also looks like it is getting better. I will keep the thread updated the next few days, and if anyone has encountered this exact problem, tell me what you did? Thank you for all the information and suggestions you are all giving me. I asked my Animal Behavior teacher for advice on the subject and he suggested I might want to get anti-fungal cream? Is this a good idea and is there suggested type that is known best for turtles? Thank you
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Post Posted: Fri May 05, 2017 7:20 pm   Re: Hurt Turtle Head?

If its already healing, just use a small amount of neosporin or none at all. Having it clean and dry should help the fastest. The silver sulfadiazine cream that I mentioned above works great as anti fungal but requires a prescription from a vet.
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