General Care Discussion :: Tips for getting turtle to consume medicine?

Taking care of your turtle's overall health.

Post Posted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 5:25 pm   Tips for getting turtle to consume medicine?


I have a 32yo female RES who I recently took to the vet and she was prescribed antibiotics. The vet said to inject the medicine into fresh fish for her to eat. (Because of her condition, injecting it directly into her body is not an option.)

I've done this, but I notice that she is chewing her food a whole lot more than normal. Even really small pieces that she would normally swallow whole, she is chewing a lot. Presumably the medicine tastes bad. I'm worried that because of this, she is not getting the full dose of antibiotics. I've been feeding her in a separate container (as recommended by the vet) and notice the surface of the water gets a slightly shiny film when she does this, which I assume is some of the medicine escaping the food.

I've also tried soaking ReptoMin sticks in the medicine. With that, she bites it, spits it out, then lets it sit in the water for a while before actually eating it. (When I give her sticks without the medicine, she just gobbles it up like normal.)

I've also tried injecting the medicine into a little bit of banana and strawberry, and she does the same thing.

Has anyone been in a similar situation? Any tips for getting her to eat the full dose? The only fish I've tried so far is salmon; maybe there's a better fish for this kind of thing?
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Post Posted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 6:19 am   Re: Tips for getting turtle to consume medicine?

I think live worms is another option, but I think any sort of liquid medicine will be lost. In some instances, they were 'forced' by getting the turtle's mouth open and using a plastic syringe.
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Post Posted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:14 pm   Re: Tips for getting turtle to consume medicine?

I don't like the idea of conditioning turtles into associating food with bad-tasting medicine. The easiest way to induce oral consumption is to pick her up, and irritate her by poking her front legs after she draws into her shell. Eventually, she'll open her mouth to bite you; take that opportunity to put the syringe in her mouth and squirt the medicine in. (Don't shove it down her throat, just get the business end of the syringe into the front area of her mouth and squirt it). After you get the medicine in her, hold her vertically (head up) until she swallows the whole dose.

Even females have sharp claws, and won't hesitate to use them in this kind of situation. You will probably need a friend or neighbor to do one of these jobs.
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