General Care Discussion :: 23-year-old slider not eating

Taking care of your turtle's overall health.

Post Posted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 8:34 pm   23-year-old slider not eating

Hey everyone. I was hoping for some guidance or general advice. I will just post what has been going on with my turtle and hopefully someone knows better than I do. Please feel free to be very blunt and honest as to anything done wrong here so I may change it promptly.

Turtle has eaten Wardley Reptile Sticks for as far back as I can remember. Over a decade for sure. 12-15 sticks per day. Not sure if this is overfeeding, but he always put them down like he was starving every time. Almost 3 weeks ago, I stupidly did not order more of his food in time ( can't find these in stores anymore ) and the shipping time was about a week. I didn't want to let him go a week without eating so I bought something similar at store "All Living Things" brand reptile sticks. He ate them normally. But 2 days on this I noticed after feeding him these, a TERRIBLE odor came from the tank. I don't know if it was some chemical in the food reacting to the water or what, but I stopped giving it to him and waited another 3-4 days before his regular Wardley sticks arrived. I gave those to him and he ate them no problem. Then for some reason the next day he didn't want to eat. I had to clean all the sticks out of the water after an hour because he hadn't touched them. Another couple days went by, and he wouldn't eat, and he became very sluggish. No excited swimming, wouldn't even look at the food, just sat on his rock looking kind of depressed. I looked up online a few things and one thing I found was to raise the temp of the water. He normally always sits at 78-82-degree water so I pumped up the radiator in the room and got him to about 88-90 degrees. A few days of this did nothing except produce abnormally large bowel movements. So I figured that brief food change I did constipated him. He still remained sluggish and sad looking however, and still wouldn't eat, even after all the bowel movements. I made an appt for the vet but no one could see him for another 5 days after this. So I just kept his temp warm and everyday tried to put one food stick in and he wouldn't even look at it.

Also during this week and half period of problems, his eyes appeared to be foggy, on and off. They appeared to be irritated almost like if you have been in the pool too long. He would sometimes close them more often than not and always rub them with his arms.
I should add that I moved 8 months ago to a different state. The water where I live is extremely hard and full of chlorine. So something new that I never had to do before, is use water conditioner before adding the water to his tank. I use Reptisafe brand by zoomed. It has dechloraminating agent, synthetic organic polymers (colloids), chelating agent, and electrolytes in it. Removes ammonia and chlorine and stimulates slime coat. I also treat the water once a week with a little bit of Biological Turtle Cleaner by ExoTerra brand for reducing and controlling odors and organic waste.

The vet today said the following things:
He needs a bigger tank because his shell is wrinkled. (See photos) He is currently in a 30LX12HX12W tank which has been his home for over 15 years.
I was feeding him too much.
I need to clean the water and filter weekly. ( I cleaned the water every couple months and the filter every 4-5 months. The filter is designed for a tank/amount of water twice as much as what he is in so everything always appeared extremely clean and never seemed like it needed that much cleaning).
I need to try feeder fish to get him excited to eat again?
I should have a heater lamp to go along with what I already have (a underwater heater and uva and uvb reptile lamp that stays on 8-12 hours per day).
She also said all this might be his age catching up with him because these aren't supposed to live that long? Not sure I buy that. I have talked to other turtle owners with old sliders, even a guy on a forum one time said his was 45 years old.

Anyway here is a link to pictures of his eyes and shell as close and clear as I could get.

http://imgur.com/a/zW959

Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.
mjoh216
 
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Post Posted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:33 pm   Re: 23-year-old slider not eating

Has the cloudiness in his eyes been getting better? Instead of Reptisafe and a waste degrader, try some activated carbon for your filter. If he cannot see clearly, he won't try to eat. Maybe try some live prey (minnow?) and hold it in front of his face. I would also switch to a better pellet like Omega One.

As for longevity... it can vary wildly but they can certainly live a lot longer.
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Post Posted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:43 pm   Re: 23-year-old slider not eating

Some days the cloudiness is thick, I put some treatment in the water, and its gone an hour later. Some days its very thin and pale. Some days its absolutely gone and completely clear.

My tank is a Fluval 104 I believe is the number, and I use a activated carbon bag for the next size up just to have more. So when I have to put new water in, should I take him out until the filter clears the water itself without use of chemicals? He definitely sees the food. Like today he went right for it and I thought he was gonna bite it and he just touched it with his nose and then ignored it. Then I tried holding it in my hand and he just looked at it like "not this old trick again". He definitely sees the food.

I will get some live prey tomorrow and try it. I will also look into that Omega One.
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Post Posted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:47 pm   Re: 23-year-old slider not eating

I would try to make sure it is or isn't chlorine bothering his eyes. Maybe set some aside that has been dechlorinated and see if there is any progress. When you "put new water in", do you change all of it?
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Post Posted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:52 pm   Re: 23-year-old slider not eating

Ok good idea, thank you. I will try that.

No. New water is added only to replace natural evaporation or when I clean biological waste out / shell sheddings that collects behind his basking rocks.
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 1:04 pm   Re: 23-year-old slider not eating

Just now he finally ate the Wardley sticks. But it seems like none of it got down his throat. With every bite all the chewed pellet just seemed to poof out of his mouth and all over the tank. He chewed down about 8 pellets I put in there but 90% just seemed to get chewed and spewed all over the tank. Never saw him make a mess like that before. When he was done he seemed to just continue to close his eyes periodically and wipe his face with his arm a few times. Then I was trying to look into his mouth to see if any protrusion or something in his throat blocking it. He actually opened his mouth really wide underwater as if he knew what I was trying to do but I could not see anything. I know the vet took an x-ray but not sure if the x-ray covered his whole body or not. She was able to take a quick peek in his mouth as well. She never mentioned anything.

Perhaps I should just take the antibiotic treatment the vet offered? Seems like he is getting hungry now and just trying to eat over whatever is bothering him.
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:23 pm   Re: 23-year-old slider not eating

What was the treatment offered? Is the vet a herp vet? They most likely have a complete x-ray.

It's good he's trying to eat, but it's hard to decide what to do without knowing exactly what's going on. You might want to consider a Pedialyte soak with some pellet crumbs in there.
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:53 pm   Re: 23-year-old slider not eating

I don't know exactly if she was a herp vet but she was the "reptile specialist" there which is why I had to wait a week for my appointment to see her. She also said she owned aquatic turtles for quite some time. She didn't really see the need for it but offered an anti biotic treatment in which I would be him in every 3 days for it probably by injection, unless I wanted to do it myself if I felt I could get his mouth open.

Please tell me more about that pedialyte soak and what I need to do and what it's for. I'd like to try. Getting desperate and low on funds here. Thanks so much.
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:08 pm   Re: 23-year-old slider not eating

I picked up some non flavored pedialyte. I was out for a few hours getting new bigger tank as well. When I came back home I looked at him and a white thing was above his one eye. Please see link below for pictures of it. I think I am just going to go back to the vet and have antibiotics administered. Better safe than sorry. Out comes the credit card....

http://imgur.com/a/MLXdF
mjoh216
 
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 11:19 pm   Re: 23-year-old slider not eating

Hmm, not sure what to make of it. Is it wispy? Have you dried dock him before? The soak is just some diluted pedialyte (same temperature as his tank) and some crumbled up pellets. So when he drinks in some water, he can take in some electrolytes and nutrition. I would use a small container that would hold him comfortably and to conserve the pedialyte.
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 11:46 pm   Re: 23-year-old slider not eating

Good news. Yes it was just skin shedding Thank God. That pedialyte soak worked wonderfully. Nice warm water and 7 of the new Omega One pellets in there. He ate them right up. He seems so much happier. He's in a bran new 40 gallon wide breeder tank and is loving it. Hes swimming all over the place checking it out. Going to see how it eats tomorrow morning before I decide to take him back to the vet or not. Thanks so much Steve, will keep updates here.
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Post Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 12:17 am   Re: 23-year-old slider not eating

Also using nice filtered water from brita filtration system. No more conditioners or waste reduces or any of that crap going in there from now on. Just carbon filtration. :)
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Post Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:43 pm   Re: 23-year-old slider not eating

Let's hope this continues :)
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