Page 1 of 1

White Strands: Worms?????!!!

PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:03 pm
by Gerstein
So Shelldon's tank has had these weird white strings on the surface for a couple of weeks now... initially I thought it was paper towel strands, shed skin or undigested lettuce stems but now I'm not so sure...

I'm pretty worried.

I'm going to call the vet tomorrow (closed atm), but I'm not sure how that would go. I've had difficulties securing samples. I don't even know if Shelldon is pooping these out or not. It is difficult catching her in the act of pooping. Her behavior has not changed in the slightest... All I know is that these white strings just started floating in the water starting a few weeks ago. I did partial and full water changes, as well as a filter change. They also appear in clusters around the walls, and they feel mucous-ey. One I saw was green. I have attached six pictures to this question of the things in question

What is the water temperature? 78 Degrees F
Did you use a thermometer? Yes
Are you using a water heater? Yes
How much water is in there? About 23.3 Gallons
Current Tank: 40 Gallon Tank
Tank Width: 17 In. W

Total Tank Depth: Around 17 In.H

Water Depth: 10 In. (Add 4 In. to Carapace Length)

Length: About 48 In L

Are you using a water conditioner? Yes
Are you using any filtration? Yes

What is the basking temperature? 88.2 Degrees F
Is there a basking light? Yes
Is there a basking platform that is easy to climb on? Yes
What kind is it or what is it made out of? Oasis Turtle Ramp (Large)
Is there a UVB light? Yes

What have you been trying to feed it? Vegetables and Pellets
When was the last time your turtle ate? This afternoon

How big is the tank/pond/enclosure?
Is the tank near a window? No
Is the tank in a room with a lot of activity? No

Have you read the Basic Care section? Yes
Have you searched the forums for similar situations? Yes

Is there any other unusual activity/symptoms? No

Re: White Strands: Worms?????!!!

PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:14 pm
by Gerstein
I have been able to get some of it on a Q-Tip, and a cluster on a paper towel.

I'm not sure if a vet would be able to make a diagnosis with that alone though...

Would a poop sample from a filter work? Lord knows I'm sure that has some.

Re: White Strands: Worms?????!!!

PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:09 pm
by steve
Are they moving? Are you sure Shelldon is a female? Could it be from a damaged egg?

Re: White Strands: Worms?????!!!

PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:45 pm
by Gerstein
The strands are definitely NOT moving. They just sort of... float. If it weren't for the filter, I doubt they would move at all.

After 9 years, Shelldon's claws are pretty short, and her cloaca is fairly close to the shell, so I am fairly certain she is a female. The vet also was pretty sure she was a female as well.

My initial thought was that it was just shed skin, as it looked sort of patchy, and that the stringy ones were paper towel strands, since I would ocassionally use paper towels to get poopy or algae stains out of the tank (switched to a brush after I noticed the white things). I would see the specks on Shelldon's shell and sometimes her skin, but I figured it was just getting stuck to her when parts of her were above water. I would remove them with a wet q-tip.

I noticed the patches every so often back in Minneseota with her old tank, and it usually looked lettucy, or reptile shed skin like. I figured it was the same here, but the string like ones are new to me.

As far as the broken-egg thing, I tend to check if Shelldon has eggs from time to time, and it hasn't seemed like she has been gravid, nor has she been displaying any type of freaking out getting out of tank behavior. The only time she really figits is when I enter the room, and that is normal, for she expects food. As far as I can tell, her poop has been normal, but it is difficult to say. Her feces have looked pretty normal thus far (I think she pooped an hour ago, and it was just the usual carrot-bits with brown pieces floating around).I saw her poop in the form of a log a week ago, but couldn't really inspect it, as Shelldon... ate it.

I took out some samples on a paper towel, and some q-tips. They started out white, then just turned a weird greenish-brownish color, which supports my "lettuce-stem" hypothesis, but I am still not sure...

WIll attach a picture

Re: White Strands: Worms?????!!!

PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:43 am
by steve
Most of it does look like skin, but you would be better than me to rule it out. Maybe she threw something up or coughed it up?

Re: White Strands: Worms?????!!!

PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:18 am
by Gerstein
Skin huh? That would make sense... Shelldon has been shedding scutes lately, so shedding skin wouldn't be far fetched. Would still probably check with a vet if I can bring a sample down real quick like. At least its good to know its likely not worms... I just kind of have the tendency to hit the panic button when it comes to Shelldon. She's my little baby!

Re: White Strands: Worms?????!!!

PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:28 pm
by Gerstein
Update: Talked to the vet, he did not think it was likely to be a parasite, but offered to look at samples at any rate. Trying to get Shelldon to poop on some paper towels to bring. Shelldon has a tendency to not poop until the most inconvenient time (Usually right after I have cleaned the tank)

Re: White Strands: Worms?????!!!

PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:37 am
by steve
Yea, pooping in a clean tank is pretty instinctive :lol:

Will she poop in a feeding container? Usually if they're in there long enough, it should happen.

Does your turtle normally shed a lot? If the samples you have pulled out can be spread apart, I think it is skin.

Re: White Strands: Worms?????!!!

PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:22 pm
by Gerstein
Well I checked in with the vet, and it was both.

The skin was shed skin, per the norm. The worms were basic nematodes and pinworms. The vet theorized that Shelldon got these worms from her aquarium days before I adopted her. Hard to believe she had worms all this time!

The vet recommended to keep an eye on the situation, and recommended not treating right away. Treating for worms is tricky, as it is very stressful to the turtle, difficult to get rid off, and the worms in question are more symbiotic then anything, and have not been affecting Shelldon negatively. Essentially, he said to update him to treat them if I notice A. Weight Loss B. Skin Sores or C. Worms in the mouth.

For the time being, I will continue removing the skin/worm parts as I see them, and keep up the usual cleaning/husbandry that I always do and monitor the situation closely.

Thank you,

Re: White Strands: Worms?????!!!

PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:41 pm
by steve
Thanks for the update. How big was she when you adopted her?