General Care Discussion :: Retained scutes on my turtle

Taking care of your turtle's overall health.

Post Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:46 pm   Retained scutes on my turtle

Frankly, my turtle's living conditions are terrible. Her tank has no heater or proper lighting, nor a filter. In the winter months she stays inside but I place her on a heating pad most days for a few hours (she seems to like it) so she doesn't start hibernating. I should have invested in proper equipment years ago, and I hope I am able to do just that in the next few months.

Now on to the problem. My turtle seems to have a lot of retained scutes. Usually in the summer I place her on the balcony where temperatures are suitable for basking (30-35C) and she sheds any retained scutes. However this year it seems as if she has a lot of piled scutes, and while I am sure most of them will shed during the summer, I'd still like to help hasten the process if I can.

I believe that I am dealing with retained scutes because wherever the shell gives way to my fingernail, I can see the whole scute lift as well. I also found this guide https://aminoapps.com/c/reptiles/page/i ... 7Rwx3jko7W that talks about treating dysecdysis. Do you reckon I follow it to try to help her shed faster?

Here are some pictures I took so you can better see:

Is the green spot, algae?
https://i.imgur.com/rmlI0fP.jpg

Additional picture
https://i.imgur.com/mrcIPZc.jpg

The plastron looks fine I think
https://i.imgur.com/xvtoERV.jpg

Additional picture
https://i.imgur.com/FdUUgL9.jpg

There are some white spots on one of the scutes here, could this be a fungal infection or simply part of a retained scute?
https://i.imgur.com/ffabf8i.jpg

Full shell
https://i.imgur.com/rJolcBT.jpg

Rest of photos: https://imgur.com/a/KAFMCuc

I think my phone makes some of the photos more vibrant then they are in real life. The shell is less saturated then it appears here I think.
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Post Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:29 pm   Re: Retained scutes on my turtle

Yes can see retained scutes , some very old , can be corrected by offering a balanced diet for her age along with good UVB lighting , over time.

That's not the "main" problem.... Immediate attention needed now ! That's a lot of "advanced fungus" and doing damage to the shell. Also see some older bacterial scoring on the shell. Been there a long time and getting much worst ! Some damage already looks deep , will get into the bone then the blood , not good , treat now !

Dry docking with a proper cream such as silver Sulphadinze is a must ! Use search box for details above.
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Post Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:22 pm   Re: Retained scutes on my turtle

Hey,

thank you for your answer litefoot. Unfortunately I won't be able to do anything for the next 7 days, but I intend to start immediately after, does that sound ok?
The guide I posted earlier seems to use silver Sulphadinze and Hydrogen Peroxide, should I consult it when treating my turtle?
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Post Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:56 pm   Re: Retained scutes on my turtle

You can use that guide or use search box above for dry docking and fungus treatment. The hydrogen peroxide is only being used as a surgical scrub like betadine to "clean only" it's not a treatment. Must have the RX drug's nothing over the counter will help in advanced cases as yours. That article mainly talking about dysecdysis (shedding problems) from dried stuck on scutes during a shed. You have a fungus problem that's bad and other issues ! Yes your turtle trying to shed some of the keratin layer in pieces. A good or decent shed may not happen with the infections. Mainly advanced fungus now which is on "dead" old retained scutes that bacteria starting eating a long time. The depth in photos. Now has a case of fungus on top of that. Look at your photos from 2015. That's the keratin layer shedding , translucent outer layer. Then compare to todays photo's , much deeper fungal problem now. To an untrained eye may look the same but it's not ! The fungus got under retained scutes and spread due to the habitat conditions. You now have todays problem. It goes ketatin, scutes, bone, flesh and the old the bacterial scoring may have started this since habitat was not corrected back then. That's bacteria eating the old damaged/dead retained scutes. Then fungus set in good. It's deep from photos , concentrate on the fungus first , most dangerous if gets into the blood. Seven days a long time to wait ? Once fungus is under control ( will take a long time ) then the best way for retained scutes is improve her tank. Proper temp's , basking , lighting and filter … if not then change the water every day may help some and get lots of direct sunlight. The good UVB rays needed does not penetrate glass so by a window wont help. Direct rays !

Problem will keep coming back if you don't offer more time and attention to habitat.
Last edited by litefoot on Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:23 pm   Re: Retained scutes on my turtle

Hey, I know 7 days is kinda long, but I won't be here so I can't administer the drug and I don't know anyone who would be able to help with it.
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Post Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:26 pm   Re: Retained scutes on my turtle

Sorry the edit was correcting my bad spelling only !

Do the best you can for her when you get back.
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Post Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:34 pm   Re: Retained scutes on my turtle

I will!
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Post Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:33 pm   Re: Retained scutes on my turtle

Just remember that article is for dried stuck on scutes only. Also mixes the silver sulphadinze in water for that problem. Hard to do being a greasy cream. The retained scutes are a simple problem that can be corrected easy. Main threatening problem is the fungus , you must treat the fungus first being so "advanced" before it gets into the blood which is almost always fatal. Really two different problems. The dry docking and applying the sulphadinze in a thin layer on the shell is the easiest and fasters way to go for the "fungus" ! Just think about it some for your girl.
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Post Posted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:13 pm   Re: Retained scutes on my turtle

Are any of the scutes shedding? There should be quite a few as fungus makes the shedding ones paper-like.
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:26 pm   Re: Retained scutes on my turtle

Well, I came home earlier than expected so I started the treatment today.

I bought Silver Sulfadiazine and applied a layer on the shell and let her dry dock for 3 hours (I'll follow the advice from litefoot in this thread viewtopic.php?f=5&t=39894&p=369061&hilit=fungus#p369061 and do 2-2 hours with a break in the middle but it was pretty late in the day for that). I also put a bit of the cream on the front of her plastron just in case, should I use the cream on her plastron?

Here is a picture of the procedure https://imgur.com/a/Sbp9YLM

I was also told that clotrimazole has an anti-fungal function, but your replies on this forum are a bit mixed on its effectiveness. Should I combine the Silver Sulfadiazine with clotrimazole, or should I just use the former?

Other than that I am considering adding salt in the aquarium water as suggested by steve in this thread viewtopic.php?t=18719,
maybe add 2% betadine in the water as was suggested in some other thread, is that a good idea?
Also litefoot says to clean the turtle with betadine prior to spreading the Sulfadiazine cream, would it have the same effect if I cleaned her with hydrogen peroxide instead?

steve, as for the scutes shedding, there are many loose ones, and some of the peripheral ones do come off sometimes but I don't know about their thickness or consistency. When one of the main ones falls I'll take a photo and post it here.

Other than that, I bought cuttlebone, and will change her water everyday after I put her to dry dock. I am also going to check if we have a herp vet nearby for an inspection. Anything else I should do?
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:05 pm   Re: Retained scutes on my turtle

Clotrimazole is good for fungus yes from my experience the sulphadinze cream is much better and faster. Me being an old timer don’t like to mixing drugs. Apply to plastron for prevention too. Cant always see fungus it starts out microscopic.
Peroxide is OK to use to clean shell first.
Some of the fungus will come off with the shedding scutes but not all. Lots get trapped between the keratin layer and the new scute. Can even make it's way into bone or even the blood stream.
Cuttlebone for turtles are good BUT must remove the man made backing on it first. Turtles can not digest that ! Google for ways to do that , be careful if using a razor blade to do it. I use wheat germ pellets with good results for the shell. Helped Piggley have fuller and better sheds. It has some documentation you can Google to.
A little salt has proof it help prevent fungus , as long as its "aquarium salt".
Once you think fungus is all gone I would treat for a few extra days. 7-10 days treat minimum or more if needed then a few extra. If treatment cut short it will come back with a vengeance.
Doing good keep it up.
By tonight the feeder bands of Barry will be at my front door so may not be online . Get with Steve if needed he’s good. Small storm moving slow but with the Mississippi river already at the top of levees we are on high alert… Power blinking as I write…
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Post Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:20 pm   Re: Retained scutes on my turtle

Stay safe litefoot. My trip was cut short by a storm too.

I did remove the cuttlebone shell :)
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Post Posted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:51 am   Re: Retained scutes on my turtle

I'd first try to remove any loose scutes/material. I'd also use less SSD cream, you can use a thinner layer. Salt might help more with skin fungus. Once the primary infection is dealt with, the best thing for him is plenty of basking. Getting that shell to dry off is the best preventive care for him. Also remember the cream makes the shell very slippery, so make sure the shell is cleaned too... usually water and gentle scrubbing will do.
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Post Posted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 11:11 am   Re: Retained scutes on my turtle

Most of them are semi-loose, still connected a bit on the sides. Do I remove them with tweezers?

Also after letting her rehydrate, should I first remove the Sulfadiazine layer and then reapply it after letting her bask again, or would the first layer suffice?
After the 4 hours end do I need to remove the cream, or is it ok if I let it stay?

There's also some hard to reach places like the inside of her shell where her limbs are; I applied the cream there as much as I could but I faced some resistance since she was upside down, any tips how to apply the cream there?
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Post Posted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 4:15 pm   Re: Retained scutes on my turtle

I am not a fan of grabbing to "pull" off or using tweezers either. For me “gently” using my finger nail almost as if giving a turtle a back scratch only. If it’s ready it will pop off easy , if not don’t force. Offer a large rock or driftwood that she can use as a scratching post and she will put on a show for you . Piggley does a great two step/box step…under his scratching area. It's a 20" piece of driftwood with knots on the underside raised off the bottom about 5" , works great for him. I have to make a video of it one day. Be creative while you correcting her tank and let her remove them herself naturally. If your tank is small you can use a piece of driftwood raised to serve as a scratching post and basking dock to save space. Some pull and damage the new scute down to the new pattern. Seen some “pull” parts of new scutes to the bone at the center. Turtles are not our size , whats gently to us is rough to a small turtle. They can feel ! Just be careful !
Everyone has an opinion on when to reapply , your call. I like to re clean just for an extra scrubbing then reapply another fresh thin coat. This extra cleaning helps me to see how it’s improving .
Q tip helps to get hard areas for me.

Staying safe , thanks'. I can walk faster than Barry is moving ,been three days already , finally got on shore this afternoon little west of me. Maybe one more day of heavy rain depending on where the tail forms. It's blocked by trough's on all sides , the wind and rain getting old move on Barry please ! My neighbor lost a Sycamore tree and there car port. All good for me and Piggley for now ! All that rain going north will come back to me in the Mississippi for a second time in a few days , it's high already...
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