We all know that the shells of turtles provide them not only health benefits but also protect them from any kind of danger. The shell of the turtle is a living organ, made up of many bones, cartilage, blood vessels, and skin. Any damage to the shell via infection, cracks, breakage, or injuries will greatly affect the survival of the turtles. Among all, the most dominant damage to the shell is shell rot – let’s analyze it more.
What Is Red-Eared Slider Shell Rot?
Shell rot is an infectious disease that infects the shell of turtles or tortoises. It may arise due to fungal or bacterial infections that damage the upper shell (carapace) or underneath the shell (plastron). When the bacteria damage the blood vessels in the shell, the disease viciously spread and requires more time to heal.
How Does The Shell Rot Look Like?
Usually, turtles have dark coloration but the shell affected by shell rot has pale white or greyish patches on it. The area appears to be very soft and looks like sinking into the shell. Further, the discharge of red-colored fluid under the scutes plates will indicate the infection. At a very advanced stage of the disease, the infectious areas will give off an unpleasant smell.
What Are The Causes Of Red-Eared Slider Shell Rot?
There are many reasons which will lead to infections in the shell of turtles. The most common are:
1: Poor Water Quality
In the Red-eared slider, dirty water is one of the main reasons for the cause of shell rot. Dirty water contains dead bugs, poops, and debris which makes the water unhygienic and unsafe for the turtles to live in.
2: Ignoring Wounds
Ignoring the wounds of the turtle shell is another major reason for the cause of the shell rot. A minor open wound might soon become infected because bacteria grow in aquatic environments and may enter wounds fast.
3: Shell Damage
Fighting among turtles may result in shell injury as well as damage to other body parts; if these injuries are not treated, they can develop into shell rot. Further, the shells are sensitive to temperature change or humidity, if both factors fluctuate for a longer period, then a shell rot will occur.
What Are The Symptoms Of The Red-Eared Slider Shell Rot?
Following are the common symptoms of the Red-eared slider shell rot:
- Discoloration of the shell
- Discharge of the red fluid from the shell.
- Exposure of the bones from the cracked or damaged areas.
- Lifting of the scutes
- Discharge of foul smell from the infectious areas.
How To Treat The Red-Eared Slider Shell Rot?
To protect the turtles from various infections, the following steps should be followed:
Step #1: Identify The Reason
First and foremost, the step is the identification of the cause or reason behind the damage, whether it is a result of a fight, or unclean environment, or any other.
Step #2: Isolate The Turtle
Once you identify the cause, isolate the turtle and try to remove the bacteria from the shell as soon as possible. Except while cleaning, the turtles should not get wet.
Step #3: Clean The Shell
After that, clean the infected areas by gentle scrubbing via a soft bristle toothbrush and wash regularly to speed up the healing process.
Step #4: Kill The Bacteria
Cleaning and bathing are not enough to kill the bacteria; apply an antibiotic procedure by using a Chlorohexidine solution. You may also use hydrogen peroxide, although it works slowly.
Step #5: Apply Healing Cream
Although there are several healing creams available, the best way to cure the shell rot is to apply silver sulfadiazine antibiotic cream on the cracked areas.
How To Avoid The Shell Rot?
Following precautionary measures should be followed to prevent shell rot:
- Provide the turtles with healthy food and direct exposure to sunlight daily.
- Keep sharp objects out of the tank
- Keep the cage neat and clean
- Regularly monitor the temperature and humidity of the tank.
- Bath the turtle 2 to 3 times a week
Red-eared slider shell rot is an infectious disease that is caused as a result of bacterial and fungal infections in the shell of the turtles. The disease gets lethal if not treated on time. The healing requires 5 to 7 days if cares for properly. Isolate the turtle and keep it dry for the particular time zone and make sure that the turtle is clean and healthy before putting it back into the tank.