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advice appreciated
Posted: 15/10/2013 by Marlow

Looking for advice on a Wood Turtle.

Background. Guthrie the wood turtle was taken from children who were mistreating her. She most likely had crawled out from the wild and was found by the kids. An adult took her from the children and brought her to the conservation center 10 years ago. She arrived as an adult. We have no idea how old she is. She had a plastron connecting to the carapace injury. It has healed.

She has been on a diet of meal worms for the most part for the 10 years she has been at the conservation center.

A month ago I observed her eyes weeping and closed. More background here…The animal caretaker on staff left the center a year ago. The current staff assumed the habitat, light source, and diet were appropriate for the animal. After researching what is needed for a healthy indoor turtle I understand why this animal became so ill. She did not have appropriate light, food, or space.

The veterinarian diagnosed her with Vit A deficiency and a secondary upper-respiratory infection. She just finished a 10-day course of antibiotic injections as well as 14 days of Neomycin and Polymyxin B Sulfates and Bacitracin Zinc Ophthalmic Ointment. She was given subcutaneous fluids on two occasions and has received three vit A injections as well as D & E. Her eyes seem to be clearing up. They are open…still milky but I am able to see her pupil.

She weighs 1.80 lbs.
Carapace is 8” long

I am new at the conservation center and have learned that this wood turtle and the two box turtles here stop eating almost completely from October until the spring. We do not put them into conditions that would support hibernation. I am guessing they are experiencing brumation.

The Wood Turtle is not eating and has not been eating for quite a while (I do offer her worms, fruit, leafy greens, meal worms). I wonder if I am doing what is best for her.

I bring her outside so she is able to take in the sun and walk around – she seems to love this activity (2x day @20 min each.)

I keep a UVB light on 12 hrs a day. I was offering her a heated spot for basking but she is not fond of the warmth. The enclosure she is temporarily housed in is a dry kiddies pool kept at 60F. I still have a basking spot set up 12 hours a day but she does not use it.

She likes to stay in her water tub all night (dish washing bin). I take her out in the morning.

Is the time outside/walking making her burn calories she should not be burning given she is not eating? Is it OK to let her stay in the 60F water all night? Should I be force-feeding her? I tried feeding her a mix of puréed 1/3 chicken 2/3 mixed vegatable baby food with a tube feeding syringe the vet gave me --just getting food into her mouth not down her throat, but she was not interested.

Thank you for any advice you can offer.

Marlow Shami


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