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Turtle Eye Ailments: Vitamin A Deficiencies and Eye Infections

Pet turtles, especially hatchlings and young specimens, are very commonly afflicted with Vitamin A deficiencies and eye infections, both of which usually render the eyes swollen and/or difficult to open. Eventually, the turtle will become listless, cease feeding and decline rapidly in condition.

Addressing Eye Problems

While turtle eye drops are available and can be effective in certain situations, a veterinary visit should be your first step when your turtle exhibits any type of eye ailment. It is important to determine the nature of the problem before attempting treatment, as an infection will need be addressed differently than a Vitamin A deficiency. Only a veterinarian can make this determination. You can apply eye drops as a safeguard, but do not attempt treatment without a professional diagnosis.

Good Husbandry as a Disease Preventative

Be sure to provide your turtle with ample UVB radiation (the Zoo Med 10.0 bulb positioned within 12 inches of the basking site, is ideal), a balanced diet, and an appropriately warm basking site, so that its immune system will be functioning at full capacity.

As is true for all reptiles, proper husbandry is the most effective medicine at our disposal – please write in if you need specific information concerning the turtles in your collection.

Further Reading

You can read more about addressing turtle eye problems on the website of the Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital.


Image referenced from Wikipedia commons and was first posted by Jmalik

About Frank Indiviglio

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Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.
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