Rio Grande Turtle & Tortoise Club

help - I think my turtle is sick or injured!

If your pet turtle or a wild turtle is injured, often time is of the essence for its survival. It should go immediately to a qualified vet who has experience working with turtles. Serious injuries can include attacks by dogs, raccoons or other predators; injury by vehicles or other machinery; and more. 

It may be more difficult to determine if your turtle is sick, and when in doubt you should err on the side of caution. Conditions like respiratory infections can go undetected if you don't check your animals regularly. Healthy turtles feel heavy for their size, have clear eyes, and are active and alert. If your turtle is lethargic, feels light, has swollen or sunken eyes, seems to be having trouble breathing, has unusual loss of appetite, or otherwise just doesn't seem right, please take it to a qualified exotics veterinarian for an exam and appropriate treatment.

A word of caution: not all veterinarians have the knowledge or the experience to properly diagnose and treat turtles, and many turtles that have suffered needlessly or even died as a result of improper treatment. Ask around for recommendations, and, ideally, establish a relationship with a good herp vet before you need one. Although the Club cannot endorse or recommend specific vets, the RGTTC uses Southwest Veterinary Medical Center at 10141 Coors Blvd NW near Ventura and Coors (505-890-8810) for treatment of rescue animals.  Other resources can be provided on request by contacting us on Facebook.