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Eye Infections in Terrapene - Chris Tabaka DVM

Related web articles:

North American Box Turtles (Terrapene) - Tess Cook

North American Box Turtles (Terrapene) - Steve Zuppa

Terrapene Gallery

A Natural Shell Repair Example in a Terrapene - Chris Tabaka DVM

Ear Infections and surgery in Terrapene - Chris Tabaka DVM

Carapace Pitting in Terrapene - Darrell Senneke

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Along with ear infections, one of the most common medical problems found in wild caught captive American box turtles is eye infections.  These are most typically found in pet store animals where the husbandry is far from ideal and the immune system suppressing stress factors high (for solid husbandry information on this genus, please see the Terrapene care sheet along with it’s links via North American Box Turtles (Terrapene) - Tess Cook

The following example is an adult Terrapene ornata ornata that was brought to the zoo by a couple who had “rescued” it from a pet store.  The animal was extremely depressed as well as being extremely underweight.   Even when placed outside for the following picture, the animal was far from active which is atypical for any healthy chelonian.

Upon examination, the right eye had mild conjunctival swelling (see picture above) while the left eye appeared as seen below.   The eyelids are obviously extremely swollen and a yellowish mass is barely visible behind the lower eyelid.

After gentle manipulations as well as some softening of the crusted over eyelids, (and after numerous attempts to take a picture while the eye was open!!!) the following was visible.  As can be seen, there is a  solid yellow opaque mass in the area where the eye should be.

After anesthetizing the animal for it’s own comfort for the procedure, the mass covering the eye was carefully removed in pieces as it was adhered not only to the eye itself but also the swollen conjunctiva surrounding the eye. 

However, with extremely dedicated and proper husbandry by the new owners as well as systemic antibiotics for two weeks, the animal recovered its vision about a week after the procedure and continues to thrive today in it’s loving home.


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