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Turtle Care

Do you have a pet turtle? Are you thinking of getting one? Turtles make excellent pets, but they have unique veterinary care needs that require experienced vets. If you’re a turtle owner or looking for more information before committing to a pet turtle, we’ve got you covered. Paws and Claws Medical Center is here as your trusted turtle veterinarian in Miami, FL.

Below, we’ll dive into the types of vet care turtles usually require. We’ll also discuss some of the more common reasons why turtle owners need to take their pets to the vet, so you can be aware of the needs that come along with these fun, exciting, and unique pets

Most Common Turtle Pets

Some types of turtles are more common as pets than others. Depending on the type of turtle you’re interested in, you may need to have a license, or the type in question may be illegal in your state or area. For the most part, however, pet turtle types are generally accepted almost anywhere.

The most common type of pet turtle is the red-eared slider. Eastern box turtles and western painted turtles are also often found as pets, and all three of these varieties have generally good temperaments and do not require overly complicated care or upkeep.

Types of Turtle Vet Care

Here are some of the most common types of veterinary care for turtles in Miami, FL.

Acute Illness or Injury

Turtles, like any other animal, always run the risk of suffering from an unexpected illness or injury. If this happens to your turtle, you can trust us to be the vet you can call for these types of unforeseen circumstances.

Nutritional Needs

Turtles have unique nutritional needs. Each type of turtle has slightly different needs, as well, and a skilled turtle vet will be able to tell you more about what your turtle requires in his regular diet. We’ll also be able to determine whether or not your turtle is malnourished, which can sometimes be tough to tell.

Breathing Trouble

Turtles are prone to respiratory illnesses, so if you notice your turtle having a difficult time breathing or hear him rasping, it’s time to take him to the vet. It’s a good idea to go sooner rather than later in this situation for best results.


Turtles may be prone to parasites, especially if they aren’t kept in ideal living conditions. If you have adopted your turtle from somewhere else, there may also be an increased risk that they could arrive to your home with parasites already. It’s always a good idea to bring your new turtle to the vet to make sure they’re as healthy as possible.

Shell Condition

Finally, your turtle’s shell is an extremely important part of their body. Although you can usually keep track of shell health problems visually, we will do a more thorough inspection to see if there are any issues you might have overlooked when it comes to your turtle’s shell.

Reasons to See a Turtle Vet

There can obviously be many reasons to take your turtle to the vet in Miami, FL, but here are some of the most common reasons why we see turtles at our animal hospital:

Respiratory disease: Turtles may develop severe respiratory diseases, especially when their moisture or humidity are not quite right. Turtles with these diseases have trouble breathing or may have visible bubbles when they breathe through the mouth or nose. They will require immediate vet care and treatment.

Shell fractures and infections: Turtles’ shells are prone to becoming cracked or infected, especially when the turtle isn’t kept clean enough or provided the right type of habitat for their needs. You can prevent these issues by taking good care of your turtle, but if something does happen, we can help you take care of the issue.

Abscesses: These problems look like tumors on a turtle’s body and are most common in the ears or on the sides of the head. They usually drain puss, but may not always. Generally, they are a symptom of vitamin deficiency, but this isn’t always the case.

This generally happens when turtles aren’t fed the right types of foods. It causes kidney failure when left untreated for too long and may eventually lead to death. In mild cases, it may cause swelling in your turtle’s eyes or ears and could also contribute to respiratory infections.

Parasitic infections: We can help you take care of any parasites that may be present in or on your turtle’s body. We will take a fecal sample from your turtle (which you may be required to bring in yourself) and test it for signs of parasites before prescribing a treatment.

Quality Veterinary Care for Your Turtle

There is a lot to consider when you’re thinking about getting a pet turtle, and even after you’ve owned one for some time, you may find yourself with questions or concerns. This is just one of the many reasons why it’s crucial to find a good turtle vet as soon as possible and keep up a solid relationship with that vet throughout your turtle’s life.

When you keep up with regular vet care, wellness checkups, and health needs, your turtle will be able to live a long, happy, and healthy life. Paws and Claws Medical Center is the turtle vet you need and we will help keep your turtle living as happy and healthy as possible!