Care of pet turtles, just as with any other pets, involves more than just handling feeding and housing. Certain types of pets require vaccinations, such as cats and dogs, but turtles are not part of that category. That's not to say, however, that the shelled reptiles don't need veterinary care on a regular basis, because they do.
About Vaccinations for Pets
Vaccines consist of antigens that are facsimiles of illnesses that don't trigger them. They operate by essentially getting individuals' bodies ready for battling and driving away harmful ailments or at least minimizing their intensities. As soon as a vaccine enters an animal's system, it prompts the immune system, but only subtly. This action, thanks to the antigens, encourages the creation of antibodies, which have the power to defend pets against certain sicknesses.
Turtles Do Not Need Vaccinations
Pet turtles do not need vaccinations. This applies to pet tortoises and all reptiles in general. With the right care and attention, they can lead lengthy and fulfilling lives even without the defense of vaccinations. Not only are vaccinations not necessary for pet turtles, they simply aren't obtainable.
Although vaccinations aren't necessary, routine checkups with an exotic veterinarian are. It's important to take your turtle in for a vet appointment within two days after getting him. The vet can thoroughly look over the turtle, feeling around for abnormal protrusions and recording his weight. Veterinarians frequently examine the stool matter of turtles to check for parasites. X-rays and blood work, among other things, are sometimes performed. Some medical conditions that turtles may experience include metabolic bone disease, shell rot and salmonella.
Proper Turtle Care
If your pet turtle is in optimal condition after your initial vet appointment, you can get into the habit of bringing him for examinations once a year or so. Also take your pet to the veterinarian at the first indication that something might be wrong healthwise. Beyond providing your turtle with frequent veterinary care, you can help to keep him happy and healthy by feeding him a nutritious diet and making sure his living quarters are always tidy and fresh.
- Greenbrier Humane Society: Why Should I Vaccinate My Pet?
- South County Animal Hospital: Box Turtles
- Pittwater Animal Hospital: Turtles
- The Merck Manual for Pet Care: Routine Health Care of Reptiles
- SPCA International: Turtle Companion Guide
- Becker Animal Hospital: Owning a Pet Turtle
- Turtles & Tortoises for Dummies; Liz Palika
- Parkway Animal Hospital: Completing Initial Vaccinations
- George Doyle & Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images