What Is Rhinitis In Turtles And How Is It Treated?

Rhinitis, an inflammation of the upper respiratory tract, is contagious to turtles. This is why it is especially worrying when several specimens live in the same terrarium.
What is rhinitis in turtles and how is it treated?

In this article, we tell you everything you need to know about rhinitis in turtles and how you can treat it properly.

Turtles are quite sensitive when it comes to their airways. Because of this, rhinitis is very common, especially in aquatic species.

Rhinitis in turtles: everything you need to know

Rhinitis is an inflammation of the upper respiratory tract. If your turtle has it, he will have a lot of mucus in his nostril. You may also notice loud breathing and poorer appetite than usual.

In addition, he may have mucus bubbles on his nose, appear weaker than usual and have white spots on his mouth.

Another symptom of this condition in sea turtles is that they float sideways, as if they have lost their balance.

This is because one of their two lungs does not get enough oxygen. As a result, the lung does not expand properly.

In general, those most affected by this disease are the turtles within the genus Testudo :

  • Moorish tortoise ( T. graeca)
  • Greek tortoise ( T. hermanni )
  • Black tortoise ( T. marginata )
  • Russian steppe turtle ( T. horsfieldii )
  • Egyptian tortoise ( T. kleinmanni ).

The bad thing about rhinitis in turtles is that it is contagious. Therefore, you need to be careful if you have more than one turtle in the same terrarium.

A turtle’s immune system must be in excellent condition to handle all the viruses and bacteria that enter the body.

Turtles in terrarium

Why do turtles get rhinitis?

There are various causes of rhinitis in turtles, including diet, environment, bacteria, a weak immune system or virus.

In many turtles, it is even the result of the herpes virus – a very common disease among turtles. It can also be due to pneumonia, stomatitis or septicemia.

When turtles produce large amounts of mucus, it may be the result of grass or other things entering the nose or mouth. Alternatively, it may be due to infections caused by microorganisms present in the water.

Other factors that trigger this disease are:

  • Changes in temperature (which weaken their defenses)
  • Crowded terrarium (too many turtles in the same terrarium)
  • Stress (due to changes in their terrarium, a move, the presence of other animals, overcrowded terrarium)
  • Moisture (in the case of land turtles that are in contact with damp or wet places)
  • Environmental contaminants (a terrarium or shelter that is not clean enough, leading to more fungi and bacteria)
  • Different species that share a habitat (a plant that is harmless to one genus can be deadly to another)

Treatment of rhinitis in turtles

Of course, it is very important to take your pet to the vet to perform routine examinations and rule out any diseases.

If you notice something that is not normal and seems to be beyond normal behavior or appearance, you should not wait. The situation can get worse and also become chronic.

When it comes to rhinitis in turtles, it is important to know that the turtle may not show any symptoms in the beginning. But he can still infect others with all the bacteria.

If the problem is not treated properly, it can lead to acute or chronic pneumonia.

Treatment options

There are various options for treating this condition. The veterinarian will create a culture of the mucus to test it. This way, the veterinarian can find out which bacterium or virus is causing it.

Based on this, your veterinarian will decide if you should give your turtle mucolytic or fluidizing agents, either orally or by injection.

Your veterinarian can also give your turtle antibiotics, nasal cleansing and mouth disinfection.

Turtle on log in terrarium.

Even if the turtle is not hungry, we must do everything we can to ensure that the turtle receives enough fluids and food. Choose food that he likes and leave the pieces of food very close to his mouth.

Some veterinarians may also recommend the use of an inhaler. This is made with an air pump for the terrarium, a container with the liquid that the turtle needs to be inhaled and an outlet pipe.

The idea is that the turtle should be in a small space. So, the container of medicine is placed under the grids that tend to be at the bottom of the terrarium.

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