Puffy eyes: common causes

Why did your chelonian have puffy eyes?

  • Dryness (dehydration, low moisture)

    Votes: 2 66.7%
  • Eye obstruction

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Eye infection

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Irritation from harsh lighting

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Malnutrition (vitamin A deficiency)

    Votes: 2 66.7%
  • Co-morbid with another problem

    Votes: 1 33.3%
  • Other / none of the above

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    3
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GeoTerraTestudo

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Puffy eyes are a common complaint in chelonian husbandry, and a potentially very dangerous condition. Because they can be due to a variety of factors, I'd like to run this short poll to find out what the most common causes appear to be in the experience of people here Tortoise Forum.

If you have or have ever had a tortoise, box turtle, or aquatic turtle with puffy eyes, please respond to the poll attached to this thread by checking off the reason or reasons it had them (you can select more than one option if you wish). Hopefully, we'll be able to figure out the most common reasons, and we'll be able to advise people with questions about this health concern more quickly and easily. :tort:


I'll start. Years ago, I had a three-toed box turtle who, on three separate occasions, had puffy eyes due to dryness, hypovitaminosis A, and a co-morbid upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) ... yeah, I knew next to nothing about chelonian husbandry back then. Last year, the male Russian tortoise I have now had puffy eyes due to hypovitaminosis A and a co-morbid URTI. I did have a problem with harsh lighting this past winter, but that only prompted my Russians to hide, and did not lead to puffy eyes. So, in my personal experience, I've seen three contributors to puffy eyes. How about you guys?
 

tyrs4u

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Redfoot; showed signs of a cold which I noticed before the runny nose because of her eyes. Corrected it with higher temps, more soaks; including lightly flushing the eyes with saline or Reptile eye drops. Vetericyn is awesome!

Box, puffy eyes were to show signs she wasn't doing well. After a day of soaks and my usual tricks I couldn't get her to interact. So vet time, sure enough she ate something wicked; but the end result was she had to pass the mass.

Russian, the top layer of coco coir was too dry and irritated his eye. Hence I woke up to a swollen eye. Soaked him and he basically tried getting it himself after a three hour soak his eye was opened enough so that I could flush it out. And after 24 hours or so the swelling was gone and he was stoked... And then I installed misters to prevent it happening again.
 

GBtortoises

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Vitamin A deficiency has always been the number reason given by most vets and others. I have had American Box turtle species in the past, mainly Easterns and Three-toeds, that often had swollen eyes and even infection in them. As I recall those that were infected were almost always new to captivity. Because of that I've always had a hard time believing that it was a vitamin A deficiency happening so rapidly and so commonly. That would have to mean that wild populations were plagued with it too if it were that common. Something that I've never seen record of anywhere. I think more often that not, at least with Box turtles it might be exposure to foreign bacteria or other cause.
With tortoises most of the "swollen" eyes I've seen I think can be attributed to dryness. There is an overwhelming believe among tortoise keepers, mainly new tortoise keepers, that any tortoise not from the tropics should be kept very hot and very dry, at least as adults. In the case of most species, this simply is not true. Such dry conditions place them in a constant struggle to remain hydrated. In doing so, the exterior is what gives up moisture first in order to keep the interior hydrated and functioning. In the wild in very dry conditions most species certainly seek cooler, shaded (higher moisture) areas to escape the hot, dry conditions.
 
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