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Vitamin A for baby box turtle

Discussion in 'American box turtles' started by Winter Day, Dec 4, 2019 at 10:28 AM.

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  1. Winter Day

    Winter Day New Member

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    Hello, I’m usually a little bit of a lurker here, but I need to ask a question as I can’t seem to find an answer by browsing the forum.

    A bit of background first. My dad ran over a baby box turtle with a lawn mower approximately 6 months ago. When my dad showed it to me one of its eyes didn’t look normal, so I decided to take it in. At the time I didn’t know anything about box turtles. I’ve been slowly learning more to properly care for it however. My mom thought I could just keep it in a bucket with some lettuce. I was highly skeptical, so I started to do some research.

    I keep it in a 3’ x 18” tank with a CHE for heat (on a thermostat) and a UVB tube light (on a timer). The temp is about 90 under the bulb with an ambient temp of about 82 on one end and 77 on the other. At night the ambient drops to about 77 and 72. We don’t have much heat in the house as it’s the beginning of winter right now and we only have a few radiators. The temp outside the tank ranges from 60 to 70 with it dropping to about 50 on particularly cold days. The temps are unfortunately only going to drop as it gets further into winter. Humidity currently sits at 60% during the day and 70% during the night. I have some aluminum foil covering the top of the tank to keep the heat and humidity in, but I think the emitter is rapidly drying it out which means I need to spray the tank down at least once a day in the morning. The substrate is made of coco fiber, cypress mulch, small fir bark, and a little bit of New Zealand sphagnum moss. It has two hides, a water bowl (it’s more of a plate so it’s shallow), and a feeding slate. It eats spring mix, dried turtle food (a mix of pellets, mealworms, mushrooms, and strawberries, though I limit its strawberry consumption) and the occasional small piece of tomato, carrot, potato, etc. I plan to eventually feed it some live foods (like worms and mealworms), but I have to convince my parents to buy creepy crawlies.

    Anyway, I recently took it to an exotic vet to test for parasites and to get its eye checked. They said the test was fine but said that it’s pupil had an irregular shape and that there was a tiny white mark indicating some trauma along with a little bit of swelling underneath the eye. I mentioned the lawn mower and that it had come from an area that was heavily sprayed with herbicides by the neighbors. The vet said it would be difficult to know exactly what caused it, but they prescribed it some vitamin A. It comes in powder form, and they said to dust the turtle’s food once a day for 10 days and then twice a week after.

    Now finally to my question. The bottle says that vitamin A can potentially be dangerous because of overdosing. I’m no expert on reptiles, and I don’t think my parents would be too keen on spending more money getting a second opinion for a turtle given that they think they already spent enough on it. Should I give the turtle the vitamin or do you guys think there’s a better solution?

    Sorry for the quality of the pictures. I couldn’t get the camera to focus more than this. If I uploaded the photos incorrectly, let me know. Thanks.

    300E585B-898C-4D6D-82FC-A56E50164C2C.jpeg 67F8EF2C-D748-4622-8749-13ED53B0F30F.jpeg F8B662AD-8EE4-4E2B-AB5A-0B411A22E5DF.jpeg 6791FFA2-DE07-47E9-9D7F-88B8BE31A0F2.jpeg 79EFD107-25F1-4B00-BFE2-3CDFBBDC87A9.jpeg DDD1E657-B7EB-4251-905F-212331D6ABD7.jpeg EDFEF8F2-9611-4FC7-801B-5732F2DE3155.jpeg 8A974261-89D0-4841-BD31-9DFDE5DF46F0.jpeg 800ECAAD-3195-495E-98E7-603FB81CC77A.jpeg

    300E585B-898C-4D6D-82FC-A56E50164C2C.jpeg 67F8EF2C-D748-4622-8749-13ED53B0F30F.jpeg F8B662AD-8EE4-4E2B-AB5A-0B411A22E5DF.jpeg 6791FFA2-DE07-47E9-9D7F-88B8BE31A0F2.jpeg 79EFD107-25F1-4B00-BFE2-3CDFBBDC87A9.jpeg DDD1E657-B7EB-4251-905F-212331D6ABD7.jpeg EDFEF8F2-9611-4FC7-801B-5732F2DE3155.jpeg 8A974261-89D0-4841-BD31-9DFDE5DF46F0.jpeg 800ECAAD-3195-495E-98E7-603FB81CC77A.jpeg
  2. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for taking good care of him! Hope someone on here who knows can assist you. Hold on the vitamin A until then and see what they say.
  3. Toddrickfl1

    Toddrickfl1 Well-Known Member Tortoise Club

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    If it were me and the turtle was eating and going to the bathroom fine I wouldn't use it.
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  4. Markw84

    Markw84 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    What made the vet feel it was vit A deficient? i see not external signs that would indicate that. The little guy looks pretty good!

    With a good diet, and the omnivorous diet of a box turtle, Vitamin A should not be an issue. I would sprinkle a tiny amount on food a few times a week for a couple of weeks. It seems you are good and doing your research and you can find the info on good diets. If you are sure the diet is compete- that is what is best.
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  5. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    It looks like the eyelid is damaged. No amount of vit A will fix that.

    I would not supplement with vit. A when it's so easy to get that vitamin into him from his food.

    Your little turtle has great growth lines. What you're doing is working. Most people err by giving too much live food and their turtles become picky eaters. Keep on the way you are.

    You can pour water instead of spraying. . . it stays moist longer.
  6. Winter Day

    Winter Day New Member

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    Thanks so much for the replies guys. I just worry so much about it because I’ve fallen in love with the turtle, and I don’t think I could forgive myself if something were to happen to it that I could have prevented. It makes me glad knowing I’m doing things correctly.

    When I asked what the vitamin A was for they said it could help with swelling of the eyes. I didn’t think much of it until I read the instructions on the bottle.

    On the off chance its eye does start to swell up badly, what would be the recommendation? Would a natural increase of vitamin A in its diet be sufficient?
  7. Toddrickfl1

    Toddrickfl1 Well-Known Member Tortoise Club

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    Puffy eyes can be a symptom of vitamin a deficiency. The vitamin A is only going to help if that is the cause. I don't think it is in your case. I think it's just an old injury to the eye.
  8. Millerlite

    Millerlite Well-Known Member 10 Year Member!

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    Hello,

    Vets seem to be quick to prescribe vitamin shots of any type and its good you are worried about that and ODing. Like others said I would not use the meds unless your turtle really really needed it and on a death bed. Your little guy looks pretty good overall and seems to be active and alert all good signs. Like mentioned above feeding vitamin A rich foods is a better way to go than injections. Some people will ground up carrots and throw them into a warm soaking bath to give a little vit. A. Good luck and keep us updated!

    Kyle
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  9. TammyJ

    TammyJ Well-Known Member

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    Yes! I forgot about the benefits of the warm carrot baby food soaks.
  10. Loohan

    Loohan Well-Known Member

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    Even humans can OD on Vit A. Vit A is NOT the same thing as beta-carotene! My understanding is, a vertebrate will only convert as much beta carotene to Vit A as it needs. Foods rich in carotenoids include dark greens and orange vegetables. And moringa.
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