Chelonian Handling and Restraint

Diagnostic and therapeutic procedures cannot be administered until you and your staff can safely handle and restrain the turtle or tortoise patient. Many chelonian patients presented to the veterinary hospital are ill and therefore their temperament and strength level can be reduced. Normal, healthy chelonians tend to be bright, alert and very strong, making them extremely challenging to restrain. Gaining control of the head can be particularly difficult, however multiple techniques have been described.

Client Education Handout 

Chinese Box Turtle Client Handout

The charming Chinese box turtle (Cuora flavomarginata) is native to the rice patty and pond environments of Taiwan and southern China. Shared by Dr. La’Toya Latney of PennVet, this educational handout will help your client understand how to care for and maintain this semi-aquatic turtle in captivity. Recommendations for indoor and outdoor housing as well as nutrition and breeding are described as well as common clinical problems.


Feeding the Hospitalized Turtle or Tortoise

Turtles and tortoises display a variety of dietary strategies ranging from the complete herbivory seen in many tortoises to the strict carnivory displayed in aquatic species like the snapping turtle. There are also many chelonians, such as the Eastern box turtle, that may be considered opportunistic omnivores. This review article, critiqued by reptile nutritionist, Susan Donoghue, discusses clinical concerns related to feeding the hospitalized turtle or tortoise. Topics covered range from recognizing true anorexia to food items to avoid. Practical technical concerns related to nutritional support such as tube feeding and daily caloric requirements are also discussed.

Client Education Handout 

Box Turtle, Care of the

Box turtles are one of the most common reptile pets in the United States. There are many subspecies of the box turtle, with the Eastern box turtle and three-toed box turtle being most commonly kept as pets. This educational handout will help your client understand how to care for and maintain this species in captivity. Recommendations for pet turtle diet and housing, as well as common clinical problems seen in veterinary practice are described.

Information sheet 

Basic Information Sheet: Box Turtle

Box turtles are indigenous to North America. Free-ranging box turtles spend much of their time in woodland and grassy habitats, near streams or other water sources. Most box turtles offered for sale in the pet trade are…

Article  Presenting Problem 

Presenting problem: Aural Abscess in Turtles

The turtle ear is a simple structure that sits caudoventral to the eye covered by a large scale called the tympanic scute. As in many reptiles, the external ear is absent in chelonians. The tympanic membrane sits flush against the skin just underneath the tympanic scute. There is one ossicle, the columella, which crosses the large tympanic cavity to insert medially on the oval window of the cochlea. A narrow Eustachian tube connects the middle ear to the oropharynx.

Aural abscesses are well-encapsulated, caseous plugs that slowly develop until it fills the tympanic cavity. The cause of aural abscessation is not completely understood…