Turtles, especially box turtles and aquatic species, are at risk for developing ear infections. Because a turtle’s eardrum is located on the outer surface of its head, infection is trapped underneath the membrane and forms an abscess.
Symptoms and Types
- Swelling or bulging of the ear drum
- Thick pus may be visible through the ear drum
- Pain when the mouth is opened
- Unwillingness to eat
The underlying causes of aural (or ear) abscesses are not completely understood, but some cases develop when turtles are forced to live in dirty environments, are exposed to improper temperature and humidity levels, and/or do not receive adequate amounts of vitamin A in their diets.
Veterinarians diagnose aural abscesses based on a turtle’s symptoms, a physical exam and medical history.
To remove all of the pus and debris that has built up underneath the turtle’s eardrum, the veterinarian will anesthetize the animal, cut a hole in the membrane, thoroughly clean and flush out the inner parts of the ear with an antiseptic solution, and pack the area with an antibiotic ointment. In many cases, oral are prescribed in addition to the injectable antibiotics. Meanwhile, the incision will be left to heal on its own.
To prevent an aural abscess from returning, the veterinarian will often recommend vitamin A supplements or modifications to the turtle’s diet. Owners will also have to correct any inappropriate environmental conditions within the reptile’s terrarium to prevent ear infections from returning or from developing in the first place.
A product made of fluid, cell waste, and cells
Referring to the ear.
Any drug that kills organisms in an animal's tissue or prevents the growth of more.
A localized infection, usually a lesion filled with pus. Can be large or small in size.