Turtles, especially box turtles and aquatic species, are at risk for developing ear infections. If the infection leads to the development of pus and the pus becomes trapped underneath the reptile's eardrum, aural abscesses can occur
Symptoms of aural abscesses include:
- Swelling or bulging of the ear drum
- The presence of thick pus behind the ear drum
- Pain when the animal opens its mouth
- Loss of appetite
The underlying causes of aural abscesses are not completely understood but cases tend to 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 history, clinical signs, and a physical exam.
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 out and flush the inner parts of the ear with an antiseptic solution, and pack the area with an antibiotic ointment. The ear will need to be flushed and the ointment reapplied for several days, and the incision will be left to heal on its own. Oral or injectable antibiotics may also be prescribed.
Living and Management
To help prevent an aural abscess from returning, veterinarians will recommend a vitamin A supplement or modifications to the turtle’s diet. Any inappropriate environmental conditions within the animal’s terrarium must also be corrected.
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.