Close this search box.

Common Health Issues in Red Eared Slider Turtles

Are you wondering to know about Common Health Issues in Red Eared Slider Turtles? You have come to the right place.

One of the most popular turtles kept as pets worldwide is the red-eared slider. These freshwater turtles have olive to dark green shells with an unique red stripe below each eye. They are resilient and able to adapt to many situations, although they are nonetheless prone to some health problems. We will go over some common health problems that red-eared slider turtles may experience in this article, along with prevention and treatment methods.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Common health issues in red-eared slider turtles
    1. Respiratory infections
    2. Shell rot
    3. Metabolic bone disease
    4. Eye problems
    5. Parasites
  3. Prevention and treatment
    1. Maintaining proper water quality
    2. Providing adequate basking and UVB lighting
    3. Feeding a well-balanced diet
    4. Quarantine new turtles
    5. Regular veterinary check-ups
  4. Conclusion
  5. FAQs

Common health issues in red eared slider turtles

Respiratory infections

Respiratory illnesses can strike red-eared slider turtles, especially if their habitat is unsuitable for keeping them. Lethargy, wheezing, coughing, nasal discharge, and gasping for air are all indications of a respiratory infection. Cold temperatures, limited basking places, and poor water quality can all contribute to respiratory illnesses.

Shell rot

Red-eared slider turtles frequently suffer from shell rot. It is brought on by infections that seep through the shell, either bacterial or fungal. Soft patches on the shell, foul-smelling discharge, and discolouration are indications of shell rot. Maintaining correct water quality, offering a dry area for basking, and minimising overpopulation can all help to prevent shell rot.

Metabolic bone disease

Red-eared slider turtles frequently suffer from metabolic bone disease (MBD), which is brought on by a lack of calcium and vitamin D3. Soft or irregularly shaped shells, swelling limbs, and drowsiness are symptoms of MBD. By giving sufficient calcium and vitamin D3 supplementation, UVB lighting, and a healthy diet, MBD can be avoided.

Eye problems

Swollen eyelids, discharge, and cloudiness are among the ocular conditions that red-eared slider turtles are prone to. These problems may be brought on by contaminated water, bacterial infections, or wounds. Maintaining correct water quality, minimising overcrowding, and giving a nutritious diet can all help prevent eye disorders.


Internal and external parasites, including as worms and mites, can affect red-eared slider turtles. Lethargy, loss of appetite, and weight loss are symptoms of parasite infections. Maintaining correct water quality, offering a clean environment, and avoiding overpopulation can all help to prevent parasites.

Prevention and treatment

Maintaining proper water quality

For red-eared slider turtles to remain healthy, adequate water stewardship is crucial. For swimming, turtles require clean water since unclean water might harbour parasites, illnesses, and respiratory problems. By employing a quality filtration system, changing the water frequently, and abstaining from overfeeding, water quality can be preserved.

Providing adequate basking and UVB lighting

To stay healthy, red-eared slider turtles require both UVB illumination and sunbathing. It is important to provide basking spaces so that turtles can thoroughly dry off and regulate their body temperature. Turtles require UVB lighting to properly metabolise calcium and vitamin D3. MBD can occur in turtles who do not receive enough UVB lighting.

Feeding a well-balanced diet

Red-eared slider turtles need to eat a balanced diet to stay healthy overall. A diet with both animal and plant-based meals is necessary for turtles. The majority of their diet should consist of commercial turtle pellets, with occasional treats of fresh fruits and vegetables. Overfeeding and serving an unbalanced diet must be avoided as they might result in obesity and other health issues.

Quarantine new turtles

To stop diseases and parasites from spreading to existing turtles, it’s crucial to quarantine new turtles. When bringing new turtles to the main tank, they should be kept in a separate tank for at least four weeks while being watched for any symptoms of illness or parasites.

Regular veterinary check-ups

Red-eared slider turtles need regular veterinary examinations for their general health and welfare. At the very least once a year, and more frequently if they are exhibiting symptoms of sickness, turtles need to be examined. A veterinarian can diagnose health problems, suggest possible treatments, and offer preventative care.


Red-eared slider turtles are popular pets, however they can develop specific medical conditions. Red-eared slider turtles frequently experience respiratory infections, shell rot, metabolic bone disease, vision difficulties, and parasites. But, by taking the necessary precautions and paying attention to their environment, nutrition, and general health, many health problems can be avoided and managed.


  1. How often should I change my turtle’s water? A: Turtles’ water should be changed at least once a week, or more frequently if it is visibly dirty.
  2. Can I feed my turtle human food? A: No, it is not recommended to feed turtles human food as it is often high in fat and salt, which can lead to health problems.
  3. Can I use tap water for my turtle’s tank? A: Tap water can be used for turtles’ tanks, but it should be treated with a water conditioner to remove harmful chemicals and chlorine.
  4. How often should I take my turtle to the veterinarian? A: Turtles should receive a check-up at least once a year, and more frequently if they are showing signs of illness.
  5. Can I use a heat lamp instead of a basking light for my turtle? A: No, a heat lamp is not a suitable substitute for a basking light as it does not provide the necessary UVB lighting that turtles require.