What Diseases Do Turtles Carry


Common Diseases Carried by Turtles

Turtles, like other living animals, are susceptible to a variety of diseases. Generally, these illnesses can be caused by two factors: their natural environment and the conditions under which they live.

Bacterial Diseases

Turtles can contract a variety of bacterial diseases, such as Mycobacteriosis, or “turtle Tuberculosis”, which is caused by infection of the pathogen Mycobacterium ranahansenii; and in aquatic turtles, Salmonellosis, which is caused by ingesting food or water contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.

Mucus Discharge

Mucus discharge typically occurs due to bacterial skin infections or eye infections, and is treated with antibiotics.

Parasites and Pathogenic Fungi

External parasites such as mites, ticks, and flukes can live on a turtle’s skin and cause inflammation and itching. Pathogenic fungi can infect a turtle’s digestive system, respiratory system, or skin. Typical symptoms of fungal infections include lethargy, bad-smelling skin, and patches of white or discolored skin.

Viral Diseases

Turtles are susceptible to a variety of viral diseases, including:

    • Ranavirus, which is caused by a group of viruses and can lead to severe skin ulcerations and organ damage;


    • Adenovirus, which can cause swollen eyes and difficulty swimming; and


    • Shelledhean syndrome, which causes a slow wasting away of the shell.


If your turtle displays any of these symptoms, it is important to consult a qualified veterinarian right away in order to diagnose and treat any illnesses your pet may have contracted.

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