Shell Rot / Fungus FRT not improving ? Please any suggestions

Kamemama

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Hi :) thanks for accepting so quickly I’ve been trying for a month to get approved on turtle forum

So, I recently was gifted an FRT (about 6” wide) & he had what I was told was not shell rot but “mystery fungus” but looks like shell rot to me. I had a pet store soft shell around this size before with shell rot when I purchased & I treated her with iodine / toothbrush air dry method & cleared up in a few weeks.

The guy that gave us this FRT is supposed to know his stuff & he said I should do air dry & bacitracin instead, so I did that about 2 days & then called an exotic vet to confirm this is comparable or better than my previous method.

*im letting him air dry for total of about 2 hours per day

Vet told me air dry + bacitracin is good but to start with chloroplex rinse (human use is surgical prep and wound sanitation) found at Walgreens or any pharmacy OTC.

My current routine for him (his name is Shi Shi) is -

  1. Air dry about 20 min
  2. Cost shell in chloroplex rinse
  3. Air dry about 15 min to allow solution to soak into the damaged area of the shell
  4. Wash shell thoroughly under warm running water to remove solution & clean off any fungus etc from the areas
  5. Air dry about 45 min or until shell is thoroughly dry
  6. Apply light layer bacitracin ointment with clean cutips to each damaged spot on the shell.
  7. Allow Shi Shi like 20 more min out of water for bacitracin to soak into these spots & do its thing
  8. Back into his tank (after he is cured I intend to build him a large glorious pond but for now his 75 g tank is perfect so I can closely monitor him and remove frm water easily
I have had him now about 15 days & some days it looks like I’m making progress & a lot of the areas look like they are healing, other days some areas look like they are painful & more like wounds & im scared of this getting any worse.

I see a photo icon here above but I saw that if I “post links” before I make 6 posts here I’ll be marked as spammer so not sure if using the photo upload thing counts as posting a link I’m new here.. photos would help a lot I’m sure.. I need to know how serious his case is so please advise if and how I can post photos as this is my very first post on this site.

I take several photos with a flash from all angles of his shell every night when I do this treatment just before I apply the bacitracin when his shell has been cleaned and dried already hoping that I can stare at them long enough in sequence and see an improvement but I really can’t.. I know these things take time to heal I’m just very worried bc I know FRT are very prone to this type of thing & I’ve heard it’s hard to treat with them and can kill them quickly & he is my baby he’s the best turtle I ever had & I want him to have a long happy life . Would be nice if I had pics from previous owner of how the shell rot looked before I got him but he has none so I don’t know if it was at one point worse and has improved or if it was just getting steadily worse where he was before .. I sound neurotic but he’s so precious I just love him

Any advice please thank so much!
 

MrsE88

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I have yet to treat my turtles for any issues, so I can’t give any firsthand advice. From what I’ve read it sounds like you are doing the right thing.
Be sure his water is pristine. Frt’s are so sensitive and really need perfect water.
Pictures will be good once you can post them.
 

Kamemama

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After staying up all night reading one night I’m switching to a new treatment today & doing twice a week water changes.. new treatment is cleansing and debriding followed by air dry & tea tree oil & more air dry and then applying high grade Manuka honey instead of bacitracin as that’s clearly not effective. Saw in the turtle forums emergency care section that they recommend treating with silverdyne, then I found a study showing Manuka honey to be almost twice as effective at sterilizing and healing burn wounds & my mom has been telling me about it’s antibacterial properties for years in one ear and out the other but after doing more research I feel super confident he will be healing within the week :) & it’s cool these things come from one of FRTs natural habitats Australia:) I’ll update in a few days and post pics .. for now here’s a pic of him not healing but getting worse with the chloroplex and bacitracin combo as of yesterday

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Kamemama

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I just did the first tea tree & Manuka treatment & the spots actually looked better and more dried out just after applying the tea tree and letting it air dry for 30 min .. posting pics from tonight I’m going to post pics every other day I’m super excited and I know this will work.. previous treatment had no improvement over a couple months between old owner and the 18 days he’s been here with us. I also found two old threads online mentioning Manuka and tea tree and how fast it works .. I’m still using the chloroplex just to cleanse and debride beforehand btw. First pic is after cleansing second is after drying out with tea tree applied third is after another rinse and dry followed by Manuka honey application I will post photos every other day in same sequence to track speed of healing.

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Kamemama

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Day 1 Manuka tea tree combo treatment after drying out and tea tree application

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MrsE88

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Interesting, I have not heard of that. His shell does look really bad and I can see why you are so upset.
Do you know how it started? Has he scratched up by another turtle or animal?
I’m anxious to see how this new treatment plan works out.
 

Kamemama

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Interesting, I have not heard of that. His shell does look really bad and I can see why you are so upset.
Do you know how it started? Has he scratched up by another turtle or animal?
I’m anxious to see how this new treatment plan works out.
The guy who gave him to us said that nothing happened that it just happens from dirty water.. he had him in a too small aquarium outside & maybe wasn’t keeping it clean I’m not sure..

So far the sores seem to be looking better this is day 3 of Manuka / tea tree.. he is still very active at night and some of the day & appetite is fine so he is doing alright but I know it’s extremely painful for him when I clean even carefully I hope it’s healed in a week or so .. posting pics here from today

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Kamemama

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Day 4 pics .. to me looks like it’s beginning to heal.. all pics are after cleansing with choroplex and soft brush then air dry. These are before tea tree/honey application each night

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Kamemama

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Success finally :) after 15 days of the Manuka/tea tree treatment I can finally see a real solid improvement :) my baby is healing! He’s going to be ok!!!! Soon he will have a healthy pretty shell & be a happy boy with no pain & he will live his life eating healthy snacks & being adorable :D

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Kamemama

Feeder Fish
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Mar 29, 2019
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Real Name
Amber
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Note: last few applications of Manuka honey & tea tree oil dilution I have been a little more liberal with the application & covered more than just the damaged areas also surrounding areas & any little spot on the shell that looked like it was at any time a blemish. With the honey I have been applying and then using the cutips to swirl the honey around & kind of rub it into the shell (super gently on open wound areas) & I think this is the reason for the shells increasingly healthy appearance he looks awesome. Thinking maybe in light of what I’ve read about FRT high susceptibility to fungal infection, might be a good idea after this shell rot is fully healed to once a week take him out & allow him to dry out briefly & then just quickly paint his shell with thin layer of premixed Manuka / tea tree just to keep him free from bacteria & looking pretty .. will do more research.. sucks there isn’t more info available about proper care of FRT I mainly see very general info about the species but not much about care in captivity.. but anyway he’s saved yay :) this is amount of honey I am currently applying seems to be making a big difference

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