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Turtle With Soft Shell

My turtle has a soft shell, Why? And what can I do to fix this?

If your turtle has developed a soft shell it is probably caused by one of two things.

It could be Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) which is caused by a lack of calcium in the diet. If the condition is not too advanced it can be corrected by increasing the Calcium and Vitamin D in the turtles diet. This can be done by adding a supplement to their diet.

The other cause of a soft shell is shell rot which is usually caused by an infection, most commonly a bacterial infection. The infection then damages and weakens the shell. A vet would be able to advise you a treatment plan to hopefully correct the problem.

I highly recommend visiting a veterinarian to determine the cause of the problem. They will then be able to best advise the correct treatment approach.

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  1. So I have a mini red eared slider and his shell has become soft top and bottom

    1. Hi Zach,
      As discussed in this post, it could be from a calcium deficiency or it could be caused by a bacteria infection. Yu should probably take them to a vet that is good with turtles to correctly diagnose the condition and advise a course of treatment.
      Good luck

  2. Hello, my young yellow bellied slider has little soft spots near it’s tail ( on it’s shell )
    I really think it is the “soft shell” disease, it is not serious at all ( not too soft , and only a little) , can you recommend any home medications for my turtle? Thanks

    1. Hi Clarette,

      Thank you for your question. If it is the start of soft-shell disease I would definitely be getting on top of it asap. A would try and get your turtle to a vet that is use to treating turtles for a professional opinion and the correct course. As mentioned, the most common causes of soft shell is Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) from a lack of calcium in the diet. There aren’t really any home remedies I would advise except assess their diet and ensure that it is well balanced and contains enough calcium, a calcium supplement may be needed. It could also be due to an infection which should be treated by a vet. I do believe the best course of action would be a vet visit to correctly diagnosis and get on top of it before it becomes more severe.

      I hope this helps.

  3. Hi. My 2 baby red eared slider shell are very squishy especially at the end of the tail and the bottom is squishy to not soft only squishy. Don’t know why but I think it was lack of vitamin or lighting. Also the boy one have a white spot on his shell. Can you please give me any home medication to heal it? Thanks for your information. – Emily

    1. Hi Emily,

      I am sorry but I do not know of any home remedies to help with a soft shell. It could be caused by a lack of vitamins and minerals therefore you need to look at their diet and probably offering some supplements, particularly calcium. The other cause could also be lack of light, especially with the development of a white spot. Turtles need light, preferably unfiltered sunlight but this is not often possible when kept as pets, so you should then use a light source/lamp with UVB light.

      I would recommend a vet visit, if you can find someone with turtle knowledge, just to check it isn’t bacterial/fungal related and offer possibly suggestions. I would do this sooner rather than later as the condition is likely to worsen if not treated correctly.

      I hope that helps.

  4. In the late 70s, we had Terrapins, which all developed soft-shell. initially, their diet was dried worms, but a vet recommended cheap dog meat! This sounded ridiculous, but the cheap branded foods are filled with fish and cerial. After the dietary change, the terrapins recovered fully and lived for many years afterwards.

  5. My baby turtle is a painted turtle and the center of his belly is soft, now his shell is all soft and turning a white color almost. He is not moving around much and I am very concerned for his health. I have only had him for about two months he’s a hatchling and I’ve added a water filter, aerator, and UV light I have just ordered a heating pad for the tank and I see to add calcium and D3 to his diet but is there anything more I can do to help him get back to health? He is so fragile and he’s getting very weak now.

    1. Hi Stormy,
      Thank you for your question. If you are fairly sure that it is not a calcium/vitamin D deficiency it could be a fungal infection. Please find a veterinarian that specialises or treats turtles and they will be able to correctly diagnose and if it is a fungal infection they will be able to prescribe some medication to help.

      I hope this helps, good luck.

  6. Hello my tourtise is in very bad condition shell is soft bottom one have not eating anything it’s been a month. I visited vet as per him he will not survive also bottom body shows blood inside lower body…
    I am giving vitamins and salad pata juice please hhlep me safe

    1. Hi,
      Please consult your vet as it certainly sounds like something serious is going on. You need a veterinarian to diagnose if it is a fungal or bacterial infection or a vitamin/mineral deficiency, or a combination of these. Only a veternarian will be able to correctly advise on this once they have examined your tortoise. Hopefully you get a good outcome.
      Best of Luck

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