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Turtles/anal gland protruding out


We have a small desert turtle that all of a sudden looks like a protrusion in the anal area is this serious or is there anything we can do till we can get him to vet

Hi Rosanne,

It's very important to get your tortoise to a vet ASAP.  Prolapses aren't uncommon, but do need to be treated as quickly as possible.  In the meantime, keep your tortoise on clean, damp substrate (moist paper towels, etc.) so the prolapse doesn't dry out.  Soaking in sugar water can also help the prolapse to shrink and retract, but the tortoise needs to go the vet regardless.

It's also very important to make sure the tortoise is being kept correctly, because improper care is often the cause of prolapses, in particular dehydration and bladder stones.  Even desert tortoises shouldn't be kept completely dry, and should have constant access to water, wallows, etc. if outside, and regular soaks if inside.  Chronic dehydration leads to bladder stones, which can grow big enough to displace other organs, cause prolapses, etc.  If you can give me more information about how you're keeping your tortoise (age/size, how long you've had it, exact species, enclosure, substrate, diet, etc.), I can give you more specific infomration.  


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Questions regarding husbandry of Russian tortoises and other Mediterranean species, sulcata, and redfoot tortoises; general tortoise and turtle care; box turtle care. If I can't answer a specific question, I can provide sources for further research. Disclaimer: My advice is not a substitute for vet care. If I think your tortoise/turtle has a specific medical condition or injury that warrants a vet visit, I'll tell you so, and if possible I'll help you locate a vet. It is neither legal nor ethical for me to provide veterinary advice.


I have kept and bred Russian tortoises for over ten years and have other Mediterranean species plus redfoots and box turtles. I've worked with other tortoise and turtle species while doing volunteer rescue work; mostly sulcata but some leopards, California desert tortoises, yellowfoots, all box turtle species, red-eared sliders, etc. I don't personally keep aquatic species, but have access to a wealth of information and research to help you with any questions you might have.

My knowledge is based on hands-on experience keeping, breeding, and working with tortoises and turtles.

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