The following was brought to my attention by firstname.lastname@example.org.
This reader had a red-eared slider turtle that was sick for several
months. The only noticeable symptom was bleeding through it's mouth.
The animal was taken to a veterinarian who specializes in exotic animals.
After a general check-up and some x-rays, no diagnosis was made.
The veterinarian suggested tht the bleeding might be caused by the
accidental ingestion of some sharp object.
The reader finally took the turtle to another specialist who diagnosed
the bleeding as a symptom of a vitamin K deficiency.
She administered intramuscular vitamin K-1 and prescribed a monthly
dosis for six months. She also recommended a diet change, which consisted
in adding green vegetables to the turtles' diet.
The animal subsequently recovered.
Comments: Vitamin K deficiency is almost always a result of
long-term antibiotic therapy, which causes the destruction of the intestinal
bacteria that synthesize vitamin K. Occasionally, it can occur without known
cause. However, lack of vegetables might be cause.
The usual symptom is bleeding of the gums. The treatment consists of
giving the animal vitamin K and changing the diet to include more vegetable