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Vitamin k


The following was brought to my attention by knieves@rrpac.upr.clu.edu. 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 matter.
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