Ear Infections in Reptiles

Aural Abscesses

Turtles, especially box turtles and aquatic species, are at risk for developing ear infections. If the infection leads to the development of pus and the pus becomes trapped underneath the reptile's eardrum, aural abscesses can occur


Symptoms of aural abscesses include:

  • Swelling or bulging of the ear drum
  • The presence of thick pus behind the ear drum
  • Pain when the animal opens its mouth
  • Loss of appetite


The underlying causes of aural abscesses are not completely understood but cases tend to develop when turtles are forced to live in dirty environments, are exposed to improper temperature and humidity levels, and/or do not receive adequate amounts of vitamin A in their diets.


Veterinarians diagnose aural abscesses based on a turtle’s history, clinical signs, and a physical exam.

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