Respiratory Infection

red-eared slider with a respiratory infection

Also known as: upper respiratory infection, R.I., U.R.I., pneumonia


  • Runny nose
  • Bubbling around the eyes, nostrils, and/or mouth
  • Watery eyes
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Lopsided swimming
  • Unable to sink to bottom of tank without great effort
  • Open-mouth breathing (in severe cases)


  • Low basking temperature
  • Poor quality heating
  • Low water temperature
  • Not enough UVB
  • Poor sanitation


If you suspect that your red-eared slider may have a respiratory infection, schedule an appointment with an experienced reptile veterinarian. They will likely take x-rays to examine the lungs and antibiotics to clear out the infection.

Meanwhile, double-check the basking temperature, as low temperatures are notorious for causing respiratory infections. While you’re at it, check what kind of heating you’re using. For best results, you should be using a halogen heat bulb, as halogens produce the highest quality heating.

Also check the age, brand, and strength of your UVB bulb (see the Lighting page for instructions), and make sure you have a filter appropriate to the enclosure (see the Water page for details).

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