COMMON REPTILE AILMENTS | Back to Caresheet Index |

:: Common Reptile Ailments

Below you will find some of the more commonly encountered health problems while keeping reptiles, some of which are easily dealt with. We always recommend that any but the simplest of problems should be dealt with by a vet. The information was collected from various sources. Remember Prevention is better the Cure.

::METABOLIC BONE DISEASE (M.B.D.)

Usually suffered by basking diurnal lizard species, most commonly encountered in Green Iguana’s & Water Dragons.

Causes:
A combination of poor husbandry and improper nutrition. The lack of calcium, also the lack of Vitamin D3, This is Usually acquired from the sun, so be sure to provided a suitable U.V.B. fluorescent tube with an output of no less than 5% to compensate, (UV light is necessary for vitamin D synthesis which is necessary for calcium to be absorbed).

Symptoms:
Swollen limb joints, shaking I tremors, lethargy, limping, soft bones and loss of appetite. This is a life-threatening disease, so consult a vet as soon as possible.

::MOUTH ROT“Ulcerative stomitus”

Most Commonly found in snakes. Usually starts with a swelling of the soft tissue of the mouth, and if not treated will spread to the bone, affecting the jaw, gums and teeth.

Causes:
Poor husbandry, (poorly cleaned or uncleaned tanks).
Injuries,
Cuts caused by mouth rubbing.
Stress.

Symptoms:
Swelling of the gums A grey cheesy substance in the mouth. Mouth open for long periods of time. Always isolate the infected animal, always wash hands to prevent spreading infection to other animals. To Treat mild cases You can buy medicine from your reptile store and apply it regularly with a Q-tip. In server cases consult your vet.

::APPETITE LOSS

This is usually STRESS related.

Possible Causes:
Vivariuml Tank to large,
To much handling,
Improper husbandry,

To correct the problem causing stress, and hopefully restore appetite, provided the right
environment, humidity and temperature are vital so take care to get them right, Handle as little as possible. If any weight loss occurs consult your vet.

::VENTRAL SCALE ROT or Ulcerative dermatitis

Causes:
substrate kept too moist,
Unclean substrate resulting in bacteria or mould build up, This is sometimes said to be caused by under floor heating, which if the tank is not cleaned regularly could be true.

Symptoms:
Appetite Loss. Red patches on the ventral scales, which if left untreated will develop into open sores. Blisters on the ventral scales. Mild cases can be treated by cleaning the wound each day with warm water, then applying vetadine. While treating the animal keep in a bare tank on Kitchen roll, this should help eliminate possible infection. In server cases consult your vet.

::BURNS

Causes:
Usually caused by ceramic heaters and other heat sources.

Symptoms:
A burn will usually appear as a red or greyish swollen or blistered area, In extreme cases the scales can be completely missing. Take the time to ensure that your animal can not make direct contact with the heat source, you can buy readily made wire cages to enclose your heat source from your reptile store or you could make your own.
Can be treated by cleaning the wound each day with warm water, and then applying vetadine. While treating the animal keep in a bare tank on Kitchen roll, this should help eliminate possible infection. In server cases consult your vet.

::VOMITING / REGURGITATION

There are several things that can cause Vomiting and Regurgitation: Stress resulting from to much handling. Overfeeding I feeding too large a meal. Extremes of temperature, too hot or too cold. Food not defrosted properly.
Don’t handle for 24 hours after feeding, and if you transport your animal for any reason allow 5/6 day rest before feeding. Always make sure the food is fully defrosted and warm to the touch. Check the temperature in your tank regularly.
If the problem persists consult your vet.