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Care / Health December 27, 2018 ->

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Most common diseases of green iguanas

Most common diseases of green iguanas

Green iguanas are the favorite reptiles when we look for an exotic pet. If you are thinking of having one or you already have it with you in your home we recommend you read this note where we will tell you what are the pathologies that most affect them, their symptoms and most common treatment.

Bone metabolic disease

Many reptiles suffer from this disease mainly due to a lack of calcium (usually due to a diet low in this mineral) and a low exposure to UV radiation. A weakening of the bones occurs due to low calcium and low fixation. The most common symptoms are: deformation of the jaw, deviation of the spine, deformation of the fingers, bone weakness that can cause spontaneous fractures. The treatment is usually based on improving the balance of the diet, always taking care of giving calcium-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables within their nutrition. In addition, the UV radiation you need should be delivered, using special reptile lamps or letting you receive some sun rays if possible. It is important that if you start to see symptoms, take it as soon as possible to a veterinarian, so that it does not suffer and the picture can be reversed in time.

It is common for our iguana to burn as we need to put artificial sources of heat to resemble a natural environment for it, and sometimes we do not regulate them well or they overcome, causing burns in our pets. These accessories should be located outside the reach of the iguanas and we should always be checking their correct operation so as not to cause this type of accident, where their skin may be more red, gray or black in the affected areas. It is advisable to take a burn immediately to a veterinarian to treat your wounds with cleanings, creams and antibiotics if necessary.

Iguana abscesses

These are more frequent to find in iguanas that live with others in the same habitat, they are very territorial, so it is always preferable to have them separated (if you have more than one). When fighting, they can be injured, and these wounds can become infected and abscessed with pus inside, so you will see a swelling in the affected part that may or may not be secreting pus and blood outwards. You must take it to the veterinarian to give you an antibiotic protocol and can make a proper cleaning of the area.

Diarrhea can also be a problem facing your iguana. These are mainly due to nutritional imbalances, such as: excess fruits and vegetables, although it can also be caused by other causes such as stress, parasites or inappropriate temperatures. The treatment will depend on the cause that is affecting it, so your veterinarian will be the one to give you the treatment indicated as appropriate.

Prolapse is also common in iguanas, where one has tissues that protrude outside. In this case, the most frequent is that the colon, bladder, oviduct or hemipene is affected (these last two are reproductive organs). Generally this is caused by constipation, parasitosis or dystocia, and its treatment will depend on the cause. If you see a strange protrusion coming out of your sewer, keep it as neat as possible and urgently take your iguana to a veterinarian to solve it promptly and avoid infections that could complicate the condition.

If you see any suspicious signs in your iguana, we recommend you take it as soon as possible to see a veterinarian specializing in exotic animals, so that it can evaluate it and, if it is sick, you can do an early treatment, so it will heal sooner and you can give it the good quality of life your little friend deserves.

If you want to know more about the care of your iguana, we invite you to review this note “Basic care of the iguana”.


"data-medium-file =" "data-large-file =" http: //www.enriquecimientoambiental .com / wp-content / uploads / 2015/09 / eye-854340_640.jpg "/> Common diseases of iguanas in terrariums.

Decalcification is the most common disease that occurs in the green iguana that lives in captivity. This disease is usually the result of malnutrition or an unbalanced diet. The problem is compounded by the absence of calcium, vitamin D3, vitamins and minerals. The symptoms are numerous: swollen lower jaw, difficulty feeding, swollen limbs, etc.

Abrasion of the nose and face.

Repeated escape attempts can lead to abrasions in the nose and face. The iguana has a tendency to push and rub its nose along the sides of its terrarium in search of an eventual exit. Constant irritation of the nose and face will result in permanent scarring and possible bacterial infections. It is difficult to prevent this problem, so you have to be very attentive to the iguana's behavior.

Bacterial infection

Bacterial infections are the result of constant exposure to moisture or a dirty environment. Some of them can have fatal consequences on your iguana, so it is very important to control the temperature and humidity level of the terrarium and keep it very clean.

Common diseases of the green iguana

As in any other animal species, including the human one, proper feeding is the basis for prevention of any disease And the iguana is no exception! This reptile must enjoy a proper diet in captivity that allows it to grow smoothly and strengthen your immune system.

Iguanas can suffer all kinds of diseases and affect the various systems of the body: respiratory, reproductive, gastrointestinal, etc. However, there are some problems that occur most frequently in veterinary clinics, and are the ones that we will see below.

Metabolic bone disease in reptiles

Bone metabolic disease is one of the most common health problems in captive green iguanas. The main causes of this pathology are a consequence of improper management by human partners. Consult our complete guide on the care of the iguana to avoid making these kinds of mistakes and thus prevent the development of this disease.

This common disease in iguanas is mainly caused by:

  • An inadequate diet. The diet poor in calcium and vitamin D3 results in an incorrect ratio of calcium and phosphorus.
  • The inadequate exposure to ultraviolet light B. The absence of ultraviolet light type B, both natural and artificial, promotes the development of this pathology.

The Clinical signs Most common of this condition are:

  • Soft and deformed jaw.
  • Spontaneous fractures
  • Deformed bones and spine.

To avoid this problem, you must ensure that your iguana has a balanced diet based on green leaves. With regard to ultraviolet light B, whenever you have that possibility, you should provide the animal with direct sunlight. If this is impossible, you should place in the terrarium in a spectrum of artificial ultraviolet light B, and offer the iguana a period of 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. During exposure to light, regardless of the origin of the light, you must confirm that there are no plastics or crystals between the ray and the animal, since, otherwise, ultraviolet radiation will be absorbed by them and not by the animal.

Common parasites in iguanas

The plants and trunks used in the terrariums to enrich the iguana's environment and simulate its natural habitat sometimes bring some parasites. The most common are the parasites of the genus Hirstiella and, generally, they can be seen with the naked eye on the skin of the animal as red dots, as can be seen in the image.

If you recently detect these red marks In your iguana, visit your veterinarian so you can diagnose the problem and begin proper treatment. If it is confirmed that they are the mites mentioned, you can use a treatment based on ivermectin or other acaricide that your veterinarian considers more appropriate.

Other common parasites in iguanas are the interns. If you make regular visits to your veterinarian, he will observe your iguana's feces under a microscope and rule out the presence of parasites or, if he detects any, will perform proper deworming.

Iguana abscesses

Abscesses are other of the most common health problems in iguanas, mainly those that live in groups and are attacked for territorial reasons.

To treat an abscess the prescription of an antibiotic by the veterinarian will be necessary. In the most severe cases, surgery may even be necessary. So, if you detect any swelling in your iguana, Visit the vet as soon as possible! Never try to drain an abscess yourself, since the wound could become contaminated, infected or not heal properly. For these cases, we can assure you that the remedies can be worse than the disease if you don't have the right knowledge.

Reproductive problems in iguanas

One of the most common reproductive problems in female iguanas held in captivity is dystocia. Basically, what happens is that eggs are trapped in the oviduct and the iguana cannot expel them.

The main causes of this common disease in iguanas are:

  • Absence of a suitable place for laying.
  • Substrate too hard.
  • Lack of exposure to sunlight.
  • Inadequate diet
  • Stress.
  • Females too young.
  • Females too old.
  • Egg problems: broken eggs, larger number than usual, too hard, etc.

Also this problem, like almost everyone else, has as its main origin improper handling by the tutors. If you offer all the right conditions to your iguana and make regular visits to the veterinarian, it will be more difficult for any type of problem to arise. However, as you can see in the Decause list, there are some internal reasons that cannot be controlled. For this reason, it is important to be aware of these Clinical signs:

  • Swollen abdomen
  • Anorexy.
  • Increased frequency of urine
  • Behavior changes: the iguana constantly demands places to lay eggs.

If you suspect that your iguana suffers from this problem, visit a veterinarian immediately. The treatment is usually the administration of calcium and oxytocin. In those more severe cases with obstruction, surgical intervention may be required.

Behavior problems in iguanas

Behavior problems are one of the main reasons for abandonment of these animals. Especially in the case of male iguanas when they reach puberty, they can begin to show more aggressive behavior due to territorial issues.

Some veterinarians suggest castration to reduce aggressive problemssHowever, it is important to accept that this is a natural behavior of this species and that in most cases it can be avoided if there is adequate space and environmental enrichment.

When it comes to taking your iguana to take it in your arms, you must always pick it up, as if your arm were the trunk of a tree, so that it can cling to you. Never take it above, since the iguana could feel threatened and, as a consequence, show an aggressive attitude out of fear.

How to know if my iguana is sick?

Now that you know what are the most common diseases in iguanas, it is obvious to consider how to recognize these pathologies. Well, the best way to find out if the iguana is sick is to watch it carefully every day, pay attention to your behavior and fitness. If for some reason your behavior changes, stop eating, drinking, urinating or defecating, you should know that these are the first symptoms that indicate that something bad is happening.

Even when all of the above is apparently normal, the iguana may suffer some internal problem. For this reason regular visits to the veterinarian are so important. Small changes may not be visible to our eyes, but they will not go unnoticed to the eyes of a professional expert in these animals. Reptiles are very resistant animals and sometimes it is difficult to realize that something is not right, and when we realize it is too late.

All home care, proper food and visits to the veterinarian they are the key to the prevention of any of the most common diseases in green iguanas explained in the previous sections. So, do not hesitate to invest in prevention.

This article is purely informative, at we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Most common diseases in iguanas, we recommend you go to our Other health problems section.