How to notice if an iguana is sick


What are the iguana diseases that occur most frequently in our consultations?

Iguanas are reptiles that over time have become habitual companion animals. They can live 12 to 15 years in captivity and their adult size exceeds one and a half meters. They do not smell or make noise, however, they are not suitable for all homes since their maintenance is not as easy as it seems. In addition, they are quite archaeological animals, so they hardly show affection to their owner.

The six most common clinical problems and diseases of the iguana

The ones we cite below are the most common iguana diseases:

1 The bone metabolic disease (EMO) is very common in young iguanas and is due to poor animal handling. The EMO deteriorates the connective tissue of the bones causing them to break when the animal jumps or climbs. It also weakens the spongy tissue of the jaw by deforming it and, as a consequence, the iguana has difficulty feeding properly. This disease is corrected by increasing the level of calcium in the diet and exposure to UV rays.

2 The main cause of diarrhea In the iguana it is a meal rich in fruits and vegetables. Although it can also be caused by other factors such as stress, parasites, inappropriate temperatures, etc. If you do not have swelling of the abdomen or breathing problems, you may be given some dry food to stop diarrhea.

3 In iguanas the prolapse of the colon, bladder, oviduct or hemipene. This pathology occurs when a tissue that is normally found inside the body comes out. It is usually a consequence of parasites, constipation or dystocia.

4 The Burns they occur when the iguana gets too close to a source of intense heat inside the terrarium. The skin may turn red or black and may even ulcerate. To avoid this injury, heat sources must be placed in a place that the animal cannot access.

5 Some vegetables such as turnips, cauliflower or carrot can produce hypothyroidism in the iguana. This is because they have substances called goitrogens that suppress the function of the thyroid gland. If the animal is dormant or inactive and its growth is slow, it is best to completely suppress the aforementioned vegetables.

6 The stress or poor nutritional management can cause the iguana to develop stomatitis or secondary infection that usually appears in the tissue that forms the inside of the mouth. The jaw is demineralized, closes poorly and the animal can even lose teeth. It is necessary to perform a very deep cleaning and rinses with antiseptics daily.

Adequate food

Throughout their lives, iguanas go from a preferably carnivorous diet, in which the supply of protein and vitamin D for bones is important, to a more herbivorous one, in which an excess of calcium and vitamin D can lead to problems . In addition, while young iguanas can feed whenever they want, adults only need to eat 3 or 4 times a week.

It is recommended to give the iguanas some of the commercial foods that exist in the market along with a mixture of fresh foods such as bran, alfalfa, brown rice, etc.


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Learn how a healthy iguana should look and how it should behave so that you can notice when you get sick. A healthy iguana should be active, eat and defecate regularly, have a rounded body (without being obese), green skin and clean eyes and nose.

Distinguish any languor or inactivity, especially in conjunction with other abnormal signs. For example, lethargy added to swollen weight, abdomen and / or neck loss and drinking frequently can be signs of kidney failure.

Check the skin of the iguana. If it is not bright green, or has strange bumps or ulcers, you may be sick. Pinch the skin to make sure it is smooth. Otherwise, the iguana may be dehydrated.

Observe the intestinal habits of the iguana. Any change in the appearance or consistency of stool can be an indication of disease. Constipation can be a sign of intestinal obstruction.

Look for any clue of bone metabolic disease, which is a serious disease that affects iguanas. A weak jaw (or misaligned jaw), lethargy, tremor, limb deformities or fractures are indications of this disease, which is caused by a poor absorption of calcium, perhaps due to an inadequate diet.

Make sure the tail of the iguana is chubby. The fat is stored in the tail just after the sewer. If the tail bones can be seen, that may indicate that the iguana is sick.

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