Iguanas are not immune to falling ill. Just like humans, they can become sick at any time and when it happens they will need the necessary treatment and care to recover from their illnesses. Here are some common iguana sicknesses that need veterinary attention immediately as well as sufficient medication. Take note, otherwise you could end up losing your favorite pet.
1) Fibrous Osteodystrophy or Metabolic Bone Disease: This results from extreme malnutrition and bad feeding. When you purchase your pet, you should take advice on nutrition from the pet shop. A common issue with iguana owners is that they often like to feed their pets lettuce and squash. However, lettuce contains no nutrient value and is therefore referred to as a water sponge. What happens here is that the situation will become worse because there is a lack of vitamin D3 and therefore insufficient calcium intake by your iguana. This can be dangerous and can even lead to death. Symptoms of this disease include a soft, rubbery face and lower jaw, a swollen lower jaw, listlessness, swollen limbs and difficulty in eating. The limbs and spine can be easily fractured as well.
2) Paralysis of the back legs: This is caused by a deficiency of vitamin B1 and often the iguana’s tail will also become badly affected. In order to cure this condition, your vet will inject the essential required vitamins and minerals into your pet and will also recommend an immediate change in diet.
3) Nose abrasions: When an iguana is unhappy or insecure in its new environment it will try to escape several times and this can cause scratches and abrasions on the nose and face. While they look for an escape route they usually scratch and rub their noses on the wire, glass or plastic tank enclosures. If the abrasions remain untreated by you, bacterial infection, ulceration of the rostrum and various other deformities are likely to occur.
4) Thermal injuries or burns: If you are not careful when installing the light bulbs or hot rocks in your pet’s cage, then these areas can be easily exposed and therefore can cause burns through contact with them. Lights must be situated above the enclosures so that they cannot be reached by the iguana and hot rocks should be avoided altogether.
5) Bacterial infection: There are a couple of different types of bacterial infections that can harm your iguana. If your pet is continuously exposed to a damp and filthy environment, it may become infected with the blister disease. Lack of proper hygiene and adequate sanitation can lead to dry gangrene of the toes and nails. These areas then become dark gray or black and begin to break off. If your iguana has swelling, inflammation or pus in its mouth, then it has got the Mouth Rot infection. The pus will cause abscesses in the mouth as well.
6) Parasites: Parasites are a common cause of death in iguanas that are held in captivity. They will settle inside the blood contained in the gastrointestinal tract which is very dangerous. Parasites, like other diseases, should be treated immediately.
7) Viral Infection: There is still ongoing research with regard to the causes and cures of these infections in iguanas but regardless there are known to be very harmful to iguanas.
8) Organ failure: This usually occurs due to old age or as a result of an existing bacterial infection. Your pet will show signs of loss of appetite, bloating, weight loss, listlessness and it might even cause death.
9) Bladder stones: This can cause the abdomen to become enlarged and can cause a lot of discomfort and pain to your iguana.
10) Egg-binding: This occurs in females when they cannot pass their egg through their reproductive tract. A little assistance from you in this case can help.
These are some of the more common illnesses that can affect your iguana’s health. Should you notice any symptoms of these conditions be sure to take immediate action and if required take your pet to the vet.