A good home and good diet go a long way to ensuring a pet iguana stays healthy. Unfortunately, no matter how well you take care of your pet, an injury or illness may occur.
Below are some of the more common illnesses that may befall a green iguana. It is always recommended that you contact a veterinarian if you think your pet has an injury or illness.
Broken Bones & Tail
Signs of a broken bone can be limping, swollen limb, or an unnatural limb position. A tail may need to have the broken portion removed to aid in healing. A broken tail can be regenerated and mostly regrown.
Broken limbs often occur when an iguana is accidentally stepped on. sat on, or crushed or smashed in doors, drawers, and cupboards. Always knowing where your iguana is at and “iguana proofing” your home are good ways to help prevent injuries. You should also never grab your iguana by the tail.
Toenails that are long can be easily broken when an iguana gets them caught and pulls away. Clipping the toenails with nail clippers will help. Do not cut the nails too short or you may hit the blood vessels and cause bleeding.
A burn can be painful and the skin can look discolored and possibly ooze. Untreated burns can lead to infection. A minor burn can be treated with antibiotic ointment,
Burns often happen because an iguana is too close to a heat lamp, light, heating pad, or other form of heat. Iguanas often do not move away from something that is too hot. Preventing your pet from getting too close to its heat source is the best way to stop burns.
Cuts & Scrapes
Cuts and scrapes may happen from an accident or your iguana just being inquisitive and exploring. Minor injuries can be treated with a disinfectant ointment.
Symptoms of dehydration include weight loss, dry or wrinkled skin, sunken eyes and lethargy. Making sure your pet always has fresh water available and feeding healthy foods that supply water are easy ways to prevent dehydration.
Egg binding occurs when a female iguana is unable to lay her eggs. Signs of egg binding can be lethargy, weakness, sunken eyes, and her being visibly pregnant but not nest building. It can be caused by poor nutrition, lack of a nesting area, and too many eggs. Supplying an adequate nesting area and a healthy diet with additional calcium can often help prevent egg binding.
Metabolic Bone Disease
Metabolic bone disease is caused by a lack of calcium in an iguana’s diet. The disease removes calcium from a reptile’s bones in order to restore blood calcium levels.
The effects of metabolic bone disease include softened bones, swollen limbs, lethargy, difficulty eating, constipation, paralysis, deformities, and even death. The easiest way to prevent this is a healthy diet, proper UVB lighting, and supplements.
Symptoms of internal parasites may be lethargy, loss of appetite, and rapid or shallow breathing. Internal parasites, like tapeworms and roundworms, can sometimes occur when your pet already weak or ill from other problems.
Ticks and mites are the more common parasites that may cause your iguana problems. If your pet is afflicted with these parasites, they are fairly easy to treat with treatments supplied by a veterinarian.
Signs of a possible respiratory infection are lethargy, loss of appetite, rapid or shallow breathing, and a runny nose. Respiratory infections are often caused by an iguana’s home being too cold. Maintaining a proper temperature in your pet’s home is the best way to help prevent an infection.
Shedding is normal and can happen several times per year as your iguana grows. As long as there is enough humidity, shedding should happen without problems.
Signs of shedding problems are difficulty shedding or flaky, excessive shedding. Giving your iguana a warm bath can aid in a difficult shed and may even be enjoyed by your pet.