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Iguana Illnesses to Watch Out For

Iguanas are like any other living being in that they do get ill from time to time.  If you ignore your pet iguana’s illness, it can lead to future complications and even death.  There are a few illnesses that are common in most iguanas.

Iguanas can suffer from a metabolic bone disease called fibrious osteodystrophy.  Iguanas fall ill to this disease if they have suffered from malnutrition.  It is important to feed your iguana a variety of vegetables and not just lettuce, as it does not have much nutritional value beyond the water it contains.  Ensure that your pet’s food has a lot of vitamin D3 and calcium in it.  Symptoms of this disease include a swollen lower jaw, a rubbery, soft face and/or lower jaw, eating difficulties and swollen limbs of which will be easily susceptible to fractures.

The iguana’s back legs can become paralyzed if they do not get enough vitamin B1, and it can also have an affect on their tail.

If your iguana is constantly trying to escape its enclosure, it can develop abrasions on its face and nose.  This is caused by the iguana rubbing its nose against the sides of the tank, depending on if the sides of the tank are made of wire, glass or plastic.  These abrasions must be treated or they will become infected.

If your iguana gets too close to the tank’s heat source, it may get burned.  This includes exposed light bulbs and hot rocks.  To prevent burns, ensure that any lamp or light bulb is placed out of the iguana’s reach; avoid using hot rocks as the iguana can burn its claws on them.

Untreated nose abrasions as well as other things can lead to bacterial infections.  If your iguana’s environment is not cleaned regularly, its dampness and filth can cause blister disease.  If the iguana develops dry gangrene, its toes and tails will turn green and then black, and then they will fall off.  If the iguana’s food comes in contact with filth and bacteria, it will develop mouth rot, which includes inflammation, swelling and pus in the mouth which in turn can lead to abscesses in the mouth.  

Filthy food can also lead to parasites settling inside the gastrointestinal tract of the iguana – these parasites are deadly.  

Bacterial infection can also lead to organ failure.  Old age can also result in organ failure.  Typical symptoms of organ failure include weight loss, listlessness, bloating, loss of appetite and eventually death.

Bladder stones will cause the iguana’s abdomen to increase in size.  If female iguanas are unable to eject their eggs from the reproductive tracts, they will die – it is important to check your female iguana for any eggs remaining in its reproductive tract.  If there is an egg still in there, you will need to take the iguana to the veterinarian for x-rays and/or removal.

If you suspect illness in  your iguana, or if it starts to display any of the symptoms listed above, take it to your local veterinarian. Left untreated, these illnesses can make life miserable for your pet and will lead to eventual death.

Delphine Devereaux is an animal lover who loves to write about animals.  Her website, Iguana Habitat has valuable information on iguana care, iguana photos and more.

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