All across the world, reptiles are becoming increasingly popular as pets. The green iguana stands out as one of the favourites among them due to its extraordinary beauty and sophisticated appearance. This lovely animal has a number of health issues as a result of being kept and bred in captivity, which can be made worse by individuals who are unable to give this species the fundamental care that it needs.
Image credit : Bert#
The most prevalent ailments affecting iguanas are described in the following AnimalWised article so you will know what to look for and when to seek treatment.
The foundation of illness prevention is good nutrition, just as it is for all other animal species, including humans. Iguanas are not an exception, either! Captive reptiles require a healthy diet that promotes healthy growth and builds their immune systems. Iguanas are quite robust creatures if they are kept in a good environment, fed well, and exposed to UV light.
Iguanas’ reproductive, gastrointestinal, and respiratory systems are all susceptible to disease. We’ll look more closely at some of the most typical issues down below.
Iguanas’ metabolic bone illness
Among the most prevalent medical conditions affecting captive green iguanas is metabolic bone disease. The primary causes of this pathology are due to negligent care by human caregivers.
Image credit : pedro arango
Among iguanas, this sickness is frequently brought on by
Unhealthy diet: A diet deficient in calcium and vitamin D3 results in an unbalanced calcium-to-phosphorus ratio.
An insufficient amount of ultraviolet B light is exposed to: The absence of ultraviolet B type light, both natural and artificial, favours the development of this illness.
Clinically, these symptoms are most frequently seen as follows:
a soft, malformed jaw
broken bones and a spine
You must provide your iguana a balanced diet that primarily consists of green leaves in order to avoid this problem. You should always give the animal direct sunlight if you have the chance to provide it with ultraviolet B light. In the event that this is not feasible, you should set up the terrarium in a synthetic ultraviolet B light spectrum and give the iguana a cycle of 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. Regardless of the light source, you must make sure that there are no plastics or crystals in the way of the light beam when an animal is being exposed to it. If there are, the UV radiation will pass through them rather than the animal.
Image Credit : sabin77
External parasites can occasionally be introduced by the plants and stems that are used in terrariums to improve the iguana’s environment and replicate its natural home.
For instance, ticks are easily seen and can be removed by pulling firmly until they are released. The bite site should then be treated with a topical antibiotic such Neosporin.
Mites reproduce incredibly quickly, making them a little trickier to manage. The parasites of the genus Hirstiella are the most prevalent; they are typically visible to the naked eye as red dots on the animal’s skin.
When an iguana has a mite infestation, the lizard will take long baths in its water bowl to get rid of the vermin. Treatment is necessary for mite infestation control.
Additionally, you should see your vet so they can identify the issue and start the proper course of therapy.
Internal parasites are additionally prevalent in iguanas. Nematodes, pinworms, hookworms, cestodes, coccidia, and protozoa are a few examples of internal parasites. Internal parasites irritate the gastrointestinal tract, disrupt food processing, and prevent nutrients from being absorbed.
If you take your iguana to the vet on a regular basis, they will analyze its excrement under a microscope to rule out the presence of parasites and, if any are found, provide the proper dewormer.
infections in iguanas
A pus-filled infectious swelling is known as an abscess. Another of the most prevalent health issues in iguanas is abscesses, particularly in those who live in groups and engage in territorial fighting. These abscesses frequently develop as a result of tissue invasion by bacteria (which is the most frequent) or fungus, as well as trauma, bite wounds, tumours, or parasites. Abscesses under the skin are also typical. In addition to causing apparent swelling on the upper or lower jaw, oral abscesses can make it difficult to chew.
The look, palpation, tiny needle aspiration, or surgical investigation are all used to identify abscesses. They are removed surgically or cut open, then the abscess is irrigated. The veterinarian must prescribe an antibiotic in order to treat an abscess. Even surgery might be necessary in the most extreme circumstances. So, as soon as you see swelling in your iguana, take it to the clinic right away! You should never try to drain an abscess yourself since doing so could cause the wound to become contaminated, infected, or to heal improperly.
Iguanas’ reproductive issues
Dystocia is one of the most typical reproductive issues in captive female iguanas. At this point, the iguana is unable to discharge the eggs because they have become stuck in the oviduct.
This prevalent iguana condition is primarily brought on by:
lack of a bed to sleep in
not getting any sunshine
women who are either too young or too elderly
issues with the eggs, such as broken eggs, an unusually high amount, etc.
Similar to most other issues, this one is brought on by the caretakers’ subpar treatment. It will be harder for any issues to arise if you give your iguana the proper care and visit the vet frequently. The list of causes also includes certain internal factors, as you can see, which are uncontrollable. Therefore, it’s critical to pay attention to these clinical symptoms:
increased urination frequency
Changes in behaviour, such the iguana’s persistent hunt for breeding locations
Consult a physician right once if you think your iguana is suffering from this condition. Calcium and oxytocin are frequently administered as part of treatment. Surgery can be necessary for constipation that is more severe.
Behaviour issues with iguanas
Iguanas all have distinctive personalities. Others remain violent while others become meek and quiet. The iguana needs to be trained and tamed in order to become tranquil.
One of the main causes of these animals being abandoned is behavioural issues. For territorial reasons, male iguanas in particular may become more violent throughout puberty.
Neutering is recommended by certain vets to lessen aggressive issues. It’s vital to recognize that this is a behaviour that this species naturally exhibits and that, in most situations, it can be prevented by providing enough space and an environment that is stimulating.
Always take up your iguana from the bottom, as if your arm were a tree trunk, so that it may grab onto you. Never lift them up since doing so could make the iguana to feel threatened and act aggressively out of fear.
Behavioural issues in iguanas are among the most prevalent diseases in green iguanas.
How can I tell if my pet iguana is ill?
Even if everything appears to be in order, your iguana could be ailing. This is why routine veterinary appointments are so crucial. Even though these alterations may not be apparent to the naked eye, a qualified pet expert will not overlook them.
Iguanas aren’t exactly the most expressive animals, after all. Iguanas tend to conceal disease symptoms for as long as they can. They picked up this defence tactic while living in the wild. Since reptiles in general are fairly hardy creatures, it can occasionally be difficult to detect problems before it is too late.
Keeping a close eye on the iguana every day and paying attention to their behaviour and physical state is the best approach to determine if it is ill. You should be aware that these are the first indicators that something is wrong if, for whatever reason, they stop eating, drinking, urinating, or having bowel motions. Other signs can include:
Not enough energy
loss of equilibrium
The most prevalent ailments in iguanas can be prevented with adequate home care, a healthy food, and veterinary appointments. So don’t be reluctant to spend money on preventive.
If you can properly care for them, iguanas can make wonderful pets. Do not overlook our comprehensive iguana care guide for beginners if you are thinking about getting an iguana as a pet.