Most common diseases in iguanas

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The popularity of reptiles as pets it has grown exponentially all over the world. Among all of them, the green iguana stands out as one of the favorites for its extraordinary beauty and elegant appearance. However, life and breeding in captivity has led this beautiful animal to develop a series of health problems, which can be enhanced if human companions do not have enough information to offer the basic care that this species needs..

To ensure that your iguana is in perfect condition and does not suffer from any problems, in addition to all the care it requires in terms of hygiene and food, you must carry out the periodic visits stipulated by the exotic vet. To help you expand your information, at AnimalWised we show you what are the most common diseases of iguanas, ¡keep reading!

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  1. Common Green Iguana Diseases
  2. Metabolic bone disease in reptiles
  3. Common parasites in iguanas
  4. Abscesses in iguanas
  5. Reproductive problems in iguanas
  6. Behavior problems in iguanas
  7. How to know if my iguana is sick?

Common Green Iguana Diseases

As in any other animal species, including humans, a correct diet is the basis for prevention from any disease. ¡And the iguana is no exception! This reptile must enjoy an adequate diet in captivity that allows it to grow without problems and strengthen its immune system.

Iguanas can suffer from all kinds of diseases and affect the various systems of the body: respiratory, reproductive, gastrointestinal, etc. However, there are some problems that occur more frequently in veterinary clinics, and they are the ones we are going to see below.

Metabolic bone disease in reptiles

Metabolic bone disease is one of the most common health problems in captive green iguanas. The main causes of this pathology are the consequence of improper handling by human companions. Consult our complete guide on the care of the iguana to avoid making these types of mistakes and thus prevent the development of this disease.

This common disease in iguanas is caused mainly by:

  • An improper diet. Diets poor in calcium and vitamin D3 result in an incorrect calcium and phosphorus ratio.
  • The inadequate exposure to UV light B. The absence of type B ultraviolet light, both natural and artificial, favors the development of this pathology.

The Clinical signs most common of this condition are:

  • Soft and misshapen jaw.
  • Spontaneous fractures.
  • Deformed bones and spine.

To avoid this problem, you must ensure that your iguana has a balanced diet based on green leaves. With regard to ultraviolet B light, whenever you have that possibility, you should provide the animal with direct sunlight. If this is impossible, you should place in the terrarium in a spectrum of artificial ultraviolet B light, and offer the iguana a period of 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. During exposure to light, regardless of its origin, you must confirm that there are no plastics or crystals between the beam and the animal, since, otherwise, the ultraviolet radiation will be absorbed by them and not by the animal..


Common parasites in iguanas

Plants and logs used in terrariums to enrich the iguana's environment and simulate its natural habitat sometimes carry some parasites. The most common are the parasites of the genus Hirstiella and, generally, they can be seen with the naked eye in the skin of the animal as red dots, as can be seen in the image.

If you recently detect these red marks on your iguana, visit your vet so he can diagnose the problem and begin proper treatment. If it is confirmed that they are the aforementioned mites, a treatment based on ivermectin or another acaricide that your veterinarian considers more suitable can be used.

Other common parasites in iguanas are the interns. If you make regular visits to your vet, he will observe your iguana's feces under a microscope and rule out the presence of parasites or, if he detects any, carry out the appropriate deworming..


Abscesses in iguanas

Abscesses are other of the most common health problems in iguanas, mainly in those that live in groups and are attacked for territorial reasons.

To treat an abscess, a veterinarian's prescription of an antibiotic will be necessary. In the most severe cases, even surgical intervention may be required. So, if you detect any swelling in your iguana, ¡visit the vet as soon as possible! Never try to drain an abscess yourself, as the wound could become contaminated, infected, or not heal properly. For these cases, we can assure you that the remedies can be worse than the disease if you do not have adequate knowledge..


Reproductive problems in iguanas

One of the most common reproductive problems in captive female iguanas is dystocia. Basically, what happens is that eggs are trapped in the oviduct and the iguana cannot expel them.

The main causes of this common disease in iguanas are:

  • Lack of a suitable place for laying.
  • Substrate too hard.
  • Lack of exposure to sunlight.
  • Improper diet.
  • Stress.
  • Females too young.
  • Females too old.
  • Egg problems: broken eggs, more than usual, too hard, etc..

Also this problem, like almost all the others, has as its main origin improper handling by tutors. If you offer all the appropriate conditions to your iguana and make regular visits to the vet, it will be more difficult for any type of problem to arise. However, as you can see from the list of causes, there are some internal reasons that cannot be controlled. For this reason, it is important to be aware of these Clinical signs:

  • Swollen abdomen.
  • Anorexy.
  • Increased frequency of urination.
  • Behavior changes: the iguana constantly demands places to lay eggs.

If you suspect that your iguana suffers from this problem, visit a vet immediately. Treatment is generally the administration of calcium and oxytocin. In more severe cases with obstruction, surgical intervention may be required.

Behavior problems in iguanas

Behavior problems are one of the main reasons for abandonment of these animals. Especially in the case of male iguanas when they reach puberty, they can begin to show a more aggressive behavior for territorial reasons..

Some vets suggest neutering to reduce aggressive problemss, however, it is important to accept that this is a natural behavior of this species and that in most cases can be avoided if there is adequate space and environmental enrichment.

When it comes to picking up your iguana to take it in your arms, you should always pick it up from underneath, as if your arm were the trunk of a tree, so that it can grab onto you. Never pick it up, since the iguana could feel threatened and, as a consequence, show an aggressive attitude out of fear.

How to know if my iguana is sick?

Now that you know what are the most common diseases in iguanas, it is obvious to consider how to recognize these pathologies. Well, the best way to find out if the iguana is sick is to observe it carefully every day., pay attention to their behavior and physical condition. If for any reason your behavior changes, you stop eating, drinking, urinating or defecating, you should know that these are the first symptoms that indicate that something bad is happening.

Even when all of the above is apparently normal, the iguana may suffer from some internal problem. This is why regular vet visits are so important. Small changes may not be visible to our eyes, but they will not go unnoticed by an expert professional in these animals. Reptiles are very resistant animals and sometimes it is difficult to realize that something is not right, and when we do, it is too late.

All the care at home, the correct diet and visits to the veterinarian They are the key to preventing any of the most common diseases in green iguanas explained in the previous sections. So, don't hesitate to invest in prevention.

This article is merely informative, at we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.

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