Knowing about the most common reptilian health problems can enable a pet owner to prevent such problems and/or deal with them before they become worse. Following is an overview of the four most common reptile health problems as well as information on how to prevent and take care of each one.

  1. Septicemia

Septicemia can be secondary to a parasite infection, environmental stress, an abscess and/or trauma. Common symptoms include trouble breathing, fatigue, convulsions and loss of muscular control. Some reptiles die of this illness fairly quickly; others are sick for a long time before passing on.

Thankfully, this condition can be prevented by keeping a pet’s environment clean at all times and not exposing a pet reptile to another reptile that may have this condition.  This can also be prevented by not leaving mice in the aquarium if they are not being eaten right away.  Even so, pet owners who notice the above mentioned symptoms in their pet should bring it in for treatment as soon as possible, as prescription antibiotics are needed to get rid of the problem.

  1. Mouthrotturtle_mouth

As the name implies, mouth rot occurs when bacteria accumulates in the oral mucous membrane. Lack of proper care and an infected  injury about the snout/mouth area are the most common causes of this disease. Symptoms include red, inflamed lips, gums and mouth. Veterinary treatment should be sought at the onset of these symptoms.

The way to prevent this condition is to ensure that a reptile’s vivarium is clean and the right temperature at all times. It is also important to ensure the habitat is not too humid.

  1. chameleon_shedDisecdysis

Snakes and lizards shed their skin on a regular basis. However, Disecdysis can occur when the skin is not fully shed in a timely manner. In some cases, bands of unshed skin can cause tissue death; in other cases, infection develops under patches of dead, unshed skin. Common symptoms of Disecdysis include red, irritated areas under unshed skin, pus and wrinkled areas next to a reptile’s eyes.

Disecdysis can in some cases be treated without professional help. A pet owner can spray or soak the reptile for 10 to 15 minutes and then attempt to gently peel the skin away. If the unshed skin is near the eyes, then an artificial tears ointment should be used. However, professional help should be sought if these DIY measures do not work.

To avoid problems with Disecdysis, a pet owner should ensure that a reptile’s home is sufficiently humid at all times. It is also important to provide a pet lizard or snake with a clean surface on which to rub off shedding skin.

  1. Colds and Respiratory Infections

The common cold can cause many more problems for reptiles than it would for mammal pets and their human owners. Common symptoms of a cold include coughing, weeping eyes, wheezing and sneezing. A respiratory infection can set in if the cold is not treated soon enough and/or if the reptile has a compromised immune system. Hermann's tortoise, isolated on whitePet owners should make an appointment to see a veterinarian if the cold does not go away on its own within a few days’ time.

Because colds in reptiles are not easy to treat, it is important to prevent them at all costs. This is done by keeping a pet’s habitat at an even temperature and humidity level and preventing the room from becoming drafty.

Anyone who owns or is considering purchasing a reptile pet will want to be aware of the four common health problems outlined above. Knowing the symptoms and how to prevent each of these conditions can mean the difference between a healthy, happy reptilian pet and one that passes on much sooner than planned.

It is also important to stay in touch with a reliable veterinary clinic that can offer timely treatment as the need arises. Those who have questions regarding reptile pet care, need a regular check-up for a pet and/or have noticed the above mentioned symptoms in a pet should be sure to contact Banning Vet for an appointment as soon as possible.

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