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If you are responsible for the care of a green iguana, learning about healthcare needs should be a top priority for you. If your iguana is sick or injured, you will want to know how to help him as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Here are some common ailments your green iguana may suffer from during his lifetime.
Green iguanas can be affected by parasites, both internal and external. Symptoms of internal parasites include loss of appetite, bloating, vomiting, sudden weight loss, sluggish movements, and constipation. Internal parasites should be treated by a veterinarian, who will generally prescribe a regimen of oral or injected medication.
Mites are external parasites that often afflict green iguanas. They are tiny (a few millimeters in diameter) and difficult to spot. Mites will attach themselves to your pet, bore through his skin, and suck his blood. If many mites are present, they can work together and quickly drain a significant amount of blood, causing a lack of appetite in your pet and a weakening of his immune system. Because of the severity of the consequences of mites, if you think your pet is infected you will need to act quickly.
There are three ways to rid your green iguana of mites. First, try thoroughly bathing him, paying particular attention to the eyes, nostrils, vents, and skin folds, and housing him in a separate terrarium while you clean his home. When cleaning the terrarium, dispose of the substrate, any live plants, and other furnishings that are able to be thrown away. Any items that are kept should be wrapped in aluminum foil and placed in the oven at 275°F for two to three hours. Next, soak the terrarium in a bleach solution, letting it soak for 18 to 24 hours. Then, thoroughly rinse it and air it out.
Another method green iguana owners use to rid their pet of mites is to dip him in cooking oil (vegetable, olive, etc.). Dip him quickly, making sure his whole body is covered. Soak up any oil that remain on him, using a towel. Then, place him in a separate terrarium and clean the tank as detailed above.
One final option is to take your pet to the veterinarian. She will prescribe a mite killer that will usually need to be sprayed on both the iguana and his terrarium. This treatment should soon eradicate all mites from your dragon and his home.
Injuries are common for reptiles, probably more so than disease. Burns from a heating lamp or ceramic heater are one of the most common injuries. While some burns are minor and cause only discoloration or blistering of the skin and scales, and other burns can produce open, bleeding wounds, all burns should be seen by a vet. They must be treated for both external and internal (muscular damage) wounds and infections. Most reptile burn victims will require antibiotic injections and topical salves for a complete recovery. The best way to avoid burns is to make sure your iguana does not have direct access to a heating source.
Metabolic Bone Disease
Metabolic bone disease is caused by inadequate exposure to ultraviolet light. This ailment is painful and eventually debilitating for the lizard. Symptoms include soft jaws that are bent outward, difficulty walking, limbs that are crooked or bent, swollen thighs that are hard to the touch, and trembling or convulsing. This disease is easily prevented by allowing your green iguana to soak up enough ultraviolet rays so they can efficiently metabolize calcium and synthesize vitamin D3, which will keep their bones and teeth strong and healthy.