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Savannah monitors tend to be hardy, healthy lizards. They are not as commonly affected by health problems as many other reptiles often kept as pets. However, there are certain ailments that occur more often than others that every pet owner should be aware of. You can find out more about them below.
While many health issues can be taken care of at home, it is a good idea to find a veterinarian that specialized in reptiles, in case of emergency. In fact, it is best to find a vet as soon as possible (preferably before you even bring your monitor home for the first time) so you won’t have to waste any precious time when an emergency arises. Locating a vet that specializes in reptiles can be challenging. If you’re having trouble, check with local pet stores, animal shelters, or herpetological societies, and they may be able to help. You can also visit www.arav.org, the site for the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians.
Savannah monitors 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 savannah monitors. 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 savannah monitor 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 savannah monitor 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 remains 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 monitor and his terrarium. This treatment should soon eradicate all mites from your pet 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.