GREEN IGUANA CARE SHEET
(R.A.R.E. INC. (716)656-7273)
Every reptile should have an initial visit as soon as possible with a qualified reptile veterinarian when first
acquired. Whether the animal is young or older, this initial step will save you hundreds of dollars and many
wasted hours of worry, when you have your pet home. Your veterinarian will thoroughly check your pet and advise
you on proper husbandry practices. Ask questions!!! In the long run, it doesn't cost to see your veterinarian,
it pays!!!!! Good luck and enjoy your fascinating pet!!
What should you look for when acquiring an iguana? How will you know when it's
sick? We cannot mention every medical condition here, but the following will give
you a basic idea of what to look out for in the future.
Every exam should start at the head and work back to the tip of the tail:
Nares (nostrils) blocked? Open mouthed breathing, bubbly?(Upper respiratory)
Can also be a sign of stress! (New enclosure,new pet in house, too noisey,too much traffic around cage?)
Overheating! Give a temperature gradient! Salt deposits are normal.If excessive, spray more often. Sores on
nose? Rubbing on enclosure? Larger enclosure, hiding spot, again stress related.
Ears- Should be clear and not swollen (very rare in iguanas) injury! See VET!
Mouth (jaws) - should be symmetrical. One side swollen? Possible Abcess! Both sides swollen? Possible MBD!
Inside of mouth should be pale pink, with deep red tipped tongue. Whitish plague? Possible mouth rot!
Lips(?) Should line up and close completely. If exposed tissue is black, keep clean and use Chapstick to keep
moisturized. May have to be done for life!! Keep food debris cleaned off as often as possible.(Warm water/gauze
Eyes- Sometimes eyes can look swollen during shedding, if its not shed skin, see VET! (Possible debris in eyelid?) Flush with saline.
Spikes-Females will usually have curved spikes, to facilitate breeding, Males have upright spikes. Spikes can
die and fall off if not shed! They do Bleed! CAREFUL!
Skin- Females will retain their bright green color except during breeding season.
Males will dull out with age. Bright orange is breeding, rusty orange usually signals renal failure.
Neutered females and males alike will retain their green!
White spots? Fungus! (Damp quarters) Black Spots? Mites or bacterial disease.
Keep clean and dry. (Occasional spraying is fine in AM)
Discoloration can also signal scar tissue from previous damage.
R.A.R.E. IGUANA CLASS MEDICAL
Parasites- (Endo-Inside) (Ecto-Outside)Ticks can be removed with blunt-nosed tweezers and put into alcohol.
Wipe area with antibacterial solution.
Mites can be removed by daily baths or use kitten spray on a clean cloth and wipe on iguana. Enclosure must
be treated!!! All wood should be discarded if possible.
Burns!- Caused by heat lamps(hot rocks) too close. Remove necrotic tissue, clean with betadine solution/water
(or Novalsan) Pat dry with gauze pad and apply a thin
layer of Silvadene creme daily. Check your heaters!!
Digits or Toes- Dry skin can constrict blood flow and cause toes to rot and fall off.
Help with shed. If toes do become necrotic, clean with betadine/water (gauze pads only!) Neoporin or
triple antibiotic ointment. SEE VET!
Nails- Keep trimmed. Iguanas can lose nails from caging, etc. No Big DEAL! Keep
Forelegs- Should look muscular NOT FAT!! Look for wounds, shed skin,etc.
All medications should be given in FRONT HALF OF BODY ONLY!!! ALWAYS REHYDRATE DAILY WHEN GIVING ANTIBIOTICS!!
(soaking, fluids-PO) (Pedialyte)(twitching, spasms etc. should indicate metabolic disease. SEE VET.
Hindlegs-Again should look muscular NOT FAT!!!(possible MBD) MBD will always affect both legs not just one!!! If
one leg looks fat, suspect abcess!! SEE VET!!
Iguanas in a relaxed position will lay with both legs stretched out behind them, this is normal, but if they do
this constantly and drag their hind legs, suspect MBD or spinal trauma, egg binding, etc. SEE VET.
Vent- Should not be caked with urates,feces,etc. Stool should be well formed and brown, urine and urates should
be whitish. If urates are hard, make water more available,spraying,soaking? If blood is seen in stool or urates,
Sometimes Males will evert their hemipenes, DO NOT PANIC! It will return to normal soon, if it doesn't
-keep moist with water soaked gauze pads and SEE VET!
Overall Condition- If you feed your iguana correctly, and it still seems too thin,
suspect parasites! Have stool checked. REMEMBER! One negative does not
make a negative, but a POSITIVE IS ALWAYS A POSITIVE!! Have a minimum of three (3) fecals within 10 days of
each other done to be sure!! SEE VET!!
R.A.R.E. IGUANA CLASS
Tail - white skin usually is unshed skin, always give them a hand! If its moist white skin, suspect fungus,
keep clean and dry. Black skin can indicate necrosis and or bacterial infection (Keep clean and dry) and sometimes should be seen by qualified vet. If tail is broken right off, (slammed in door, caging materials, other pets,etc.) keep clean with betadine(novalsan)water solution. DO NOT BANDAGE OR STITCH!! If diet and cleanliness is correct, tail will regenerate. After about two breaks, tail will not regenerate.Semi-broken tails can sometimes regenerate if splinted early enough.