Content Logo
The Iguana Den





IMPORTANT: These pages on health are meant to be general guides, not hard and fast rules. They were not written by vets and are NO SUBSTITUTE for veterinary care. If you suspect something is wrong with your iguana, PLEASE see a qualified veterinarian!

What to Ask the Vet

First things first...

Be sure to find a Vet to care for your iguana BEFORE you need the vet in an emergency!! Also, Have a back up vet!!

Things to Ask your Vet

When trying to find a Vet to help your iguana with general care/health issues and in times of an emergency, you need to KNOW that your Vet KNOWS iguanas well.

If your Vet doesn't come recommended by someone that has used him/her then you need to be SURE they KNOW the "right stuff" Some general care questions can give you a good idea on the Vet's knowledge and how he or she has kept up on iguana information.

Simple questions such as:

What foods do you recommend? Dark leafy greens with added veggies and some fruits.

Do iguanas really need UVB and why?
yes, they need it to be able to
absorb the calcium in the foods they eat
Do you recommend heat rocks? NO!, They can and do cause very serious burns
How big will my ig get? with good care you can expect near 5 foot to over 6 foot from tip of nose to tip of tail
Is animal protein ok for my ig? no, an iguana's kidneys and other organs cannot process animal proteins
Are you a member of the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians? Its nice when the answer is yes, but, keep in mind that in many cases, experience is the best teacher and learning tool.

Once your Vet either passes or fails this "little test", you will either be looking for a new vet, or asking him/her harder questions such as:

How many iguanas on an average do you see in a month? (this will vary with where you are located)
Who covers for you when you are not available?
Is your office available 24 hours a day for emergencies?
Have you ever spayed an iguana? How many? results?
Do you recommend yearly bloodwork on my iguana?( keep an eye on anything that can possibly be developing)
References to other owners?(they should be very willing to share this, or offer to have the owners contact you)

Now that all that is out of the way..and your Vet has passed your test completely...

When you have your iguana there for a checkup:
Is the office clean?
Are there separate areas for housing reptiles that may need to stay for surgeries/testing?
Is proper heat provided in those areas?

Be sure to ask about getting some blood work done. This is important as that it is the only "true" test on your iguanas health.This generally cannot be done on a very young ig... more towards a yr or so. With all igs, a fecal exam is a must!! This should be done at least yearly!

Keep in mind that for a Vet to refer to him/herself as a "specialist" they must have trained extensively in that area and have taken an exam and passed in each species.

Things to let your Vet know:
If your iguana is eating less...more( variety of things)
Foul smelling stools(parasites,intestinal upset)
No Stools (blockage, dehydration, other problems)
Stools that are looser than normal(parasites,intestinal upsets)
Iguana breaking its normal pottying habits
More wrinkles on his/her body(dehydration)
Loosing balance when climbing (early mbd or other illness,broken bones)

Falling (as above)
Lumps, bumps that are there, or may have changed
Odd behavior(circling,head tilting,awkward movements)these can be signs of brain
Drinking more or less water(illness, gravid, other)
Wanting to lay in cooler or warmer area all the time(varied things)
Laying in water pan all the time(gravid, other)

Straining to go to the bathroom
Uncontrolled bleeding
Distressed breathing
Lethargic / Unresponsive
Cold feeling when they are under their basking area
Anything that you aren't sure is an an emergency!! A call to your Vet can verify if you need to take your iguana in to be seen asap.



© 2002 - PurpleDragon Website Design