Reptiles are becoming more and more popular as pets. Some of the more common reptiles kept as pets include lizards, geckoes, snakes and turtles. Some people even have pet crocodiles. Reptiles cannot be treated under a blanket list as each species is very different and has different needs and health care. Before purchasing a reptile, it is important to research their requirements and needs so that they can live long, healthy lives. Most of the illnesses treated by vets are preventable and are caused through elements being missing in their diet or environment.

Preventative check-ups

Reptiles don’t show illness and disease in the same way as cats and dogs do. By the time you notice that your reptile appears unwell, the illness is quite advanced. This means that preventative health exams are even more important. These health examinations usually make use of diagnostic tests and physical examinations to check for potential illness or disease. The sooner these are diagnoses, the better the chance for recovery.

New pet assessment

We recommend bringing your new reptile in for assessment so we can assist in checking for illness and abnormalities. Some diseases can spread quickly and if you already have other reptiles you may expose them to the illness or disease from your new pet if they are not checked out before you take them home. If this is your first reptile, we can also assist with advice on care, habitat and potential health issues your new pet may experience. We recommend that you have your reptiles checked out at least twice a year to improve the chances of finding problems before they become potentially fatal. It is important to give us information on the enclosure and diet and if possible, bring in a faecal sample for examination.  If you have a turtle, a sample of the tank water (around 500mls) will also help improve diagnosis.

Common tests

Faecal examinations are done to check for the presence of parasites, yeast and bacteria levels.

A swab is done in the mouth to check for parasites, yeasts and bacteria levels.

Blood samples may be taken to check for anaemia, inflammation and infection.

A blood sample may also be done to check calcium levels, blood sugar, electrolyte levels and liver or kidney function.

Signs of Illness
  • Lethargy, slow or no movement
  • Moving abnormally or not moving one or more limbs
  • Behavioural changes such as increased aggression
  • Changes in appetite or not eating at all
  • Change in consistency or colour of faeces
  • Loss of weight
  • Hiding away more than usual
  • Swellings, inflammation, bleeding, wounds
  • Discharge from vent, mouth, eyes or nostrils

It is vitally important that your reptiles get treatment as soon as possible when they show signs of illness as they are likely to be critically ill at that stage.  Preventative health checks are important to the long term health of your pet. We are available to assist in the care of your pet as well as to offer advice on their diet and environment to prevent certain diseases such as MBD.