Veterinary Care for Reptiles

June 28, 2021

Did you know that reptiles like snakes and turtles, among others, are pets in about 1.8 million households in the United States? Studies about human-animal connections usually focus on bonds between people and canines. Today, though, a wide range of other animals have found their way into the hearts of pet lovers.

For many people, owning a reptile is a lot easier than having a mammal. With the former, you wouldn't have to worry about allergies, loud barking, daily walks, mess, or smelly litter box. But like any pet, you have to provide them with excellent veterinary care. 


Why You Should See Your Vet Regularly


Your reptile may not require any vaccination, but a regular checkup is necessary at least once a year to ensure that your pet is well-nourished and free from diseases. Not all reptiles are cared for as household pets from the moment they hatch. For this reason, you must visit your veterinarian for an initial assessment.

Your first appointment will establish a record of your pet in its prime condition. The data collected will be extremely valuable if medical issues develop later. Several diseases in reptiles require veterinary attention. These include metabolic bone disease, paralysis of the rear legs, nose abrasions, and thermal injuries. You must also bring your pet to the vet if they have bacterial or viral infections or have been infested with parasites. 


What Happens During Their Health Check


Vets generally follow their own protocols when doing routine examinations. Most of them recommend a series of tests to determine the health status of your pet. These often include a physical exam, which usually involves palpating different parts of your pet's body. This way, they can check for any abnormalities. It also allows them to note any changes that have occurred since your last visit that may warrant additional testing. A physical exam lets your vet collect information regarding your pet's general appearance, weight, and activity level. Your vet may also ask about your pet reptile's diet and recent medical history.


Their checkup may also include a blood test, analysis of fecal matter, microbiological test, and radiological test. Your vet can perform most of these tests on your pet while they remain conscious. But there are cases when short-acting sedatives may be necessary to decrease your pet's stress level. This option largely depends on the species of your pet reptile, their temperament, and the tests to be carried out. 


How to Detect Signs of Illness


Unlike humans, reptiles cannot produce a true fever. However, you'll notice that when they are suffering from a bacterial infection, they tend to move to warmer areas in their environment. This is called behavioral fever. If your pet reptile is sick, you need to help improve their immune response by housing them at a temperature close to the upper limit preferred by their species. Assisted feeding or increasing your rate of feeding may be necessary for higher metabolic rates in your pet reptile with no appetite. You should also consider giving them more fluids to help them fight off the infection. 


Are you interested in getting a leopard gecko, bearded dragon, or giant iguana? Learn more about their proper upkeep with The Vet In Springboro. Call our office today in Springboro, Ohio, at (937) 748-6363 to schedule your consultation.

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