Would you like to learn more about reptile information such as common reptile medicines? Here we provide a resource for the reptile community about reptile healthcare including common reptile illnesses, medications, and proper medication dosing.
Common Reptile Illnesses
Respiratory Infections: Reptiles and amphibians can develop respiratory infections caused by bacteria, fungi, or parasites. Symptoms include wheezing, nasal discharge, open mouth breathing, and lethargy.
Metabolic Bone Disease: This condition occurs when reptiles and amphibians have a deficiency of calcium and vitamin D3, leading to weak and deformed bones. Signs include soft or brittle bones, swollen joints, and difficulty moving.
Parasite Infestations: Internal and external parasites, such as mites, ticks, worms, and protozoa, can affect reptiles and amphibians. Infestations can lead to weight loss, poor appetite, skin irritation, and gastrointestinal issues.
Mouth Rot: Also known as infectious stomatitis, this condition affects the mouth and gums of reptiles. It is commonly caused by poor husbandry, leading to bacterial or fungal infections. Symptoms include swollen or discolored gums, mouth ulcers, and excessive saliva.
Skin Infections: Reptiles and amphibians are susceptible to various skin infections caused by bacteria or fungi. Symptoms may include skin discoloration, lesions, blisters, or shedding problems.
Nutritional Deficiencies: Inadequate diet and improper supplementation can lead to nutritional deficiencies in reptiles and amphibians. Common deficiencies include lack of vitamin A, vitamin B, or essential minerals, which can result in various health issues.
Egg Retention: Female reptiles and amphibians may experience difficulties laying eggs, leading to egg retention. This condition can be caused by inadequate nesting areas, calcium deficiencies, or reproductive complications.
Dehydration: Insufficient water intake or low humidity levels can cause dehydration in reptiles and amphibians. Signs of dehydration include sunken eyes, wrinkled skin, lethargy, and reduced appetite.
Overheating: Reptiles are ectothermic, meaning they rely on external heat sources to regulate their body temperature. Overheating can occur if the ambient temperature or basking spot becomes too high, leading to heat stress or organ failure.
Fungal Infections: Moreover, reptiles and amphibians are susceptible to fungal infections, particularly in their skin and respiratory system. Consequently, symptoms include abnormal shedding, discolored patches on the skin, and respiratory difficulties.
Please note that this is not an exhaustive list; furthermore, it’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian specializing in reptiles and amphibians for accurate diagnosis and treatment of any health concerns. By seeking professional guidance, you can ensure the best care and appropriate interventions for your reptile’s specific needs.
This comprehensive list serves as a general guide; however, it is important to note that each reptile is unique, and their responses to medications can vary, even among individuals of the same species. Therefore, it is always advisable to consult a veterinarian before administering any medication to your reptile companion.
- Brand Name: Metacam
- Scientific Name: Meloxicam
- Meloxicam is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to reduce pain and inflammation in reptiles.
- Applicable Species: Used in a variety of reptiles including turtles, tortoises, snakes, and lizards.
- Dosage: 0.2 mg/kg every 24-48 hours orally or by injection.
- Brand Name: Baytril
- Scientific Name: Enrofloxacin
- This is a broad-spectrum antibiotic used for treating a wide range of bacterial infections in reptiles.
- Applicable Species: Broadly used across many reptile species, including snakes, turtles, tortoises, and various types of lizards.
- Dosage: 5-10 mg/kg every 24-48 hours by injection.
- Brand Name: Flagyl
- Scientific Name: Metronidazole
- Metronidazole is often used to treat protozoan and anaerobic bacterial infections in reptiles.
- Applicable Species: Often used in turtles, tortoises, snakes, and lizards.
- Dosage: 20 mg/kg every 48 hours orally or by injection.
- Brand Name: Stromectol, Heartgard
- Scientific Name: Ivermectin
- Ivermectin is typically used for the treatment of various parasitic infections, including mites and worms. However, it must be used with caution as some reptiles, particularly turtles and tortoises, can be sensitive to this medication.
- Applicable Species: Commonly used in snakes and lizards but should be used with caution in turtles and tortoises as they can be sensitive to this medication.
- Dosage: 0.2 mg/kg topically or by injection.
- Brand Name: Droncit, Biltricide
- Scientific Name: Praziquantel
- Praziquantel is a drug used to treat a variety of internal and external parasitic infections.
- Applicable Species: Used in a variety of reptiles including snakes, lizards, turtles, and tortoises.
- Dosage: 5-25 mg/kg orally or by injection.
- Brand Name: Vibramycin, Monodox
- Scientific Name: Doxycycline
- This antibiotic is often used for treating bacterial infections, including respiratory infections, in reptiles.
- Applicable Species: Broadly used across many reptile species, including turtles, tortoises, snakes, and lizards.
- Dosage: 5 mg/kg every 24-72 hours orally or by injection.
- Brand Name: Fortaz, Tazicef
- Scientific Name: Ceftazidime
- A potent antibiotic used to treat serious bacterial infections, often used when other antibiotics are not effective.
- Applicable Species: Used across a variety of reptile species.
- Dosage: 20-40 mg/kg every 72 hours by injection.
- Brand Name: Zyloprim, Aloprim
- Scientific Name: Allopurinol
- Allopurinol is used in the management of gout or kidney stones in reptiles, especially in reptiles with high uric acid levels.
- Applicable Species: Primarily used in reptiles such as turtles and tortoises that are prone to develop high uric acid levels but can also be used in snakes and lizards.
- Dosage: 10-20 mg/kg daily orally.
- Brand Name: Panacur, Safeguard
- Scientific Name: Fenbendazole
- An antiparasitic medication, Fenbendazole is used to treat various internal parasites such as worms.
- Applicable Species: Often used in lizards, snakes, turtles, and tortoises.
- Dosage: 25-50 mg/kg orally, repeated in 2 weeks.
- Note: Fenbendazole can be deadly if given to a septic patient.
DHR bears no responsibility for the misuse of the information on this page. The use of such information is at your own risk. Always consult a professional veterinarian before treating animals.
- Mader, D. R., & Divers, S. J. (2014). Current Therapy in Reptile Medicine and Surgery. Elsevier Health Sciences.
- Plumb, D. C. (2018). Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook: Pocket. John Wiley & Sons.
- Carpenter, J. W. (2018). Exotic animal formulary. Elsevier Health Sciences.
- Clinical Procedures for Reptiles – Stephen J. Divers, BVetMed, DACZM, DECZM, FRCVS, Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia.
- Bacterial Diseases of Reptiles – Stephen J. Divers, BVetMed, DACZM, DECZM, FRCVS, Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia.