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Signs of Sickness in Reptiles

July 1 2021
Have you recently adopted a reptile? One thing that’s very important is being able to spot signs of illness. This can be a bit tricky with reptiles, so you may need to do some research to know what to look for. A Bowmanville, ON vet lists some common red flags in this article.


Pay close attention to your reptile’s appearance. Changes in the color of your pet’s skin can be a warning sign, as are dulling and darkening. Sunken eyes and discoloration are also red flags. Swelling, lumps, bumps, and lesions are also signs of trouble.


Pay attention to your pet’s waste. An increase or decrease in the amount and/or frequency of your pet’s urates or feces can be a sign that something is wrong. You’ll also want to watch for changes in t color, texture, or smell.

Behavioral Issues

One reason we always recommend paying attention to your pet and observing them closely is that it makes it much easier to spot changes that could be a sign of health issues. Lethargy is one. Your pet may spend more time than usual soaking or basking. Or, they may retreat to the cooler end of the tank. They may also seem active at odd hours. You may notice more or less tongue flicking. Aggression is another warning sign, though this can be normal around mating times. Changes in appetite are another concern. You may also notice swelling, drooling, or trouble getting up or walking.

Shedding Issues

Most of the time, reptiles shed their skins naturally. However, occasionally their wardrobe changes don’t go as smoothly as planned. Shedding issues can both indicate and cause medical issues, so it’s important to monitor sheds carefully. Erratic shedding schedules are one red flag. You’ll also want to watch for incomplete sheds, and sheds that just seem to be taking too long.


In some cases, injuries are very visible. If you see a wound or a broken limb, it’s clear that your pet needs medical attention right away. However, sometimes the signs are more subtle. Some indications of injuries include trembling, limping, and lethargy. Your reptilian pal may sit with their mouth open, or have trouble climbing.  Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns about caring for your reptile. As your local Bowmanville, ON  veterinary clinic, we’re always here for you.

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