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Iguanas/Iguana injury


QUESTION: I have a green iguana. I have no idea how old she is but I'm guessing probably about 15 years old. She has recently jumped from the top of her cage to the bottom. When she did this she managed to split her lower lip. It bleed a little bit and then scabbed over. That happened about 2 months ago. A couple days ago, Chloe jumped to the bottom of her cage a hit her lip again. When she did this, the injury from before reopened and began swelling. Today, she did it again. Now the cut it swollen and is now a large angry lump on the side of her lower lip. What can I do to treat my poor baby. It looks awful.

ANSWER: Hi Gracie,
It sounds like she may have fractured the bone in that area which of course needs a vet to do an x ray to confirm.  Does the bone seem to move unevenly on her bottom "jaw" front?  If yes, all the more reason for the x ray.
In the meantime, you can was the area with diluted betadine or generic equivalent.  Dilute to the color of a weak tea.  You can also apply some antibiotic ointment.  With the swelling, that is most likely causing her to not want to eat so hand feeding or syringe feeding will be necessary.  If the swelling does not go down, or gets worse, or if you see any signs of infection,or if the jaw looks/feels broken then a vet is needed immediately.  Personally, if it were my ig I would get her into the vet to check the injury out.
Also, you really do need to place some pillows on the floor of her cage to prevent further damage.  Since she is jumping, I'm guessing she no longer feels secure climbing down to the bottom.  If you are using a branch for a climbing branch, you might want to change to closest shelving for a ramp, in addition to the pillows on the floor.

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QUESTION: Thank you so very much for responding to my question so quickly. I do not believe that she has broken anything. Her eating habits have not been affected in any way whatsoever. She still eats very well and the cut does not seem to be causing her any pain.  She has split her lower lip. She is housed in a commercially made black metal cage that has two platforms at different levels on opposite sides of the cage. She basks on the top platform. There is a metal ramp that goes to the lower platform where she goes to eat. She will use this ramp. There is another ramp that goes from the lower ramp to the ground. This is the ramp that she will not use. I have had her for about 6 years now. She has never used this ramp. She will dangle her back legs from the top platform she that she is face first to the ground. She will then drop to the ground. At one time, I removed the ramp and replaced it with a branch in hopes that she would use the branch instead of jumping. However, she would not use it either. For a while, I had removed it also that way she had a clear path to fall. However, this seemed mean to me since it left her no choice but to fall. I then put the ramp back in the cage. She has never hurt herself in all the years I have had her until 2 months ago. She fell from the top to the bottom and she hit her mouth on the ramp. She had a small cut on her lower lip and the left side of her face. It was about the size a the fingernail of a pinkie finger. A week ago, she fell again and reopened the cut. It bleed and swelled a little bit. Yesterday, she did it again. Now the cut is about the size a of thumbnail. The older part of the cut is dark and scabbed over. Underneath that, the newest part is swollen and red/pink. I am concerned about putting any ointment directly on her lip and how it will affect her if she ingests it. Is it safe to apply anything so close to her mouth? As far as the pillow suggestion, I am not certain if it will work for us. Chloe is about 2 feet long from snout to vent. This is not including her tail. She uses the bathroom in the bottom of her cage so a pillow in the bottom of her cage would get soiled daily. Once again, thank you very much for answering my question so quickly.

ANSWER: Hi Gracie,
Whew!! glad to hear that there isn't a break and that she is eating!!! Don't you love how they do things..IE: not using a ramp...
With her age, her balance nor aim probably is starting to change and with that, she is most likely landing differently now. I would again remove the ramp...or is there any way possible to pad the ramp that she is hitting? If the ramp has a lip or sides of sort, using the foam insulation for pipes can work, of course the foam would need to be covered with duct tape or something.  Also, hanging lots of sisal ropes of a fair thickness can give her something to grab onto if she goes to fall. On the pillow... how about using those puppy training pads on top of the pillow?  That will keep the pillow clean and if she poops on it, the pad will absorb. If worse comes to worse, again, with her age, you may have to make her cage a bit lower so she doesn't fall/jump so far.  As they become older we need to find ways to keep them safe in their homes..which sometimes it really makes us have to think of ways to modify their cages.
With rubbing in the NEOSPORIN OINTMENT, it is not toxic...if she licks it, it might make her loose but you are using a very small amount, rubbed in well.
Of course if the swelling doesn't not start to go down, or if it gets worse, the vet is needed.

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QUESTION: I would have never thought about foam insulation. That's brilliant! :-)  The swelling is already going down. Thankfully. It is funny they way they are sometimes. Chloe is such a diva. Everytime I clean her change or move anything around, even as simple as cleaning her water bowl, she gets huffy. She will push decorations out of her way. From time to time she will knock her food to the ground. Full on diva mode. She has never been aggressive at any point. Anyways, thanks for the help. You have been awesome. Any chance you have knowledge about uromastyxs?Lol.

I tend to think outside the box a lot of  I do want to commend you for having an iguana that is doing so well at 15 yrs of age!! She sounds like a sweetheart for sure. So happy to hear the swelling is going down!!
With two of my igs I have to have their food dish inside a large, heavy, upside down critter cave to prevent them from knocking their dish to the floor.
Sorry, my knowledge is very limited on the uros, they need uvb, very high temps, large cages, and their diet is the same as the iguanas.. Iguanas, leopard geckos and bearded dragons are the questions I can answer...also some other lizard species, but not as in depth as the ones I mentioned.


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I am well versed in all aspects of the care and keeping of green iguanas. This includes all husbandry issues pertaining to the Green Iguana. I am not a vet so I cannot answer medical questions, other than ideas for normal supplementation, removing stuck shed, dropped tail and mites and other general health questions


I own 3 green iguanas, two of which are rescues. I've had my Iguanas for 11 years. I own a yahoo group dedicated to raising healthy iguanas. I've rescued and rehabbed several young iguanas and have placed them in wonderful forever homes. I prefer taking in the "hard cases" that need critical care.

Scales and Tails Exotic Pet Rescue (one of the founding members)

One of the Co Authors of the Book "The Iguana Dens Care and Keeping of Giant Green Iguanas"

I was a vet tech for a small animal practice for 6 years.

Past/Present Clients
I own a yahoo group dedicated to raising healthy iguanas.(babyiguana) I have answered several Iguana questions on the "reptile" forum on here.

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