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Iguanas/Leg Injury


Hello, I have an 10-12 year old Iguana (I've had him 9 years, not sure how old he was when I rescued him) named Darby that recently took a hard fall (I think) and injured his leg. I noticed he was dragging his hind leg and upon further inspection both his leg and foot appear to be quite swollen. I took him to his vet and the X-rays didn't show any clear sign of a fracture (maybe a possible dislocation but she wasn't too sure of that, and didn't seem eager to do anything about that specifically yet). She just gave him a painkiller shot and some anti-inflammatory medication to take home, along with some vitamins to help ease the shock of the medications on his system. She recommended increasing the temps and humidity as part of the treatment plan, which I have done, but I'm wondering if there is anything else I can do. He seems to be eating enough, though his appetite has decreased. Anything I can do to make him more comfortable? Would immobilizing the leg make any difference (in his pain and discomfort mostly)? Is this something that has a good chance of healing on its own if hes just left alone to recover in a warm humid enclosure? Thanks!

Hi Bradley,
Sorry about Darby's fall.  I would greatly limit his climbing to give the leg a chance to heal.
I don't feel that immobilizing the leg would may be best for him to limit how he uses it. Make sure that you have a good source of UVB..if the uvb source is more than 6-9 months old, I would change it.  If you are able to get him outdoors for real, unfiltered sunshine that will benefit him greatly also.
You don't want to make the entire enclosure too warm..don't overheat the basking area but raise the ambient temp a few degrees..keep the cool area cool and give him access to a warmer area at night if he chooses to use it, then it will be his choice but do watch because many times they will seek the cooler areas when injured.  Cooler temps makes their organs slow time to heal..its their natural instinct but sometimes that isn't the best for them.  They need to have the good/normal blood flow to bones/joints.
To read more on proper uvb and temps, please check some of my previous answers which I've included a care sheet.
With the slowing on eating, that can be caused by the meds, stress or pain.  When meds are given, it generally decreases their much needed gut bacteria.  When this is decreased, they don't they don't want to eat. Using one of the products below won't cause any harm, even if the gut bacteria is fine.  It is basically like use eating yogurt.
To replenish the needed gut bacteria you can use one of the following products.. bene bac...labeled for birds, approved for reptiles. nutri bac acidolophliz+ or plain, human grade Acidophilus...... one capsule will dose for at least 2 days. most often 3-4 days of treatment is recommended but there is no problem with giving for a longer period of time on any of the products. They can also be given on a regular basis 2-3 times a week. BeneBac ..most larger pet stores should carry it...especially if they have birds... Acidophiliz+ I think Pets Mart carries it..if not....on line at

If, in a few days, there is no improvement, or if he gets worse then another vet visit is needed. If you feel you need a 2nd opinion from a different vet, you can check out the following links to find a vet in your area that can treat reptiles.


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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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