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Herp Health
I am not a vetrinarian (though I have studied reptiles and amphibians for most of my life now), so to ensure that you get only the most accurate information, I only post health information on problems I have dealt with personally with my pets or am very familiar with in some way.

Jump to a specific issue:
Dropped Tails - Metabolic Bone Disease/Calcium Deficiency - Nose Rubbing/Wounded Nose - Obesity - Starvation/Thinness


Dropped Tail

Symptons: Pet's tail came off

Pets may drop their tails because they were picked up by them or because they are under stress. Depending on what type of animal it is, their tail may or may not grow back. When the crested gecko loses it tail, it does not grow but is replaced by a tiny tail stub. When the leopard gecko, however, loses it tail it will grow a new one.

Solution: You don't need to do anything for a dropped tail. Just let nature run its course. Just watch it and make sure it does not get infected. The tail should heal in about a month.




Metabolic Bone Disease/Calcium Deficiency
Symptons: Lethargy, kinky tails, deformed jaw, floppy tail, brittle bones

Metabolic Bone Disease, which is caused by calcium deficiency is one of the most common problems in pet reptiles and amphibians. It is caused by a lack of calcium supplement in the pet's diet and/or lack of UV light.

Breeding females are more likely to get MBD because of the calcium they use up producing eggs. Calcium supplement should always be regularly given to breeding females.

If not treated, calcium deficiency can result in death.

Solution: Add a calcium supplement to the pet's diet. If you are already supplementing, increase the amount. Add a UV light.

The disfigurments caused by calcium defiency will probably not fix themselves, though kinky tails may straighten themselves out slightly over time.

Females that have had calcium deficiency should not be bred or should be bred with great caution, because of the calcium they will use up producing eggs.

All reptiles and amphibians that have had a previous calcium deficiency are more likely to get MBD again.




Nose Rubbing/Wounded Nose

Symptons: Wounded nose, snout abrasion, rubbing nose against the wall of their terrarium

Reptiles and amphibians will rub their snouts against the glass out of boredom or desire to escape. This can cause abrasions on the rubbed area.

Solution: Provide the animal with a larger or more interesting terrarium. Is there a reason the animal would want to get out? Is it hungry? Look around and see if the animal is trying to get out because it sees something. Is your pet cat watching them? Do they see another pet in a terrarium across from them? If so, fix the problem.

Once the animal has stopped rubbing its nose, the wounds from doing so should heal. You can help them along with antibotics like neosporin. Note that some people have said that neosporin can be toxic if swallowed, so do not put neosporin on the snout of an animal such as the gecko who can and will lick its face. You might use peroxide on larger lizards, but I don't think it would be good on a frogs skin. Make sure, however, that you clean the affected area with a damp rag before putting anything on it.

I would not recommend bandages and I would recommend not doing anything for small skiddish lizards like the anole. Trying to do so would probably cause more harm than good and nature should run its course.





Symptons: Much fatter than the average specimen

Pets like the white's tree frog are prone to obesity as are others, but some animals are just plain overfed. You may have obtained an overfed animal or have overfed your own. Obesity is not good.

Solution: Slowly start making your pet's feedings smaller. Do not stop feeding them entirely, just cut it back and offer lots of water. Also give them exercise. If it is animal such as a bearded dragon, take them out and let them run around. Make sure their terrarium is large enough for them to move around and interesting enough that they will want to explore it.

Also make sure you're not feeding your pet a diet that's too high in sugars.

Pet should slowly lose their excess weight.





It is sad to say, that many pets in the pet store are starving to death - often because of overcrowding and/or improper care.

Symptons: Thinness, lethargy, weakness

Solution: You must make sure that this pet is eating. Feed it the proper foods with a calcium supplement. Feed it often, until it stops eating or it is too much for a given feeding. Waxworms can help thin animals put on weight quickly because the amount of fat they contain. Feed waxworms generously, but do not forget to add the calcium supplement! Variety is good.

After a time, you should notice that your pet is putting on weight. If it does not, the problem could be parasites or something else and you might consider bringing your animal to an experienced herp vet.


If you have any questions whatsoever regarding the information on this page, do not hesitate to e-mail me at