A bacterial bone infection can often be found in Iguanas of all ages and often accords with gout. Injuries as bite marks from another Iguana, or a bacterial infection can cause an infection of the bone. The cause of this infection is not fully known.

How to recognise a bone infection?

Infected Iguanas often become generally sick, and because of this, have a tendency to eat less and become stressed. The immune system of the Iguana can be weakened, grampositive as well as –negative bateria and fungi can be present. Soft tissue can be swollen. The long bones, the spine, toes and lower jaw are generally the places a bone inflammation can occur. Other than with mammals, an x-ray of reptiles will only partially show the changes on bone-marrow and bark.


Bone imflammation will usually react very well on a correct antibioticum, combined with a good hygiene and keeping the optimal temperature in the terrarium. Most effective is medication that both fights the grampositive as –negative bacteria. Harder to heal cases could use a surgical woundtoilet. Dead tissue has to be removed and infected bone has to be cleaned. You may start a bacteriological exam of the gathered substance. In very serious cases, or when the treatment does not help, amputation of toes or limbs may be necessary.

Author, Evert Henningheim

Elliot R. Jacobson, DVM, PhD, DACZM (2003) Biology, Husbandry, and Medicine of the Green Iguana. Original edition., Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida, USA.
Mader, D. R. (2006) Reptile Medicine and Surgery. 2nd ed., Saunders/Elsevier, St. Louis, USA.

Source: Dr. Marja Kik, veterinarian for reptiles