Mouth rot is a bacterial condition that often occurs in combination with other inflictions. Every condition that diminishes the function of the immune system can cause mouth rot. Mouth rot can occur in combination with food-related diseases, infections, dystocia or stress. Bad living conditions and wrong temperatures can also cause this infliction. It occurs less with Iguanas then with other reptiles. Mouth rot can result in a series of local bone inflammations, infected roots and blood poisoning. In some cases it can even lead to pneumonia.


In general mouth rot responds very well to mouth toilet* and Nolvasan-rincing in combination with a wide-spectrum antibiotic for both the gram-positive as gram-negative bacteria.

The use of antibiotics can cause a disturbance in the flora of the mouth which can complicate the infection by adding a fungi-infection. By performing a bacteriological examination with an antibiogram from fluid or better even from material retrieved from the wound, it can be determined whether the right antibiotics are being used. The prospects of healing are dependant on the spread of the infection, the cause and the effectiveness of the treatment.

*when the reptile has mouth rot you have to remove all the dead tissue, the pus and the loose teeth. With snakes the beak is rinsed with a hydrogen solution of 3%. Afterwards the wounds are smeared with an antibiotic ointment. Then the animal has to be put on systemic antibiotics.

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.
Source: Dr. Marja Kik, veterinarian for reptiles