Understanding Your Pet's Needs
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Understanding Your Pet's Needs

After my pet had a long, drawn-out battle with cancer, I realized that I needed to do a better job with understanding my pet's needs. I wanted to be there for them no matter what, so I started focusing on my other animals. They needed more love, attention, and medical care, so I focused on those things. I started taking them in for regular checkups and working on their physical appearance. I was able to spot a few other potentially catastrophic health conditions with my animals because of my actions. This blog is all about understanding your pet's needs.


Understanding Your Pet's Needs

3 Things Lizard Owners Need To Know About Scale Rot

Gisele Pereira

Scale rot, also called ulcerative dermatitis or necrotic dermatitis, is a serious disease that can affect pet lizards. If left untreated, scale rot can kill your pet. Here are three things lizard owners need to know about scale rot.

What are the signs of scale rot?

When scale rot first develops, you'll see small blisters on your lizard's body. You may also notice discoloration on their ventral scales, which are the scales on their abdomens. If the disease is allowed to progress, the affected areas will start to become necrotic. This means that the tissues die and are sloughed off. If your pet doesn't get treatment, they could die.

Why do lizards get scale rot?

Usually, reptiles get scale rot because they're kept too wet. This may happen if you mist their habitat at night right before you turn off their heat lamp. Without access to the heat lamp, they won't be able to dry themselves and will remain too moist.

If their habitat is too humid, the excess humidity can also lead to scale rot. To keep your pet safe, determine the precise humidity level that their species requires. Some lizards need to live in very humid, rainforest-like conditions, while others prefer drier, more desert-like environments. Once you know the humidity level that your pet needs, use a hygrometer to monitor the humidity. If the tank becomes too humid, run the foggers less frequently and cut back on misting the tank until the humidity reaches a safe level.

While excess moisture is the main cause of scale rot, other factors, like a dirty environment, can also contribute. This is because bacteria can multiply in the dirty environment and colonize your pet's skin, which can lead to sores and an advancement of the condition. To keep your lizard safe, remember to clean frequently. Every day, clean their water and food bowls and get rid of any spills or uneaten food. Remember to remove waste. Every week, disinfect the entire cage. If your lizard is a type that requires bathing, give them their bath before putting them back in the freshly-cleaned cage.

Can scale rot be treated?

Your vet can treat your lizard with antibiotics. You'll be prescribed an antibiotic ointment to apply to your lizard's affected skin as well as whole-system antibiotics, like pills. Your vet will also remind you of the importance of keeping your pet's habitat clean and controlling the humidity levels.

If you're concerned that your lizard has scale rot, take them to an exotics vet right away.

For an animal hospital, contact a clinic such as Southwest Florida Veterinary Specialists & 24-Hour Emergency Hospital.