Advanced Animal Care

take your reptile or amphibian to the vet

Knowing when to take your reptile or amphibian to the vet can very well save its life.  The first thing you should do if you own a pet is learn as much as you can about your pet.  Having the information to provide the right diet, temperature, vitamins and cleanliness your pet needs can go a long way in preventing disease.  You can watch your pet too.  Knowing when they are acting different can help you detect a problem in it’s early stages. 

Here are a few signs to let you know when to take your reptile or amphibian to the vet.

Respiratory Infection

Similar to our pneumonia, your pet is in distress when you see the following:

  • Wheezing
  • Bubbles at the nostrils
  • Mouth hanging open

Snakes like the one in the picture only have one operating lung so it's important to seek help quickly.  Causes could include the temperature or humidity levels in the cage.  If you notice your pet showing these signs, you need to take them to the veterinary clinic as soon as possible.

Metabolic Bone Disease

Lack of calcium in the diet and no sun exposure can lead to MBD. This is common in lizards and turtles. You will notice your pet getting chubby limbs or possibly breaking apart.  UV light, calcium supplements, and better diet may be recommended by your veterinarian.  Reptiles and Amphibians can suffer when just a few vitamins are deficient.  You can help your pet to return to good health but some deformities may remain.


Most reptiles and amphibians can go pretty long without food.  Temperature and day light hours can also affect how your pet reacts.  If you are worried about your pet, a trip to the veterinarian can determine if there is a problem.  This chart is a guideline for you to follow.  Based on a summer season, these are the length of time your pet can fast before you need to worry.

Snake – 1 month

Lizard – 3 days

Turtle – 1 week

Tropical amphibian – 1 week

Your particular pet may be able to go longer or may need food more often.  Underlying issues and different seasons also play a part in how often your pet will eat.


Your pet may sustain injuries due to burns, bites and other accidents.  You should keep an eye on your pet but realize often the injuries or infections may not be visible.  Turtles with cracked shells can live for years, but if infection occurs, you will have a problem.  Knowing when to take your reptile or amphibian to the vet boils down to erring on the side of precaution and having your pet examined when you think there may be a problem.

Other Indications you need to take your reptile or amphibian to the vet

If you notice problems with your pet’s eyes, dull skin (possible fungus), external parasites or any other indications that something is different or wrong with your pet, you should visit your veterinary clinic.  Locust Trace Veterinary Clinic has reptile veterinarians and amphibian veterinarians that can care for your pet.  If you have questions or need to schedule and appointment, call today, they will be happy to help you.