I am an Affilate!

I hope you love any product or service that I recommend. :) Just to be clear, I may take a share of any sales or other compensation from the links on this page. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use my links, thanks, I appreciate your support.

5 Iguana Illnesses (Treatment, Symptoms, Prevention & Facts)

If your Iguana is sick it is important to understand what common illnesses can affect it. Once you know this you can then understand how to treat it. For this reason I have compiled a list of the top 5 for you.

What Illness can affect your Iguana and best treatment? MBD, Mouth Rot, Respiratory diseases and hypervitiminosis are common illnesses. The best treatment is to contact your vet and take professional advise.

Now that you understand some of the common illnesses, I will now explain each one of the five n more detail, in particular, the causes, symptoms, treatments and best ways to prevent them.

01. Metabolic Bone disease (MBD)

What is it?

Metabolic bone disease or MBD as what it is more commonly known as is a nutritional deficiency of calcium which causes a breakdown in the bones of your Iguana. This is commonly caused by lack of UVB lighting or lack of calcium in the lizards diet. This can also be caused by a lack of natural lighting as well.

Symptoms of MBD

There is a number of symptoms that are associated with this disease. Such as swelling of the jaw, your lizard walking around with its jaw open, which is not expected behaviour for a healthy lizard. You may also notice that his eyes seem to be popping, almost like a cartoon character.

Other symptoms include dragging themselves along the floor, almost like they cannot support their weight very well. Are you with me?

You may also find that your lizard seems to twitch and jerk in a weird kind of motion. There are a number of different symptoms that are associated with it, this could go on further but the key thing is once you see this you will understand that something doesn’t look quite right.

Facts About MBD

The interesting fact about this disease is that it is only really seen in captivity. You’ll never really find this issue in the wild because nature has a way of providing the correct amount of calcium in a natural way.

Other names for this diseases are nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism (NSHP), hypocalcemia or even osteodystrophy.

MBD Treatment

The good news about this disease is that it is very treatable. However, it is mainly only treatable it if it’s caught in the really early stages. If you leave this too long, it is very unlikely that you’ll be able to cure your lizard from this disease.

As soon as you see any signs of the symptoms mentioned above it is advised that you take your Iguana to the vet as soon as possible.

Your vet is likely to take your lizard and apply calcium supplementation. This may or may not be injected, depending on how serious or how effective your vet feels that the treatment should should be.

MBD Prevention

To prevent this happening the best thing to do is to provide enough calcium in your lizards diet. Also consider providing more vitamin D3 as well. A good way to provide more calcium is to supplement your Iguanas diet with calcium supplementation that you can buy from your local pet store.

The trick to this is to dust or powder your lizards food with this supplementation so they indirectly eat this. You need to follow the instructions on the supplement and check with your local pet store to make sure that you provide the correct quantity.

02. Mouth rot

So in this section I’m going to talk about mouth rot which is quite a common disease that you will find in Iguanas.

Mouth rot, also known as Ulcerative Stomatitis, is a bacterial infection which effects and manifests around the mouth. In particular hemorrhages around the gum area.

Technically speaking it is not actually a disease in itself. It is actually a secondary disease caused by other related issues.

What Causes Mouth Rot?

It is caused by damage  to the gums. Or food that is left in your lizards teeth or lodged in its gums. Over time this stuck food gets infected. If it is not dealt with as soon as possible it can lead to a serious problem.

Mouth Rot Symptoms

The symptoms of this disease are quite easy to see. They will definitely cause you some alarm because they are quite obvious. In particular, you may see a kind of Swiss cottage cheese like liquid appearing out of your lizards mouth. Obviously if you see something like this something is obviously not correct.

Other symptoms include swelling of the jaw which may be confused with MBD that we spoke about before. Also you may find that your lizard is off its food and may stop consuming water due to the pain that it is suffering in its mouth.

You may also notice a lot of swelling around the head and mouth area which should seem obvious if you see this.

Mouth Rot Treatment

A vet is required to treat this disease. It is a serious condition that will need professional help. You can expect that your vet will prescribed some antibiotics. She may even inject antibiotics while you are there. You may also be trained of the best and most effective way to clean your lizards mouth going forward.

Mouth Rot Prevention

To prevent this from happening in the first place the best thing to do is to provide yearly check ups with the vet, to make sure that your lizard is in good health. In addition to this, if you see any food build-up in the mouth or any food stuck in the teeth it is advisable to clear this. To make sure it does not build into a disease or an infection.

03. Parasites

So in this section I’m going to talk about parasites that can cause issues internally and externally for your Iguana.

Parasites are small organisms, such as worms, for example pinworms. They can infect your lizard and cause it some serious issues.

Parasite Causes

Usually this is caused by the parasites being ingested through your Iguana’s mouth. Such as your pet eating something infected, such as faeces believe it or not. They can also be infected through going through their skin, by making contact with the parasite, such as larvae that can penetrate the skin.

Parasite Symptoms

The symptoms for this issue can be vomiting, sickness or diarrhoea. You may also notice some abnormal faeces. You may even see the worms within the faeces when you are clearing it up. This is a good indication that they have this problem.

The unfortunate facts about this issue is that some of these parasites have the ability to infect the lungs and cause knock on issues such as pneumonia (more about this later) and other issues which can actually prove fatal. So is it it is important to be dealt with as soon as possible.

Parasites Treatment

To treat these parasites largely depends on the type of parasites that your individual pet has. The best advice is to contact your vet to diagnose exactly what the issue is. There is medication available to deworm your lizard, depending on exactly what issue they have.

Your vet may provide medication orally or even injected depending on how serious it may be. Any good vet will also give you some advice about how to clean up your lizards living environment to help you going forward.

Parasite Prevention

To prevent this from happening in the first place the best advice is to always clean up faeces and droppings as soon as you see them. In reality you should be cleaning up on a daily blaze basis to keep your iguana happy.

In addition to this you should only purchase food for your iguana from reputable sources. Such as your local pet shop or recommended retail outlets. This is just in case you purchase something that has not been properly processed and could include parasites within it, without you knowing.

04. Respiratory disease

So in this section I’m going to talk about respiratory diseases that can cause health issues in your iguana.

There are a number of different respiratory diseases that can be inflicted on your lizard. Respiratory diseases are anything that affects its lungs and airways, basically the respiratory system in your lizard. For example pneumonia is a classic case.

Causes of Respiratory Diseases

These respiratory conditions are usually caused by bacteria or some kind of fungal infection. The causes for these diseases range from poor environments such as living in a dirty enclosure which are not maintained.  It can also be caused by poor diet. For example, having a lack of Vitamin A.

Symptoms of Respiratory Diseases

The common symptoms of this issue is difficulty breathing, wheezing, basically anything that sounds abnormal in the breathing area. You may also find that your lizard stops eating or reduces its eating. It may not be consuming as much water as possible as well. These are common symptoms that can occur and are clear red flags to look out for.


The best treatment is to contact your vet to give you some advice of how to deal with this. They are likely to prescribe some antibiotics and this may be given to them orally or it may be injected.  This depends on the extent of the issue.

In addition to this it is advisable to have a clean living environment for your Iguana. You may be advised by your vet to also disinfect your enclosure. This will prevent this happening in the future.

05. Hypovitaminosis D.

Hypovitaminosis D is effectively too much vitamin D that has been given to your lizard. Vitamin D3 is toxic if it is provided in large quantities. This disease can cause kidney disease as well as premature death if it is not treated in a timely manner.

Treatment of this disease is quite serious and in most cases will require hospitalization from your veterinarian service. Methods that may be used by your vet may include medically feeding the lizards to maintain the correct diet. Other methods include therapy with fluids. As well as methods to lower the calcium level of your lizard.

Related Questions:

How do you know if your Iguana is Healthy? Iguanas should have clear eyes, clear skin, heathy looking pink nose, and should be eating well. If you notice anything different it is reason to look into it to make sure there is no underlying issue.


Hi, this is me with my daughter and my Lizard friend. I hope you enjoy my research. Please feel free to check out my "About Me" page to find out more about me.