Emergency Reptile Treatment

The stoic attitude of reptiles makes it difficult for reptile owners to recognize critical illness in their cold-blooded pets. Most reptile health issues seen by your emergency reptile vet near Waldorf involve incorrect husbandry techniques resulting in malnutrition, nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism, and other clinical diseases. In addition, dermatitis, infectious stomatitis, and respiratory diseases frequently emerge due to inappropriate handling and feeding of reptiles.

a reptile

When Should You Get Emergency Care for Your Reptile at Waldorf Animal Hospital?

Changes in eating habits, vomiting/regurgitating and excessively soaking in water are signs your reptile may be ill. Other signs include:

  • Lack of, prolonged or incomplete shedding
  • Changes to urine and stool production
  • Visible blisters, bruising or bumps on the reptile's skin
  • Rapid weight loss or weight gain
  • Skin discoloration
  • Soft spots on turtle shells
  • Lameness/limping
  • Wheezing/open-mouth breathing/nasal discharge

If you suspect your reptile is ill, increase tank temperature (between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit) until you can get your pet to your emergency reptile vet near Waldorf.

Infectious Reptile Diseases

Iridoviruses cause tissue necrosis within the spleen, kidney, and liver. Ann iridovirus infection may also promote anemia if viruses attack a reptile's red blood cells. Herpesvirus disease debilitates the health of snakes, lizards, and alligators by reducing appetite, forcing reptiles to regurgitate and suffer lethargy. Reptiles with a herpesvirus infection can experience long-term neurological issues if not treated at our Waldorf animal hospital as soon as possible.

Poxviruses primarily infect lizards, crocodiles, and tortoises. Skin lesions on the head indicate a possible poxvirus infection. Reovirus disease can infect several snakes, tortoise and lizard species, producing lesions that look similar to lesions seen in iridoviral and herpesviral infections.  Reptiles ingesting insects infected with flaviviruses may suffer severe liver disease, encephalitis, and stomatitis. 

Treatment for Sick Reptiles at Waldorf Animal Hospital

Since most reptiles suffering a health emergency are dehydrated, your emergency reptile vet near Waldorf will probably begin fluid therapy to restore normal hydration. Depending on your vet's diagnosis, a broad-spectrum antibiotic/antimicrobial may be given to initiate support treatment.

During recovery, reptiles should be fed smaller food items like pre-killed rodents or crickets. Herbivorous reptiles usually receive assistance with feedings using a syringe. Once an ill reptile is stabilized, your vet may begin performing diagnostic tests such as radiographs, fecal analysis, cytology, and ultrasound to develop an accurate diagnosis.

Meet with Our Waldorf Vet for Reptile Wellness Care and Reptile Emergency Care

Waldorf Emergency Care is open 24/7/365 to treat pet emergencies only. Contact us at 301-705-9700 if your reptile or other pet is suffering from a severe illness or injury and we will begin preparing for your visit immediately.


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  • "I've been there twice and the people are a delight to work with. They genuinely care for your baby. Customer service they provide toward your pet is OUTSTANDING. My baby was scared but they put him at ease. Ohh and his humans too. They have home what seems to be the right medicine because he is already eating and down for a good nap. All I can say is THANK YOU
    I wish you were a full service vet I would use you all the time"
    Kathy B.
  • "This is my first review so bear with me.....Under a very hard emergency circumstance, I used this establishment yesterday for my cat. I can not express how thankful I am that I found them. It was a Sunday so my vet was closed. I was a total stranger and was treated like a lifelong customer. Whatever it is you are doing, please keep up the good work. Thank you."
    Candy K.
  • "This place is awesome! I went in because my dog was choking on his collar! Yes, his collar! When I got there they were so urgent and alert to what seemed to be an emergency situation. (At least to me). Especially the young man at the front desk who moved really fast for someone who had a boot on his foot! Also, They were so comforting due to the fact I was crying hysterically. I would recommend this place to anyone! My puppy is back home like nothing ever happened lol. Definitely five star service."
    Jackie J.