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The Quality and Inequality of Vet Care - There are many people that do not consider taking their iguana to the vet. There is a popular belief and a standard tradition of believing a vet is where you take your dog and cat, not an iguana or other exotic pet. This problem is also combined with the fact that finding a good qualified herp vet is very difficult. Many vets that are not experienced with iguanas and other exotics are, in a way, adding to this dilemma by treating iguanas, giving poor advice, and failing to help their clients by referring them to a vet that is better qualified. Hopefully, with iguanas and other exotics becoming more popular, people educating the public, and more vets becoming experienced with iguanas, this problem will begin to fade away.

The Risks of Getting Medical Advice Online - Describing an injury or illness on the internet can be difficult. No matter how well you may describe it, it is usually very hard, if not impossible to know for sure how serious or how minor an injury or illness may be. Your description of an injury or illness on the internet will usually be read by both experienced and novice iguana owners. Chances are you will get many different opinions on whether or not a vet visit is in order. Most of the time, you will get advice from someone, and chances are you will not be aware of how much experience that person has in caring for or treating iguanas. If you suspect that your iguana is injured or ill, you should never postpone bringing it to the vet while you ask for help on the internet.

Finding a Good Vet - Finding a qualified herp vet can be difficult, especially if you live in a small town or rural area. However, if you take the time to do some serious searching, you can probably find a good vet within driving distance. It is better to drive your iguana an hour to a qualified vet than to drive ten minutes to see one that has no knowledge of iguanas. If you are looking for a veterinarian in your area, visit the Recommended Vets & Clinics section of our web site. This will provide you with a place to start your search. Once you've located a vet near you, plan on asking the vet questions either prior to making an appointment or during the initial appointment. The questions suggested below will help you determine the level of experience the vet has with iguanas.

Suggested Questions for the Vet - The questions listed below are just a few suggestions. You can probably think of others you would like to ask. These are questions that you should know the answer to before you allow a veterinarian to treat your iguana. This doesn't mean that if the answer isn't ideal that the person shouldn't be allowed to treat your iguana. Rather, it lets you know the experience level of your vet. Not everyone gets the luxury of having a vet experienced in iguana within driving distance. If your vet admits his or her limits, and is willing to learn, then that is a good sign. It's better than if you have a vet that has outdated information and doesn't want to learn anything new.

  • How much training and experience have you had with reptiles and iguanas in particular? In a perfect world, you'd like to have your vet focus on exotics in vet school and then attend courses on exotic medicine yearly. However, not all vet schools discuss this much and tend to focus on dogs and cats. What is more important as an answer to this question is experience and self-education (reading books/papers/continuing education classes) than training from vet school.

  • What do you recommend that someone feeds an iguana? There are variations to what people feel is the best diet. In general, the vet should say high calcium, low phosphorus, no meat, lots of leafy greens and grated veggies. If the vet says feed crickets, pinkies, or mostly lettuce, they are very behind on health issues in iguanas. Dusting food with calcium that is phosphorus free and vitamins should also be mentioned in some context.

  • What temperatures should I keep my iguana at? There should be two answers, one for juveniles and the other for adults. Juvies should have a warm spot of 95º F and a cool side of 75º F, going no lower than 75º F at night. Adults can have greater variation; they can go down to 70º F or up past 95º F (to about 100º F) provided they have enough room to move around and regulate. They can go down to 70º F at night. Both juveniles and adults should have the temperature lower by at least a few degrees at night than what they had during the day. For more information on proper temperatures, visit our Habitat page.


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