Iguana Has Become Listless And Not Eating

My male iguana has gone listless in the last few days, and has gone paler in color. He just looks very miserable, what is wrong with him?

Any reptile that is not eating should be checked over by a vet to rule out a pathological cause, such as a bacterial or parasitic infection. If there is no physiological cause, such as digestive tract obstruction, then nearly always the problem lies in a dietary deficiency, which are often fatal. They are primarily vegetarians, so they need a balanced diet that is essential to growth, health, and long life. It is a good idea to feed them a diet containing dark green leafy vegetables, hibiscus plants (which are a particular delicacy for them), vitamins and calcium supplements. Adult iguanas will eat more vegetables than meat.

Nutritionally induced osteodystrophy is probably the commonest disease of iguanas, and affected animals are dull and lethargic with a decreased appetite. The animals appear closer to the ground, due to hind limb muscle atrophy, and they may have spontaneous fractures. This "undermineralisation" of the bones is obvious on X-ray, and a blood test will show whether the blood calcium has dropped to below the normal levels.

Also, think about the environment that your iguana is kept in. For example, as well as possible supplementation, iguanas also need ultra violet light to produce enough active Vitamin D, involved in calcium uptake. This needs to be taken into account when working out any supplementation. Make sure you always consult your vet when designing a supplementation plan.