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Owner’s Guide to Mouth Rot in Iguanas

Owner’s Guide to Mouth Rot in Iguanas
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Mouth rot in iguanas is also known as stomatitis.  This condition is characterized by inflammation of the mouth.  This usually causes swelling and bleeding of the oral tissues.  So, what exactly causes stomatitis in iguanas?


Most reptiles develop mouth rot because of stress, which weakens their immune system and opens them up to infection.  This stress can be because of improper temperatures, lighting, or an infection or parasites.  The condition can also occur is your lizard is fed an improper diet, especially one deficient in vitamin C.  Besides bacteria, viruses and fungi can also cause this condition. 


In its earliest stages, stomatitis causes swelling of the mouth and excessive salivation.  As the disease progresses, the swelling increases and the gums begin to bleed.  If nothing is done about it, the swelling can eventually get so bad that your iguana won’t be able to close his mouth.

Mouth rot in iguanas can cause many problems if left untreated.  Your reptile may experience frequent eye infections and permanent tooth loss.  If a bacterial infection is the underlying cause, it may travel to the lungs and cause pneumonia.


It’s important that the veterinarian determines the exact bacterium of this condition.  He will need to take a biopsy or swab of the mouth.  Some types of bacterium are resistant to certain medications.  If a specific type isn’t identified, any prescribed medication may not get rid of the infection.


Fortunately, mouth rot in iguanas is relatively easy to cure when caught early enough.  First, pus will need to be cleaned out of the mouth.  Fluids, vitamins, and food will also probably need to be provided.  Your iguana will then need to take a course of antibiotics to clear the infection.

However, all cases of stomatitis aren’t so easy to treat.  If the condition has already progressed, the tissues of the mouth may be damaged quite bad.  Your iguana may need to undergo surgery to repair the problem.