Iguanas require a lot of special care to keep them healthy in captivity. This iguana suffered from anorexia, lethargy and reluctance to move.
Examine the image carefully, before answering the following questions; Name the medical condition this iguana suffers from. What causes it?
Diagnosis: Metabolic Bone Disease
Metabolic bone disease is a common disease of captive iguanas. Lack of vitamin D3 from ultraviolet light leads to improper calcium absorption. As the disease progresses, the bones suffer from calcium depletion causing fractures of the long bones and swelling of the jaws. Look closely at the lower jaw. See how swollen it is. This condition is called rubber jaw because it feels soft and squishy when touched.
Unfortunately, few captive iguanas receive enough of the ultraviolet radiation needed to prevent this condition. In my experience, the number one cause is a burned out full spectrum light bulb. The ultraviolet part burns out before the visible light does. Naturally, many owners think that if the light is on, it is working. The second most common cause is an improperly balanced diet with too little calcium. The third most common cause is not exposing the iguana to the light for enough time each day. The light must be suspended within eighteen inches of the iguana for twelve hours a day.
When the metabolic bone disease becomes as severe as pictured above, it is extremely difficult to save them. This iguana spent two weeks in the hospital receiving tube feedings and calcium injections. He made it but his jaws never returned to normal. He also suffered from a lot of back pain that limited his climbing. He required a cage with ramps instead of branches because he couldn’t climb.