Infectious Stomatitis, also known as mouth rot, ulcerative stomatitis, and mouth cancer is a very common disease in pet reptiles. A reptile often gets this disease because of stress weakening their immune system. Their weakened immune system is unable to stop bacteria inside their mouth from multiplying. With their immune system weakened, their body is unable to stop the bacteria in their mouth from multiplying rapidly, leading to Infectious Stomatitis.
Issues like low temperatures and poor diet are often the reasons for the stress reptiles have that leads to Infectious Stomatitis. Reptiles with low levels of minerals or vitamins can negatively affect the reptile which can cause a weakening of their immune system. A vitamin C deficiency has been linked to an increased chance of getting Infectious Stomatitis.
Infectious Stomatitis is a very common and painful disease that many captive reptile species get. These species include lizards, snakes, and turtles. The disease begins inside their mouth and if untreated can spread throughout their entire respiratory system.
Symptoms of Infectious Stomatitis
Common symptoms of Infectious Stomatitis are:
- A loss of appetite
- Open wounds inside their mouth
- Reddened and swollen tissues in their mouth and nose
- Pneumonia (swelling of the tissue in one or both lungs)
- Thick pus or dead tissue inside their mouth
- Drainage or discharge from their mouth and nose
If you see any of the above symptoms contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Treatment for Infectious Stomatitis
Infectious Stomatitis is a disease that can get serious if not taken care of properly.
A veterinarian will clean your reptile’s mouth with antiseptic and begin antibiotics. The antibiotics will either be oral or injectable.
If the disease has spread too much, surgery will probably be needed to remove the infected cells before it spreads throughout the respiratory system. If the infection spreads, your reptile can be in serious danger without surgery. After the surgery, your vet will advise you on how you should care for them while they recover. The vet will also advise you on ways that you can prevent the disease from returning.
These prevention measures often include good housing, temperature control, and feeding them a good diet. If your reptile is unable to eat or drink during recovery, fluid therapy and nutritional support will be needed. This often includes controlling the amount of water given to your reptile and also using nutritional powders or drinks for your reptile if they have difficulty eating. Crushing their food may make it easier for them to eat.
Prevention of Infectious Stomatitis
Preventing a reptile from getting Infectious Stomatitis is very easy, it just requires the proper care. Following what your reptile needs for care will not only prevent Infectious Stomatitis, but also many other diseases caused by bacteria and fungi.
A properly balanced diet should be given to the reptile with enough vitamins (D3), minerals (calcium), and protein. Fruits and vegetables that contain vitamins and minerals are necessary along with protein-rich food. Improper diets can cause stress. Stress makes their immune system weak, making your reptile more susceptible to diseases.
Maintaining the correct temperature of your reptile’s habitat is very important. Maintaining two temperature zones in their enclosure will let them regulate their body temperature and help keep them healthy. The temperatures should be kept to the levels mentioned in their specific pages on our website. It’s also important to monitor the humidity levels to make sure they’re kept high enough for your specific reptile.
Everyone requires a clean environment to live in, the same applies to reptiles. A clean living environment will reduce the chances of getting in contact with bacteria or fungus that can cause them to be sick. It’s best to clean your reptiles enclosure as often as the care sheet recommends to keep them healthy. A clean home is a healthy home.
Can Infectious Stomatitis Kill Reptiles?
If not treated properly as soon as the disease gets identified, it could lead to death. Treating this deadly disease as soon as possible is very important.
Is Infectious Stomatitis Contagious?
Infectious Stomatitis is not contagious because it is a bacterial infection and not a virus. The disease only happens because of a lack of oral hygiene and improper care.
Is Infectious Stomatitis Curable?
Infectious Stomatitis is curable after treatments or surgery, but there are still chances for the disease to relapse. The best way to prevent the disease from returning is to follow your veterinarian’s advice.