Reptile Infectious Stomatitis is a contagious and potentially life-threatening disease for reptiles, caused by certain strains of bacteria. Infectious Stomatitis can affect any reptile species, but is most commonly seen in lizards, tortoises and snakes. Symptoms of Infectious Stomatitis include mouth swelling, ulcers and discharge, difficulty eating and swallowing, appetite loss and weight loss. Infectious Stomatitis can spread to other organs and the central nervous system, causing additional symptoms such as neurological signs, paralysis, fever, and anemia.
Infectious Stomatitis is most commonly caused by the bacteria Stomatococcus doris or Streptococcus sp., although other bacterial strains can be responsible for the disease. Infectious Stomatitis is transmitted through contact with infected animals or contaminated environments, as well as through ingesting contaminated food or water.
Symptoms of Reptile Infectious Stomatitis
The most common symptom of Infectious Stomatitis is swelling and ulcers in their mouth, which can cause difficulty eating and swallowing. Other symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Neurological signs such as paralysis or seizures
Diagnosing Reptile Infectious Stomatitis
Diagnosing Infectious Stomatitis can be difficult due to the lack of visible symptoms in early stages of the disease. In order to diagnose Infectious Stomatitis, a veterinarian will typically need to do a physical examination and take samples from their mouth and other infected areas. These samples can then be tested for the presence of bacterial strains associated with Infectious Stomatitis. Other tests that could be performed include a complete blood count, urinalysis, and imaging such as radiographs or ultrasounds.
Stages of Reptile Infectious Stomatitis
Reptile Infectious Stomatitis typically progresses through three stages: the pre-ulcerative stage, the ulcerative stage, and the advanced stage.
In the pre-ulcerative stage, Infectious Stomatitis can be difficult to diagnose due to a lack of visible symptoms. An animal can have mild signs such as weight loss, anorexia, and fever.
In the ulcerative stage of Infectious Stomatitis, the most common symptom is severe mouth swelling, ulcers and discharge. Other symptoms can include difficulty eating and swallowing, neurological signs (paralysis or seizures), anemia and weight loss.
In the advanced stage of Infectious Stomatitis, the infection has spread to other parts of their body, such as the central nervous system. Symptoms can include paralysis, seizures, fever and death.
Treating Reptile Infectious Stomatitis
Treating Infectious Stomatitis often requires a combination of antibiotics and supportive care. Antibiotics are used to kill the bacteria causing the infection, while supportive care includes giving your pet adequate nutrition and hydration, as well as controlling pain and inflammation. In severe cases, surgery might be necessary in order to remove dead or damaged tissue..
Preventing Reptile Infectious Stomatitis
The best way to prevent Infectious Stomatitis is through regular health examinations and good hygiene. Reptiles should be examined regularly for signs of illness, and any areas of their enclosure that become contaminated should be cleaned regularly. Good hygiene practices such as washing your hands after handling reptiles or their enclosures can also help reduce the risk of transmitting Infectious Stomatitis.
Vaccination is another way to help prevent Infectious Stomatitis. Vaccines are available for some strains of bacteria associated with Infectious Stomatitis, and these can help reduce the risk of infection. It’s also important to quarantine any new reptiles that come into contact with existing reptiles, because this helps reduce the spread of the disease.
Good husbandry practices such as giving your reptile a clean and safe environment, a proper diet, and regular health checks will help prevent Infectious Stomatitis.