EXOTICS Figure 1: Leopard Gecko shedding its skin Figure 4: The ridged suture line is visible in this Bearded Dragon post foreign body removal (chunk of carrot) and protozoal diseases. Mites may easily be visualised clustered around the eyes and under the scales, especially around the head. Affected snakes will often seek refuge in water and drowned mites can be found in the water bowl. Treatment must be focused both on the reptile and the environment. Protocols using Pyrethroids, Dichlorvos strips, Ivermectin and Fipronil have all been effective. Figure 2: Removing a retained eye cap meaning that if simple interrupted sutures are used, one will be left with a scale on scale contact which will obviously not heal. We thus use a horizontal mattress (everting) suture pattern in order to allow for tissue contact. This suture pattern causes the skin to lift in a ridge but this will normalise with time. Autotomy: Many species of lizards including geckos, skinks and iguanids have specific fracture planes in their tails allowing the animal to drop the tail when threatened by a perceived predator. The wiggling tail attracts the predator’s attention, allowing the stump tailed survivor to escape. Common dermatological conditions of reptiles: Mites: Ophionyssus natricis, the snake mite, has a lifecycle that can be completed in as little as 7 days but the mites may remain alive in the environment for a considerable period of time. Besides causing skin irritation and inflammation, severe infestations can lead to anaemia, dehydration and even death. The mite is implicated in the transmission of several viral Figure 5: Autotomy in a Green Iguana - note the exposed muscles. Simply trim these off and disinfect the area For this reason lizards should never be handled by the tail. Reptiles that perform autotomy will typically be able to re-grow the tail (Crested Geckos are an exception), it may however be discoloured or deformed. Should autolysis occur, no sutures should be placed in the stump as this will prevent tail re-growth. The lesion should simply be kept clean. Figure 3: The snake mite, Ophionyssus natricis. vet360 Issue 06 | DECEMBER 2016 | 36 Dysecdysis and shedding storms: Dysecdysis is the term for a failure to shed the skin normally. A healthy snake will go “into the blue” where the skin and eyes become a dull grey/blue colour approximately one week prior to shedding the skin. Reptiles resent being handled while in the blue.