Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy

or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

Reptile & Amphibian Center

Infectious Cloacitis in Reptiles

Swollen Vent


In reptiles, the ends of the digestive, urinary, and reproductive tract combine to form a common chamber and a single opening to the external environment. This structure is called the cloaca or vent. A reptile’s cloaca can become infected and inflamed, a condition known as cloacitis.


Symptoms and Types


Symptoms of cloacitis include:


  • Swollen tissue around the vent
  • Bloody discharge from the cloaca


Cloacal infections can spread to other regions of the body (e.g. into internal organs or under the skin) if not caught early and treated appropriately.




Any condition that disrupts the normal protective barriers of cloacal tissues can allow an infection to set in. Internal parasites or stones that develop within the cloaca because of vitamin and mineral imbalances in the diet are other possible causes for an infection.




A veterinarian can usually diagnose a case of infectious cloacitis based on a reptile’s symptoms and a physical exam. Fecal examinations are necessary to diagnose any internal parasites that may be involved.