Fungal Diseases in Reptiles & Snakes

By PetMD Editorial on Jul. 18, 2008

Fungi can cause various types of disease, often affecting multiple body organs or systems in the reptile. These infections can occur anywhere in its body, including the skin, respiratory tract, stomach, intestines, liver, kidneys, and spleen. Unfortunately, most fungal diseases can be terminal for the reptile.

Symptoms and Types of Reptile Fungus

The reptile will generally show signs of weight loss and have a lack of appetite. Other symptoms are dependent on the site of infection. If it occurs in the respiratory system, the reptile will have trouble breathing. An infection in the stomach or intestines will cause it to develop internal sores, which heal slowly.


Fungal infections can occur in reptiles because of a variety of reasons, including:

  • Excessively high humidity
  • Low environmental temperature
  • Low immunity due to another disease
  • Improper nutrition
  • Stress
  • Poor breeding practices (husbandry)
  • Poor sanitation of the reptile's environment
  • Surgery
  • Injury or trauma



Antifungal medicines are used to treat the reptile's infection. Unfortunately, a full recovery of the animal rarely occurs. Surgery to remove the fungal mass in the area of infection can prove successful. However, an antibiotic treatment is usually recommended following surgery to prevent any secondary infection.


Good sanitation and a well-balanced diet may decrease the incidents of fungal diseases in reptiles.

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