Reptile & Amphibian Center

Skin and Shell Infection in Reptiles



Minor skin and shell infections can be treated at home by gently scrubbing the affected area with a dilute povidone-iodine or chlorhexidine solution and applying a topical antibiotic ointment two times a day. If the wound fails to heal but the reptile’s overall condition is still good, a fungal infection may be involved and an antifungal cream may be needed to treat the infection. However, if the skin or shell does not look better in a few days, take the pet to an experienced reptile veterinarian. More severe infections may require injectable or oral antibiotics and surgery to drain abscesses or remove diseased tissue.



Living and Management


While a reptile is recovering from a skin or shell infection, it should be housed in an exceptionally clean terrarium. Newspaper or paper towels make the best floor coverings because they won’t contaminate wounds and can be replaced frequently. Any underlying problems such as inadequate sanitation, improper humidity levels, or sharp or excessively rough objects in the terrarium must also be dealt with or the infection is likely to return.

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