Yesterday our animal caregiver Joanne noticed that Zilla, our resident iguana, appeared agitated in her enclosure. Immediately we knew there was something wrong, as we watched our normally slow moving Zilla pace back and forth and up and down in her enclosure trying to find a comfortable place to stop and rest. So off to Dr. Hank's she went!
It was a nasty drive in the dark and the rain, with a sick iguana in a carrier in my back seat. But as many of you know, when an animal is not feeling well time is of the essence.
We rescued Zilla back in 2013 from the all to often typical life in a fish tank that many iguanas live. Over the past year and a half we have enjoyed watching Zilla grow in size and into a truly stunning animal.
We are incredibly lucky to work with Dr. Hank Wietsma, who is not only an avian expert but also specializes in exotics.
Here is Dr. Hank Wietsma (Right) and Dr. Sam Lester examining Zilla and giving me a crash course in iguana anatomy!
Dr. Wietsma explained that the small line of pores on the inside of her leg indicate that she is female and that if she were male these pores would be larger and more noticeable.
Zilla shows off her healthy pink mouth. While the tail is often the scary power part of an iguana, this mouth apparently can do a heck of a lot of damage too!
Upon examination Dr. Wietsma recommended we do blood work and x-rays to get a better idea of what is going on with our sweet (and at this point mildly frustrated) Zilla.
As we all hoped - "little" Zilla is perfectly healthy! But is full of eggs and looking to nest. Dr. Wietsma explained that the scalloping you can see in the x-ray (by the white arrow) are a cluster of developing eggs. Now it is important that we watch her eating habits and weight as we wait for her to pass the eggs. Just like parrots, iguanas can also become egg bound, a life threatening condition when an animal is unable to pass developed eggs which can require emergency surgery to correct.
We have created quite and warm nesting areas for her in her enclosure that will hopefully encourage her to lay these eggs soon.
Thank you to all the technicians and staff at Coventry Animal Hospital who go above and beyond to help take care of our animals - both feathered and scaly.