Melissa Kaplan's
Herp Care Collection
Last updated January 1, 2014

How To Give Your Iguana Oral Medications With A Syringe

Originated by Desiree Wong with assists by Cat Rigby and Melissa Kaplan, 1997


As much as you try to avoid it by keeping your iguana healthy and happy by maintaining a proper environment, feeding the best of diets, giving him or her plenty of out- and interactive time, something may happen that results in your needing to give your iguana oral medications. Simple, you say? You've obviously never done it!


Fill oral syringe with medication, out of iguana's sight.



Place iguana on table. Place one set of fingers on iguana's head to stabilize it. With another hand, gently pull on lower jaw and dewlap. Whisper to iguana to "be a good ig".



After mouth is open, begin attempt to put oral syringe in iguana's mouth.



Realize that there are no more hands left to hold syringe. Curse yourself for forgetting that minor detail.



Scratch head to figure out what to do next. Meanwhile, iguana has walked away.



Spend time looking for iguana. Find iguana climbing curtains.



Detach iguana from curtains. Make mental note to get needle and thread to sew up any tears.



Place iguana on table again. Except with one hand, gently pull on lower jaw and dewlap and other hand, holding syringe.



Iguana slides backward on table. Iguana falls off table to chair and makes a dashing escape across the carpet.



Look for iguana and notice iguana dashed under desk into deepest corner and is hiding underneath the file cabinet which has a 1" gap between itself and the carpet. Iguana nestled quietly, eyes closed.



Curse yourself again. Get a flashlight, some greens, and a ruler. Try to extricate iguana from there.



An hour later, iguana has been retrieved. Make mental note to apply ice to bruised head.



Place iguana on couch this time. Repeat attempt to open mouth. Mouth opened, start to insert syringe.



Owwwwie! Iguana doesn't like it. Make mental note to apply triple antibiotic ointment to tail whipped and claw marked arms and nipped fingers.



Clean up missed medication from iguana's face and couch. Refill syringe.



Frustrated, e-mail Iguana Mailing List to get advice on this whole oral medication business. Receive hundreds of suggestions. Peruse suggestions and select the best choices. Feeling better, try it again but armed with new and better-improved approaches. Iguana has wandered off again. Search entire room. Find iguana has hidden underneath the couch. Retrieve iguana.



Try putting medication within a sliced grape and offer to iguana so iguana can play kickball with it across the carpet. (Meriday Beth's Raisin is an avid grape hunter; this should work.)



Try putting medication onto soft piece of bread and offer it to the iguana. However watch out if there's an additional bread-crazed iguana in the room who may come running to steal it. (Cat's Gala loves bread however Lucy tends to dart in from nowhere.)



If 16b fails to work, hide medicated bread morsel within a leafy green and offer the "taco" to the iguana. Watch iguana giggle and eat the leafy green and smash the bread flat with his/her stomach as iguana rolls around laughing, "Ha, Ya can't fool meeeee!". (Darn! Forgot about Gala's bread smashing routine)



Try getting a brave helper to hold the iguana while you medicate. (Sue may have used Jay as a helper)



 If you accidentally dose your helper and the iguana decided to run up the helpers' face, beg helper to stay and quickly switch with your helper. Hold the iguana while your helper medicates. Watch the helper miss the target and blob the medicine all over the iguana's nostrils, causing the iguana to sneeze iggy snot and medication over both of you. (Sue rethinks using Jay as a helper)



If all above suggestions should fail, your helper has abandoned you and you're on your own (Jay moved), go to step 19.



If any of them worked, be grateful you don't have to go through any more steps and go to step 24.



Go to bathroom and grab a bath towel.



Wrap iguana in towel, snugly, but not too tightly. With one hand, gently pull on lower jaw and dewlap and other hand, hold syringe. Insert syringe into iguana's mouth, quickly move hand from lower jaw to iguana's head for stabilization, and gently squirt medication into side of iguana's mouth, not straight down the windpipe.



Jump for joy that syringe is empty. Crushing disappointment quickly overcomes warm feeling of success as you realize that the warm feeling is in fact most of the medication that came dribbling or shooting out of the other side of the iguana's mouth and is running down the hand and arm holding the dewlap. Make mental note to squirt into iguana's mouth not through it.



Refill syringe. Make sure there's still medication left for additional tries. Call vet, just in case. Repeat Step 19, with mental note in mind.



Wipe medication from your face and everywhere else. Make mental note to avoid squirting it on the iguana's tongue or roof of its mouth next time. Repeat Step 20, with mental note in mind.



Success! Iguana has been given medication. Thunk yourself on the head and wonder why you didn't try this approach in the first place.



Retrieve mental notes, follow through and then collapse on the couch.



Next day, start over with Step 1.

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