Small Oozing Bumps and Lesions on Reptiles
©2000 Melissa Kaplan
There are a variety of reasons why your lizard may have one or more small, oozing lesions (flat sores or skin-covered bumps) somewhere on his body. Because they all exhibit very much alike, there is generally no way a herp keeper can tell what the underlying cause is, so it is important to have these lesions and bumps checked out by a reptile veterinarian.
The fluid oozing from the skin in between the scales or from lesions themselves are a combination of the intercellular fluid and fluids from ruptured cells. This fluid acts as a carrier for the virus or bacteria causing the systemic or localized infection.
Organisms that can cause bumps, lesions or other dermatitis include:
With No External Signs
In the case of boid inclusion body disease, it should be considered unethical for any breeder with this virus in his collection to sell any of his collection's offspring; breeders known to do this should be exposed and barred from selling at any herp society or expo venue.
In cases where the skin is the, or one of the, affected organ, a biopsy can be easily taken for electron microscopy examination. In large reptiles, organ biopsies may be taken for histological and electron microscopy studies. In some cases, negative staining of bodily fluids (urine, saliva, vesicular fluid) may be used in electron microscopy.
A virus should be considered a possibility when antifungal and antibiotics do not resolve a condition, even after fine-tuning the antibiotics used with a culture and sensitivity.
Since these viruses can create conditions in which secondary fungal or bacterial infections flourish, the use of antimicrobials and antibiotics may be beneficial to reduce the overall immune load. Keeping secondary infections at bay, along with strict cleaning, disinfection and quarantine of all new animals and animals suspected of being ill, and providing the necessary environmental, fluid and nutritional support, is the most effective treatment at this time.
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