Lizard Cloacitis

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Cloacitis is a relatively common condition of lizards and may occur incidentally in individual animals. The severity of the lesions varies from a hardly noticeable local discoloration, seen as local reddened areas or as white streaks, to a fibrin’s or even necrotic inflammation, in which case the cloacal wall is more or less extensively covered with an exudate. It may be associated with the presence of cloacal calculi of orates or gravel. Possible outcomes include an ascending infection of intestinal, urinary or reproductive tracts.

Bacterial infections are the most important aetiology.

Clinical signs range from mild to severe:

  • Mild:
    • Slight oedema and ulceration of cloacal lips due to rubbing of cloaca on substrate
  • Severe:
    • Massively swollen cloaca +/- bloody discharge
    • Sensitive to touch
    • May occur with hemipene/oviduct prolapse

Diagnosis - History taking, physical examination, microscopy, culture and sensitivity.

Treatment should include thorough but gentle cleansing, a local application of antibiotics and the animal should be placed on non-adherent substrate. If the condition is severe, parenteral antibiotics are advised. Appropriate husbandry and diet are essential.