Lizard Injection

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(© Jkgroove, Wikimedia Commons)

Drugs, that are toxic to or excreted by the kidney, should be administered in the cranial half of the body to avoid the renal portal system.


Intracoelomic (ICo) injections injections are administered in the right caudal quadrant at a level even with the cranial aspect of the rear leg with the lizard in sternal recumbancy.


Subcutaneous injections and fluids can be given in the flank.


  • The caudal tail vein is the preferred site for IV injections. A 22-25 gauge needle long enough to reach the centre of the tail is needed. Inject about 1/4 to 1/3 down from the cloaca on the ventral midline. Disinfect the site. Insert the needle at 45-60 degrees until contact with the vertebral body. Apply gentle plunger pressure until blood appears in the hub and then an IV injection is possible.
  • With a cutdown technique an intravenous catheter can be placed in the cephalic vein. The ventral abdominal vein (in iguanas the ventral abdominal vein is a large vein (1-2mm) that lies just below the ventral midline between the umbilicus and the pelvis) is not recommended because of bleeding in the cephalic or jugular veins (in iguanas, the large jugular vein runs deep in the lateral cervical region caudally from the level of the tympanum to the thoracic).


The limbs and the epaxial muscles are appropriate sites. The epaxial and forelimb muscles are the most useful sites for intramuscular injections. The hindlimb muscles can be used but the drug may be filtered throught the kidneys (renal portal system).


  • The proximal femur and tibia are the most appropriate sites.
  • A spinal needle is inserted normograde through the craniomedial aspect of the proximal tibia which avoids invasion of the joint capsule and articular cartilage. A small amount of saline is injected and if the catheter is outside the bone, the muscle will swell. Radiographs can be used to confirm placement.