Well you guys, I recently developed an embarrassing case of mouth rot. This is definitely something you’ll always want to be on the look out for and be extra vigilant in treating, because while my parents were able to treat and cure mine fast, it could have easily spread and caused irreparable damage.
Causes of Mouth Rot
There are many factors that can lead to mouth rot. For me, I think it was from months of ramming myself at the other Chinese water dragon who’d always be at the same spot of my room, but never leave. Just look at the picture below, he’s asking for it! I think it caused a small abrasion in my mouth, and one week my water got extra dirty and probably led to a mouth rot infection.
Other causes could be any number of factors though, as we always have a lot of bacteria on our bodies and mouths and our immune system is highly dependent upon:
lighting – need to have proper UVB levels to aid a fully functioning immune system
heat – low temperatures can cause all sorts of health issues
humidity – incorrect humidity levels or at least not having a large water source can affect healing and shedding
overall cleanliness – its not a wide open world so any bacteria or mold issues are amplified a ton more in an enclosure. Clean out any poop as soon as you see it, especially if its not in the water!
size of enclosure – we are wild animals, we have not been domesticated for centuries like dogs and cats. So any enclosure is stressful as we just don’t comprehend what we are in fully. But a small enclosure will amplify that stress, and high stress levels reduce our immune systems, as well as lead us to rub against any glass surfaces causing snout damage.
SIGNS OF MOUTH ROT
One of the earliest signs will be redness around the lips. In the picture below you can see how the tip of my mouth has that irritated redness. I wasn’t able to get any clear pictures of the inside of my mouth, but this redness developed into a crusty puss in front of my lower front teeth within 3-5 days. Since my mouth rot was caught and stopped at a very early stage, it didn’t start to show more obvious signs where the lips will turn black and even deteriorate. If you haven’t done anything to treat your reptile’s mouth rot by that point, then you should not be responsible for any animal.
Treatment of Mouth Rot
Looking online my parents were told of some at-home treatments and decided to try putting natural listerine(the brown kind) on my infection as a form of antiseptic. They tried this 2-3x a day for about 5 days, by dabbing a cotton swab with the listerine onto my cut. It didn’t really seem to do anything helpful at all and was very stressful to me. My dad didn’t think it’d progress and to give it more time, but my mom thought 5 days and no signs of healing was long enough, and scheduled a vet appointment for the next day. Again, people online with good intentions and giving their experiences would be saying it could cost up to $600 to treat this, which was why my parents didn’t want to rush me to the vet right away. Well let me tell you, a vet visit at the earliest stages of problems, is the absolute best time to go and the best way to keep the vet bill down low. I’ll go into the billing later, as I’d be taken to the vet much sooner if we knew it wouldn’t be so insanely expensive.
tl:dr JUST GO TO THE VET, DISREGARD INTERNET PEOPLE, EVERY SITUATION IS DIFFERENT
Our vet at the Animal Health Care Center in LA is Dr Lisa and she is just wonderful. First their vet tech Rosie had taken my weight, which I was at 67 grams, up 17 grams from my first weigh in a few months ago!
When Dr. Lisa came in she checked me over and then scraped all the ‘cheese’ crusty stuff off my my mouth. If the Dr didn’t scrap out the crust stuff, then my wound would eventually heal like a scar. By getting rid of the crusty stuff, it keeps the soft tissue underneath fresh, so it can heal upwards and seal up as if nothing ever happened.
After the scraping was cleaned up, my parents were given an antibiotic to kill the infection. It was to be administered by squirting a syringe of it into my mouth. Some people will try to get the syringe into my mouth by working its way in, or use a credit card to gently open my mouth and squirt the medicine in. My dad would just open my mouth while mom squirts it in. This was to be done once a day at the same time of day, for 14 days.
Overall this was not nearly as expensive as online research led us to believe. Of course every situation is different, so who knows what yours could cost. For us, it came out to the following:
1st visit – $108 for check up, diagnosis, deep scraping and antibiotics
2nd and 3rd follow up visit – $30 each to check on my healing progress for the 14 days during the antibiotic treatment.
Grand Total – $168
While not cheap, its certainly not as expensive as we thought it’d be. It would easily be a lot more costly if my parents had waited longer to take me in though. So please for the health of your reptile, take him/her in IMMEDIATELY if you feel there are any issues! After the 14 day treatment I am back to my old self again, rather than coming out with a big scar or messed up jawbone.
One final video of my parents tricking me into taking my medicine by first luring me with a fat dubia roach. Do you see this deception?! Forget them, I ran to my hideout spot after that dirty trick.