Owning a blue tongue skink means you want the best for your reptilian pet. You want to ensure that they are well taken care of, that they have a comfortable habitat, that they eat a healthy diet and that their health care needs are taken care of. One of the most common infections you will find in blue tongue skinks is respiratory infections.
What is Blue Tongue Skink Respiratory Infection?
Respiratory infections are very common in blue tongue skinks. The majority of skinks will suffer from a respiratory infection due to temperature, they are not used to quick temperature changes. Taking them from a warm enclosure to cold weather can result in respiratory infections.
Blue Tongue Skink Respiratory Infection Signs And Symptoms
There are a number of telltale signs that your blue tongue skink may have a respiratory infection. These signs include:
- Excessive salivating
- Forced exhalation
- Heavy breathing
- Mouth bubbles (mucus and froth)
- Open mouth breathing
- Poor appetite
- Puffy appearance
- Raising head to breathe
Respiratory Infection Causes
There are many reasons that your blue tongue skink may have a respiratory infection. The factors that could cause an infection include:
- Dirty tank
- Low immune system
- Low tank temperatures
- High humidity
- Poor diet
- Vitamin or Mineral deficiency
Low tank temperatures are usually the main reason that blue tongue skinks develop a respiratory infection. Ensure you have a good gradient with optimal temperatures. A respiratory infection can take up to seven days to clear up, should the infection pass seven days, ensure you visit the vet and get medicine to help clear up the infection and get your blue tongue skink happy and healthy again.
How to Treat Respiratory Infections in Blue Tongue Skinks
The first way to treat respiratory infections in blue tongue skinks is to raise the temperature inside the tank, using a thermometer. You want to ensure that you have a basking area of 105ºF (40.5ºC) and a cool area of 80ºF (26.6ºC). At night temperatures should be between 70ºF and 80ºF (24ºC to 26.6ºC).
Your blue tongue skink may soak in the water dish, which is very common. Ensure you don't use cold water, but lukewarm or room temperature water instead. This can reduce the risk of your skink going between temperatures too quickly.
Keep the Enclosure Clean
Hygiene is imperative to your blue tongue skinks overall health. Water and food bowls must be cleaned thoroughly before feeding. Reptile friendly spray should be used to disinfect the enclosure when cleaning, to ensure your reptile remains fit and healthy in the long run.
Use a reptile disinfectant, such as Zoo Med Wipe Out 1 Terrarium Cleaner, to clean and disinfect the enclosure while reducing the spread of bacterial infections.
Visit the Vet
It is possible that your skink may require veterinary care if it is not improving with temperature adjustments. Sometimes these reptiles need antibiotics or even an anti inflammatory to help them improve their health. If you don't notice improvements within a few days, make an appointment with your vet.
House your Skink Alone
Infections are highly contagious and therefore you will want to house your ill dragon on its own to reduce the risk of it spreading. Quarantine should be for up to three months.
Blue Tongue Skink Respiratory Infection Prevention
The first preventative method for respiratory infections in blue tongue skinks is to raise the temperatures of the enclosure:
- Basking area - 105ºF (40.5ºC)
- Cool area 80ºF (26.6ºC)
- Nigh time temperatures - 70ºF and 80ºF (24ºC to 26.6ºC)
It's not pleasant to have to take your reptile pet to the vet, but when it comes to respiratory infections, chances are your skink is going to need antibiotics to get well again.
Other Preventative Tips
- Ensure you a have good quality substrate which allows your skink to burrow.
- Provide good quality hides
- Ensure you provide UVB lighting
- Keep the enclosure clean
- Provide a healthy diet
- Consider Fluker's Repta Vitamin Reptile Supplement, a multivitamin supplement to help reduce the risk of vitamin deficiency
A good understanding of respiratory infections in blue tongue skinks is the best way to reduce risk and prevent your skink from suffering with this condition. Always pay close attention to temperature readings, be aware of the common signs to look for and take your skink to the vet if you suspect it may have an infection, to ensure a faster recovery time.