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Reptile First Aid Kit

How To Create A Reptile First Aid Kit

Reptile First Aid Kit

Reptile First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is one of the most important investments you can make toward protecting the health of your reptile, yet the kit should not be used as a substitute for veterinary care. If your reptile is injured or becomes ill, a vet visit should be your first course of action. The items you keep in the first aid kit are meant to help with crisis intervention and comfort your reptile until you can get it to the vet.

An immediate vet visit is recommended if:

Your reptile is wheezing, having a difficult time breathing, or not breathing at all
Your reptile is non-responsive
You can't get a wound to stop bleeding
A wound is very large
Your reptile is limping (due to a fall)
Your reptile is constipated or has diarrhea
You notice lumps, lesions, or swelling
There are obvious signs of infection: oozing, puss, or redness
A small injury doesn't seem any better the next day

Most of the recommended items can be found at your local pharmacy or super-store. Depending where you shop, this kit will cost you around $50. If your budget is limited, consider purchasing one or two items at a time until you have everything.

Cleansing Agents

Povidone-Iodine (Betadine) is a topical microbicide used for cleansing and sterilizing wounds. It can be used full-strength for cleaning minor cuts, scrapes, and burns. Depending on the wound, you can soak it, swab it on, spray it on, or even drip it on.

Nolvasan is an antiseptic and antimicrobial disinfectant which provides activity against a wide range of micro-organisms. It is a non-toxic, non-irritating agent possessing a wide range of antiseptic and antimicrobial activity against organisms such as bacteria, fungi, and yeast.

Sterile Saline Solution is mainly used to flush the eye, but can also be used to flush minor wounds. When purchasing a saline solution choose a sterile solution designed for contact lens use, but purchase a plain one,not one with fancy additives like protein removers. Touching the tip of the bottle to any surface will contaminate the entire bottle, and it will no longer be sterile. I recommend keeping the factory seal on the bottle until you need to use it; also keep your eye on the expiration date and replace as necessary, even if the bottles never been used.


Styptic Powder (Kwik-Stop) helps to stop the bleeding from a claw trimmed too short or minor wounds. This product is available in several forms including a "pencil" and pre-dusted pads. Be sure to wait several minutes after the bleeding stops before rinsing the powder off. Over trimmed claws do not need further care, but for wounds follow up with triple antibiotic ointment.

Triple Antibiotic Ointment (Neosporin, Mycitracin, or Bacitracin) is a combination antibiotic used externally to treat or help prevent an infection. Use it after cleansing and drying the wound. Reapply as necessary, at least daily. Do NOT use in the nose, mouth, or eyes. To reduce the risk of contaminating the ointment, I recommend squeezing the desired amount onto a gauze pad or a cotton swab.

Wound Dressings

Mineral Oil can be used to help remove stubborn shed by applying to the affected area immediately after a bath. It can also be used to alleviate constipation; please consult your vet before using mineral oil for this purpose. Do NOT use mineral oil if you suspect intestinal impaction,immediately seek medical assistance with a qualified herp vet.

Gauze (pads or rolls in various sizes) can be used to keep wounds clean and ointments in place. Use sterile gauze for open wounds.

Tape is used to hold gauze in place, for splints, or even taping toes together; basically there are three types of tape: regular medical tape (plastic), paper tape, and self-stick tape.

Regular Tape should be used in applications where it will not come in direct contact with the igs scales. This tape is very sticky and can harm the scales when removed.

Paper Tape is designed for delicate skin and is much easier to remove. It can be used directly on the scales.

Self-stick Tape is a rubbery tape that only sticks to its own material. It is an excellent choice when the bandage must be wrapped a leg or tail. Paper and self-stick tapes can be covered with regular tape to help waterproof the dressing or to make it more secure.

Nail Trimming Tools

Keeping your iguanas nails trimmed will allow you to easily handle it. There are various tools you can use to keep nails trimmed, the three most common are: clippers, file, and rotary tools.

Clippers are just that... they are used to clip off the sharp tip of the nail. There are several styles, some are scissor like while others use springs.

Files can be used alone on very small igs. On larger igs, files can be used to smooth the nail after it has been clipped.

Rotary Tools, such as a Dremel, can also be used. A sanding or grinding tip should be used with the rotary tool set at a very slow speed. The tip should be kept exclusively for use on the iguana.

Other Tools

Cotton Swabs, like Q-tips, are handy to have for cleaning wounds or applying styptic powder, ointments.

Gauze can be used to apply medications, cleaning wounds, or placed over an injury and with direct pressure used stop bleeding.

Latex Gloves should be worn when dealing with blood or other bodily fluids.

Tweezers, preferably flat, can be used to remove small items (splinters, stickers) or dead skin that fingers can not reach.

Scissors that are sharp and of good quality can be used to cut gauze, tape, and flapping shed.

Small Flashlight with a strong, focused beam can be used to illuminate a particular area that needs closer examination. It can also allow you to check on your iguana at night without turning on bright, overhead lights.

Magnifying Glass can be used to get a close-up look of an area of concern. Quality is important and better quality magnifying glasses produce less distortion.

Of course you will need something to put all this in. A large cosmetic bag, lunch box, or any other durable container will work well. Be sure to keep it near your iguanas enclosure or somewhere with easy access so it will be on hand in the event of an emergency.


Author: Dominick Giorgianni