Owner’s Guide to Impaction in Iguanas

Impaction in iguanas occurs when the intestine becomes blocked with indigestible material.  It is a very serious condition.  Your lizard will die if not treated promptly.  So, what exactly causes it?


Iguanas become impacted when it eats something that its system can’t digest.  Sometimes, they do this accidentally while tongue-flicking to gather information about their environment.  This is why certain substrates can be hazardous for iggies.  Leaving small objects lying around can also be hazardous.


An impacted iguana usually displays signs much like one that’s constipated.  You will notice that he stops passing stool on a regular basis.  When he does, he will strain to do so.  Any feces that he does pass will be small and narrow.


If you suspect that your iguana is suffering from impaction, you need to take him to a vet immediately.  He will probably take an x-ray to determine if this is indeed the case.  Sometimes, the vet can tell if your iguana is impacted just by performing a physical exam. 


The only method of treatment for impaction is surgery.  All surgery has risks due to using anesthesia in reptiles.  However, as stated earlier, your iguana will die if this condition isn’t treated as soon as possible.


It’s vital that you monitor your lizard closely whenever he’s out for exercise.  Curiosity may get the best of him and he may try to eat any small object he comes across.  Also, you should never use fine or particulate substrates for iguanas.  If you use carpeting, make sure there are no loose threads.