What a Reptile's Swollen Vent Means

Do you know what a reptile's swollen vent means?

A reptile's vent is where they excrete their waste. Many people including reptile owners don't know that reptiles have one common chamber where their digestive, urinary, and reproductive tracts combine. This chamber contains an opening to the external world. This internal structure is also known as the cloaca. When the cloaca becomes inflamed and infected it is known as cloacitis.

Cloacitis is the result of a vitamin and mineral imbalance or a disturbance to the cloaca's protective tissue. These things lead to a cloacal infection. Cloacitis has a few noticeable symptoms including a swollen vent and bloody discharge.

Cloacitis infections can be very serious. A cloacal infection can actually spread on a reptile. The infections can go under a reptile's skin and into their internal organs. When internal organs have infections, serious health issues can arise.

If you notice the symptoms of cloacitis, you will need to take your pet reptile to a veterinarian. A doctor can exam a reptile and run tests to diagnose the problem. A veterinarian will also help you figure out what could have caused the infection. Cloacitis is treatable, but the problem can return if what caused it is not determined.  You will have to make changes to prevent the return of cloacitis in your reptile.

A veterinarian may have to surgically remove an infection and damaged tissue in order for a reptile to properly recover. Other cases of cloacitis can be treated with medications such as antibiotic ointments and antiseptic that clean the infected area. Antibiotics not only come in ointments, but they can also be given to a reptile orally or through injections. Most reptiles recover from cloacitis. If the infection goes untreated it may spread and lead to death. Noticing problems in your pet and seeking treatment quickly is the best way to ensure a healthy recovery. 

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your veterinarian or other health care professional. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment.