V. melinus

Quince monitor



Captive monitors health problems most of the time are direct result of improper husbandry and neglect. Observant keeper with good attention to husbandry details will be able to notice changes in animal health and provide with timely veterinary care and adjustments.

Healthy Varanus melinus:

  • Alert
  • Fast
  • Lean
  • Inquisitive
  • Good muscle tone
  • Good appetite
  • Skittish(yes it is perfectly normal)
  • High activity levels
  • Clear, piercing and intelligent eye sight
  • Regular defecation

Unhealthy Varanus melinus:

  • Slow
  • Sluggish
  • Limp
  • Bloated
  • Low activity
  • Bad appetite, food refusal
  • Forced breathing with clicking noise
  • “Empty” eye sight
  • Not passing feces
All these symptoms need immediate veterinary attention.

Most common health issues in captive Quince monitors:

Thermal burns. Usually happen with bad heating devices (halogen bulbs, ceramic emitters) placement or malfunction. Minor ones are treated with diluted Betadine(povidone-iodine), Epson or tabletop salt solution as a healing agent and triple antibiotic ointment. Vet visit is required if conditions worsen and wounds are not getting healed. Heating devices should be repositioned so monitor either does not have interest in reaching them, or can’t reach them at all.

Minor mechanical injuries. Cuts, scrapes, minor wounds, tail end injuries, claw injuries. Usually happen during high activity and may happen due some errors in cage design(open slits may catch monitor lizard toes or tail). Treated as above with diluted Betadine, Epson salt and ointment. Vet visit is required if conditions worsen. Cage design has to be updated to reduce chance of it happening again. Should carefully approach skittish animal.

Major injuries, large wounds, broken bones and tail. Require professional veterinary care.

Stuck shed. Caused by low humidity, lack of access to aquatic features. Accumulated stuck shed prevents blood flow to body extremities and may lead to loss of toes, tail and other body parts. Easily avoided by providing necessary humidity levels and visually checking the animal during daily interactions. Treated by soaking animal in warm water, gently massaging stuck pieces away.

Parasites. Normal condition for wild-caught animals. May also be introduced with some food items. Require regular fecal exams and prescription drugs if found positive. May lead to serious health complications if untreated.

Obesity. Complex problem that involves unhealthy non varied diet, overfeeding, low basking temperatures, lack of available activity. Treated with reducing food intake, introducing healthier and leaner whole food items, addressing temperature issues and promotion of activity.

Impaction. Complex problem that involves dehydration, low temperatures, wrong food items. Very serious issue that prevents animal from defecating. Requires immediate veterinary attention.

Upper respiratory infection. Forced breathing, clicking noises, mucus coming from nostrils or mouth. Happens mostly due to low basking and ambient temperatures, exposing animal to cold environment, reduced immune system due to stress. Requires veterinary care.

Metabolic bone disease. Caused by imbalance of calcium and phosphorus in the body and vitamin D3 deficiency. Mostly due to poor diet. Signs of MBD include limping, bowed legs, lumps along spine, softened lower jaw, cloacal prolapse, difficulties moving. Requires vet visit to diagnose and treat. If not treated in a fast timely manner may leave animal with deformed bones for the rest of its life.

Gout. Disease caused by improper metabolism and excretion of urates, leading to precipitation of urate crystals in tissues. Mostly caused by improper husbandry, low humidity levels and low animal hydration. Requires vet attention. The most effective treatment is prevention and good husbandry.

This concludes the notes on captive Quince monitor husbandry.
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