Unfortunately reptiles very rarely show any sign of illness until they are very sick and in many cases, too late to help. However, by keeping a detailed journal of your reptile’s activities, appetite and behaviors, you may be more apt to pick up on a potential underlying problem that needs to be addressed.
If your reptile does become ill, you will then be able to take these notes to your veterinarian who may be able to diagnose the problem that much quicker. Something seemingly insignificant may stick out such as a minor change in appetite or even the rate of defecation. The sooner a problem is diagnosed, the sooner the appropriate treatment can begin.
Many people will opt for a simple pen and paper system of note-keeping, while others will keep a detailed database on their computer for all this information. The choice is yours. The important thing is to realize the critical importance of these notes – they could one day save the life of your pet.
Here are the basics of what you should include in your pet’s medical record:
- Common name
- Scientific name
- Identifying marks
- Place of acquisition/previous owner
- Date of acquisition
- Age at acquisition
- Captive Born ____ or Wild Caught ____
- Dimensions and type
- Substrate used
- Heat source(s)
- Temp ranges and cycles
- Light source(s)
- Special requirements
- Cagemate(s), if applicable
Previous Medical History
- Noteworthy event
- Medication given
- Illness resolved
- Winter cool down (if applicable)
- Courtship and mating (if applicable)
- Defecation (rate of, appearance, changes in …)
Be sure to bring these records along when you bring your reptile into the veterinarian for your regular checkups as well!
By Candace, SaveTheReptiles.com