Rare surgery brings pet iguana back to life in Kerala

By Biju E Paul| Express News Service | Published: 31st December 2022 06:09 AM
Iguana after surgery | Express

ALAPPUZHA: Surgeries are not rare in veterinary hospitals. But how often have you heard about a medical operation on an iguana, that too in Kerala? A veterinary hospital in Alappuzha has successfully performed a complicated surgery on a two-year-old green iguana that was diagnosed with metabolic bone disease, a rare medical condition.

Dr Rani Maria Thomas of Sara’s Birds and Exotic Animals, Alappuzha, has brought the pet iguana -- a herbivorous lizard species -- back to life after the three-hour-long surgery on Tuesday. “The disease prevents the formation of egg shells, and the underdeveloped eggs get stuck inside the body of the reptile. It won’t be able to take food and will die in one or two months. However, in this case, the owner brought the iguana to our hospital. In the scanning, we found the eggs formed inside the ovaries, and we suggested surgery,” Dr Rani said.

“The surgery on a reptile is complicated as it will lose breathing capacity quickly. We gave the iguana a pre-anaesthetic injection as the first step and then placed it in an oxygen chamber. Later, anaesthesia was administered through its endotracheal tube, before performing the surgery. Around 16 eggs were taken out from its two ovaries. This surgery is rarely performed in the country to save animals and reptiles,” Rani said.

“The reptile will lose its reproductive capacity after the surgery. The owner of this iguana was aware of the situation, and he gave consent for the surgery, Rani said. The raising and managing of iguanas is difficult as they need constant monitoring of calcium. Also, ultraviolet light is a must for these reptiles. “It is advisable to give vegetables and leaves with more calcium content as food for iguanas. In addition, their enclosure should be built in such a way that the pets get sunlight in the morning and evening,” she said.

Many people in India raise iguanas as a pet. For this, registration of the pet on the PARIVESH portal of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is needed. A two-month-old green iguana is priced at around Rs 10,000, she said. 

Tags : Alappuzha iguana Kerala

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