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Tail Amputation


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Si prefieres leerlo en Español, vayas aqui por un buen tradución de Gastón Cassus. (MUCHAS GRASIAS Gastón.)

I received an e-mail from a guy in Bolivia whose iguana has dry gangrene on his tail. See http://www.anapsid.org/gangrene.html for information about dry gangrene. The treatment should be performed by a vet, but this guy said that none of the vets in his area knew anything about reptiles.

My iguana also had the problem, and I actually assisted my vet in the treatment. Since the Bolivian guy was desperate, I described the procedure to him. I also had my good friend Gastón Cassus do a Spanish translation. Here they both are.


You are going to have to amputate the bad part of the tail by breaking it off. But you need to break it in the healthy part of the tail.

First I need to tell you - I am not an animal doctor! I will tell you what my doctor did with my iguana, but maybe I not get it exactly right. I may have a mistake in this. If so, I am very sorry - I'll do the best I can.

Here is what you need to have:

  1. A strong friend or two. How big is the iguana? If he is big, then you will need two friends. They may also need strong gloves for their hands - a large iguana can bite pretty hard.

  2. Something to stop bleeding. My doctor used a powder called "styptic".

  3. An antibiotic ointment - a "triple" ointment is best. This is common for humans.

  4. A liquid antibiotic. My doctor used "Nolvasan". It is used to soak the tail. Ask a normal animal doctor even if he doesn't know about iguanas.

  5. Sharp scissors. Make it sterile with alcohol or by boiling in water.

Ready?

Your friends need to hold the iguana firmly. One person holds the iguana's front legs against the iguana's sides (legs stretched back). The other person holds the iguana's back legs against the iguana's tail (legs stretched back).

You will work on the tail.

Find the place on the tail where the dry part starts. Then back up into the healthy part of the tail about 2-3 cm (between 1 and 1.5 inches). That is where you will break the tail.

You do *NOT* want to cut the tail with a knife or the scissors - that will cause more problems. Hold the tail between your hands, with the spiny back part pointing up (like it normally does). Break the bad end of the tail downward. Break it like you were breaking a stick or a pencil. The break will start at the spiny top and go down. It will make a loud "pop" sound when it breaks. Don't pull the two pieces apart yet.

There will be some fibers still connecting the two parts. It may also start bleeding. Cut the fibers with the scissors about 0.5 cm (1/4 inch) from the good part of the tail. The fibers should stick out a little bit.

Now stop the bleeding with the styptic powder. Dab the powder into the broken end of the tail. Keep doing that until the bleeding stops.

Even if it doesn't bleed at all, put some styptic powder in the open part anyway.

Now put some ointment in the open part.

Now you are done for today. Give your friends some beer and leave your iguana alone until the next day.

The next day, and 13 days after that, soak the end of the tail in the liquid antibiotic (Nolvasan). It may bleed a little more each time you do it - this is OK and you do NOT need to use styptic. It will stop bleeding by itself.

Let me explain one more thing. Breaking the iguana's tail will not hurt him very much. He will hardly feel it. You need the two friends to hold him because he will be afraid of being held firmly. Also, iguanas don't like their tail held. The iguana will try to get away before you even start with the tail. But when you break the tail, he will not even blink.

One more thing. Your English is better than my Spanish. But there may be some words I use that you don't know. I am sending this e-mail also to my friend in Chile. He translated my iguana guide into Spanish, and maybe he will have some time to do the same thing with this. He may also have some better ideas - he was studying to be an animal doctor.


Ok, here is the translate for you and I hope you send it to him:

Vas a tener que amputar la parte mala de la cola quebrándola. Pero tienes que cortarla en la parte saludable de la cola. Lo primero que te diré es que no soy un veterinario. Te dire lo que mi doctor hizo con mi iguana, pero puede ser que yo no lo haya entendido bien. Puede que cometa un error en esto, si es así, lo siento, hare lo mejor que pueda.

Aquí está lo que necesitas hacer:

  1. Un amigo fuerte o dos. ¿Cuán grande es la iguana? Si es grande, entonces necesitarás dos migos. Ellos también necesitarán guantes fuertes para sus manos. Una iguana grande puede morder muy fuerte.

  2. Algo para parar la hemorragia. Mi doctor usó un talco llamado "STYPTIC"

  3. Un antibiótico en unguento - un unguento "triple" está bien. Es común para humanos.

  4. Un antibiótico líquido. Mi doctor usó NOLVASAN el que es usado para empapar la cola. Pregúntale a un doctor de humanos si es que no sabe de iguanas.

  5. Tijeras filudas. Esterilízalas con alcohol o hirviéndolas en agua.

¿Listo?

Tus amigos necesitan sujetar a la iguana firmemente. Uno sujeta las patas delanteras de la iguana contra los lados de la iguana (las patas deben quedar apretadas hacia atrás). La otra persona sujeta las patas traseras contra la cola de la iguana (hacia atrás). Tú trabajarás en la cola. Busca el lugar de la cola donde la parte seca comienza. Entonces retrocede unos 2 a 3 cms. Ahí cortarás la cola. Tú NO debes cortar la cola con la tijera o con un cuchillo - esto acarrearía más problemas. Sujeta la cola entre tus manos, con la parte con espinas dorsales apuntando hacia arriba (como generalmente lo hace). Corta el sector malo de la cola hacia arriba. Quiébrala como si rompieras un lápiz.

El corte comenzará an las espinas y finaliza abajo. Esto hará un ruido sordo como POP cuando se quiebre. No separes los dos pedazos aún. Habrán aún algunas fibras uniendo las dos partes. También puede empezar a sangrar. Corta las fibras con la tijera unos 0,5 cms desde la parte buena de la cola. Ahora para la hemorragia con el talco STYPTIC. Coloca el talco en el final cortado de la cola. Hazlo hasta que la hemorragia finalice. Incluso si no sangra much, igual coloca talco en la parte abierta de todos modos. Ahora coloca algo de unguento en la parte abierta.

Está listo por hoy. Dales a tus amigos unas chelas y deja a tu iguana sola hasta el día siguiente.

Al día siguiente, y por dos semanas, empapa la punta de la cola en el líquido antibiótico (NOLVASAN). Puede sangrar un poco más cuando lo hagas pero está bien y no necesitas usar el STYPTIC. Pararé de sangrar por sí sola.

Déjame decirte una cosa más. El cortarle la cola a la iguana no le dolerá mucho. Se sentirá mucho mejor. Tú necesitas a tus dos amigos porque ella puede estar temerosa que le hagan eso. Además, las iguanas no quieren su cola agarrada. La iguana intentará salir de ahí antes que empieces con el corte. Pero cuando quiebras la cola, ella no hará nada.

cya