Sandy and her metal post

Sandy and her metal work

Sandy and her metal Post

Reptiles bone is very thick and hard.  It is normally an excellent type of bone to work with.  However, Sandy had breaks in her bones where the bone was very thin and even the smallest drill would be too thick to drill through the bone.  Here the the metal pole has been bent to fit her face.  Small holes were made in the skin and then wire was pushed through, wrapping round the pole and also the bone.  Fortunately, reptile skin is very thick and is able to support the wire.

Sandy had to have an anaesthetic for this procedure.  She was given an injection to make her relax, and then given an intravenous injection into the tail vein to make her go to sleep.  Once asleep she has a tube placed into her windpipe and then is given gas and air.  Reptiles have no diaphragm, so a small machine to make her breathe is used.  This is a form of artificial ventilation.

Sandy was also going to need support after her operation as her wounds were multiple.  A tube can be seen on her body.  A small incision is made in her neck and the tube pushed into the stomach.  This means that food, water, antibiotics and pain killers can also be given.  Sandy is also pregnant!

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Sandy and her metal post!

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Reptile sandy and her mandibular fracture x rays

Sandy was then taken to the operating theatre, once she was stable.  Sandy was still very quiet so she needed no sedation to take the picture that you can see.

Sandy had two breaks in her lower mandible (jaw).  The bone had snapped.  One of the breaks was very close to where the two jaws meet.  This area is called the mandibular symphysis.  The other breaks were at the back of the mandible.  These are less distinct and have been caused by been shaken or rotated.  The bone has folded.  Reptile bone is extremely strong and robust.  Huge force would have been required to cause the injury.

I then had to plan what to do with her injury.  Reptile bone is good to work with.  It holds metal plates and pins well.  However, Sandy’s break was at point in the bone where it was so thin, it would not hold any pins on the inside of the bone.

There was also feeding and hydration to consider.  In the hospital

The arrows point to all the breaks in Sandy's head

The arrows point to all the breaks in Sandy’s head

, the nurses are able to deliver fluids by injection.  This is given either under the skin or into the body cavity (coelom). When Sandy was safe to go home she was going to need to be supported with food, water and medication.

Hepatic lipidosis is the silent killer of reptiles.  After a short period of time without eating, the reptile starts to use stored fat from within  the body.  Bearded dragons have fat pads on   either side of the coelom.  The fat is supposed to give energy to the body and allow damaged tissue to be repaired.  However, reptiles do not handle periods of starvation well. This is particularly true when they are ill.  Tortoises are masters at starvation but even they can be made unwell by hepatic lipdosis.  The fat swamps the liver and stops it from working.  Dehydration often leads to kidney failure too, so it is imperative to support a sick reptile.

First Blog- Sandy

Just after her accident!

Just after her accident!

Sandy, is a female bearded dragon who is well loved and looked after.  She lives, like many reptiles in a multi reptile household.  Reptiles are addictive.  Sandy was out in the room, taking some exercise and was attacked by the monitor lizard that also lived in the house.  A misunderstanding had led to both lizards being out and about at the same time.

Bearded dragons are mainly leaf eaters and insectiverous.  Monitor lizards are true oppurtunists.  Even a bearded dragon appeared to be on the menu.

The damage done to Sandy was considerable.  The owners could see that her lower jaw was broken and the skin was hanging off.  They took her to the surgery to see me and we examined Sandy.

Sandy had a broken lower jaw in two places that could be seen.  The skin had been removed from her face and there were numerous cuts and bruises over her body and head.  Her tail had several puncture marks and when she was first examined, it looked like she may have been paralysed in her back legs.


Sandy was admitted into the hospital and placed into one of our hospital vivariums.  She was given fluids under her skin and antibiotics to help fight infection from the bite wounds.  Pain relief was given and the whole body was cleaned in iodone and povidene.


Amazon reviews for Understanding Your Gecko

“Book is attractive paperback with lots of relevant information and detailed illustrations. Gives good guidance on care of pet gecko.” Kathleen Williams

“I bought this book for my daughter who has been wanting a gecko for ages. As a responsible pet owner and parent I wanted her to get as much information about looking after a gecko. I was pleasantly surprised with how well this book had been written and put across. We both have a much better understanding on how to look after our new soon to be gecko. Thank you Siuna Reid.” Caz

“Reptiles are Cool is very well written and easy to understand for those owning, or with an interest in Gecko’s. Great illustrations and very well broken down with relevant headings that makes pleasant reading and for a quick and easy future reference.” Chris Sharp

“I bought this book as my son has been wanting a pet gecko and I myself had no idea how to care for one. I was amazed by how simply such important information was put across. The book had symbols and pictures which were easily recognisable as well as information about what to do if your pet gets ill. Needless to say we bought the gecko and now my son too has read the book as it is easy enough for him to understand. This is an infrmative book with everything you need to know in.” j123lodge

“This is a great little starter book and gives lots of information. I bought it as a gift your a youngster who is interested in getting a pet and this was really helpful. Nice and colourful with diagrams to explain without dumbing it down. Plenty of practical advice about keeping the gecko fit and healthy and about feeding. Very useful.” JMR

“Bought this book for my grandson who is fascinated with all reptiles. He was enthralled by the book and we enjoyed reading it together. Very informative easy to follow with great illustrations. A must buy for anyone considering buying a Gecko or who already has one.” Stella Peters

“I bought this book recently for my daughter who has a gecko. I found it really useful as it had short paragraphs and it was very easy to understand. The pictures and photographs were very informative and ideal for anybody owning a gecko for the first time.” lrl3001