Lately I have been seeing many reptiles in the office for respiratory tract disease. Most respiratory infections in reptiles are cause due to improper husbandry. Some infections are caused by wounds from live feedings, or some reptiles come with subclinical infections from the pet stores or breeders. The first piece of advice for owners is to do your homework before buying the reptile so that you know what kind of environment, diet, and time it takes to provide adequate care. The problems I frequently see with housing are that the reptile is not kept in it’s optimum temperature or humidity. Some require full spectrum lighting and some do not. If the temperature, humidity and lighting are off, the reptile can become stressed and it’s immune system can weaken causing bacteria or even a virus to take hold and cause disease. I also see problems with the choice of substrate. Pete moss, bark, coconut husks and any kind of substrate that can hold moisture can also hold bacteria and molds. If not kept extremely clean, the reptiles often acquire pathogens from this kind of substrate. I prefer reptile carpet, butcher paper, or paper towels. These types of substrates are easy to clean and monitor. The second most common cause of respiratory or even septicemia in reptiles is live feedings. When you live feed your snake, lizard, etc., you run the risk of that animal (often a mouse or rat) causing scratches or bite wounds in the mouth or on the body. I often recommend fresh killed or frozen killed to remove this danger to the pet. As far as signs of respiratory tract disease, watch for: open mouth breathing, blowing bubbles out of the nostrils or mouth, red underbelly can indicate septicemia, not eating, and lethargy. If any of these symptoms develop, please contact us for a physical exam and review of how the reptile is kept and cared for. Hope this helps our reptile customers! We love seeing all the cool species!!