One of the most common injuries that reptile vets see are thermal burns. Reptiles are ectothermic (aka cold-blooded), meaning that they are dependent on their environment to regulate their body temperature. Most reptile species need an external heat source to in their enclosure to do this.
There are a number of different types of heating sources for pet reptiles however these items can malfunction and cause severe burns if they get too hot. They can also cause hypothermia (decreased body temperature) if it makes the enclosure too cold. Since their are so many varieties of heating elements for reptile habitats we will provide a video here for you to learn more about them.
Because reptiles do everything slowly, it is not uncommon for an animal to get burned, but not actually show signs of the injury for several days. This is especially true for minor, or first-degree burns. This is significant, because burns, even apparently mild injuries, can have severe consequences if not treated properly.
Take care in setting up cages and aquariums to provide a buffer from lamps and electricity. Clean burns with sterile saline and contact your veterinarian as burns can easily become infected and some reptiles pass away from serious burns.
First Aid for Reptiles for Burns
Clean and treat the area with sterile saline and apply a safe topical ointment.
Your veterinarian may prescribe daily povidone-iodine soaks and an antibiotic ointment specifically for healing burned skin.