Archipelago and the Possibility of Osteomyelitis

I feel like a horrid mother. I know that it isn’t my fault, but I can’t help it. I brought Archipelago (aka Archie) in to the vet’s office on friday after noticing a while ago that his toes have gotten worse. The longest toe on his back left foot has always looked awkward and I thought he might have broken it. Archie’s been in once before when I noticed it was 2 toes that looked underdeveloped and kind of gross. After letting my little man be a guinea pig for an x-ray (generally they use the dental x-ray for reptiles, but ours is a bit messed up) I got a tad anxious. He was really good. He got taped down to the table just in case, but he didn’t really move. (I really need to ask about getting a copy of the x-ray.)

The exotics doctor told me, after looking over the x-ray, that he might have osteomyelitis or some other bone infection. It looks like the bones in those 2 or 3 toes are dissolving. My poor little man. ;_; Archie seems to be in some sort of discomfort seeing as he flicks that foot at you if you mess with it too much, so the doctor prescribed him metacam. He’s only getting one dose a day since there’s some debate as to how quickly reptiles metabolize drugs.

As I said, osteomyelitis is a bone infection. It can be acute or chronic with the underlying cause being bacterial or fungal (which is less common). Symptoms include (#1):

  • Bone pain
  • Fever
  • General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill-feeling
  • Local swelling, redness, and warmth
  • Chills
  • Excessive sweating
  • Low back pain
  • Swelling of the ankles, feet and legs
Obviously, lots of those symptoms would be hard to diagnose in a reptile. The largest(and only real) sign was visual (photo of his foot to be inserted soon).
Administering the metacam is actually rather interesting. It’s a pretty small dose in a syringe that doesn’t have a needle on the end. So, essentially, I just poke him in the side of the mouth with it, let him bite it, and push down the plunger. If things going according to plan, he’ll be put on an injectable antibiotic that only needs to be given once every 3 days. If not, he’ll be put on an oral antibiotic. Any way it happens, I just want my little Archie to not be suffering.


  1. NIH – Osteomyelitis

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