There is no surgery too small (or too strange) for the veterinary clinic here at Lollypop Farm! Each and every day, cats and dogs are spayed and neutered in our clinic to keep them healthy and happy, and prevent the birth of future homeless litters. It may come as a surprise, however, to hear that a recent spay surgery was performed on Farosh, a 3-year-old green female iguana!
Farosh arrived at Lollypop Farm in late March in a sad state. This young lizard was suffering from something rather serious – she was experiencing a continuously prolapsing cloaca.
Originating from the Latin word for “sewer,” a cloaca is a tube-like structure inside of a lizard’s body that eliminates waste. Birds actually have a similar structure! In Farosh’s case, this area was being turned inside out over and over again – making elimination uncomfortable and putting her delicate health at risk. Farosh was also suffering from a parasitic infection. All of these issues were likely due to an improperly maintained environment in her previous home – iguanas like Farosh require a very specific type of husbandry, consisting of a proper balanced diet, adequate lighting, appropriate humidity, and temperature.
Our veterinary and small animal staff tried many avenues to solve Farosh’s issue. They placed her in sugar soaks, balanced with her diet, provided deworming medications, and even tried putting in sutures to keep her from prolapsing again. When none of our initial efforts helped Farosh, it became clear that a more intense plan was necessary. Our veterinary clinic team performed radiographs on the lizard, and found that there were a few extra problems awaiting them: Farosh had underdeveloped eggs, and she wasn’t able to pass them.
Determined to find a way to help her, we turned to the VIN (Veterinary Information Network) to get more information about successful iguana spay surgeries. This procedure, as rare as it is, hadn’t been performed by the clinic at Lollypop Farm before. Veterinarian Dr. Cristina Cadavecio wanted to make sure that she had all of the information necessary before taking on this unique surgery. With the assistance of a network of animal care professionals, the decision was made that a spay surgery and egg removal would be the best option to ensure a happy, healthy life for Farosh.
It would be a risky surgery, but our clinic knew they had to try. Farosh did not respond at first to the anesthesia, but eventually went under. During her surgery, the eggs were removed and she was spayed in the hopes that she would prolapse again.
“When coming out of anesthesia, lizards actually wake up in reverse,” said Bon Mazurek, Clinic Manager at Lollypop Farm. “Their tail and legs come back slowly, and then the consciousness moves up towards their chest and head.” When Farosh’s surgery was complete, the staff moved and massaged her legs and tail, and waited with her as the anesthesia wore off and she slowly awoke.
It has now been several weeks since Farosh’s surgery, and she’s feeling so much better! She has not prolapsed since, and has been closely monitored by our veterinary and shelter staff. Although she’s still not entirely out of the woods, we are hopeful that our efforts to provide this little lizard with a happy, comfortable life will ultimately pay off.
Thanks to supporters like you, Farosh got a rare opportunity for a second chance. Stay tuned for the continuation of her story, as we follow along with her healing and recovery process.
Meet reptiles available for adoption: https://www.lollypop.org/adopt/adoptable-pets/
Support care for pets like Farosh: www.lollypop.org/donate